Trip 026 - July 27, 2010 (Tuesday)

Grouse Mountain Recreational Area

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Distance From Vancouver (South End of Lions Gate Bridge) to Grouse Mountain parking lot:
7.4 km. Turn left onto Capilano Road in North Vancouver right after crossing the Lions Gate Bridge. Or use Capilano Road exit from Highway 1 and go North. Upon arriving to the Grouse Mountain parking lot, either take a gondola (see rates below) or hike up via Grouse Grind (very tough trail).

Liked: Chair lift ride, views, grizzly bears, an eagle, and joyful zip-liners.

Of note: There is little shade, so watch out for sunburn. Admission is expensive, if you skip Grouse Grind and choose a gondola ride to the top.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (2010 edition) Coordinates: Page 11 (North Vancouver) D7. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available at BackroadMapbooks.com.

Related Website: Grouse Mountain.

Other Trips in North Vancouver area: Crown Mountain Trail Hike, Mount Seymour Trail Hike, Goat Mountain Trail Hike, Grouse Grind Trail Hike, Norvan Falls Trail Hike.

Grouse Mountain Recreational Area is a popular destination for skiers in the winter. In the summer one can enjoy other activities, such as zip-lining, paragliding, hiking, and watching various outdoor shows. Of course, two orphaned grizzly bears are there too, in their very large enclosure, separated from people by an electric fence.

This attraction does not come cheap. Admission rates (to get on the gondola going up from the parking lot) are $40 per adult, $24 per youth, $14 per child, and $36 per senior. A family with two youths would thus be out of $128 before they even board the gondola and ride to the top. Add $5 per vehicle to park all day (there is a free dirt lot on the right side at the end of the Capilano Road). Additional expense awaits those who would want to visit an observation deck at the wind turbine - $28 per ticket. And there are several eateries there as well.

Of course, if the entire family is fit, why not save the money and hike up Grouse Grind, skipping the gondola ride to the top. It is a very taxing hike, as described on the previous page. Do note that an unpleasant surprise happens when you get to the top and see a huge "downhill travel prohibited" sign. There are no cops waiting to ambush downhill travelers, and some people did take advantage of that. I was told by the Grouse Mountain staff that the money are needed to maintain the trail. But get this: there is NO note regarding the prohibition of the downhill travel posted at the bottom of the trail. So, once you get to the top, you are very much ambushed into shelling $8-10 for a gondola ride down. In what has to be one of the most innovative marketing moves of all times, the downhill gondola ride costs $10, but if you buy a bottle of Whistler spring water in the cafe ($3 for 500 ml, or $4 for a litre), you get $5 off from the $10 gondola ticket cost. Thus, it is cheaper to buy water AND to ride the gondola down ($3+$10-$5=$8) than it is NOT to buy the water and pay $10 for the downhill gondola ticket.

As mentioned, parking costs $5 for the day. I am not sure if there is still a free dirt lot available nearby, like it was seven years ago. A few bus routes (232, 236, 247) serve Grouse Mountain as well, including at least one tourist sightseeing bus.

September 2010 UPDATE: there is now a "Downhill Travel Prohibited" note at the Grouse Grind trailhead. Also, the water promotion has ended, and the downhill ticket is $10. Finally, gravel parking lot D is free of charge, if you can find a place there.

2014 Update: Lot D parking now costs $2 for up to 2 hours, or $4 for the entire day.

1. We at the end of Capilano Road in North Vancouver and are entering Grouse Mountain parking lots (five of them there) area. Capilano Suspension Bridge is behind us on Capilano Road.


Grouse Mountain Parking Lots entrance North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

2. Parking lot A. Lots of space on this Tuesday, but weekends could be packed. The dark building on the right side is where the gondolas arrive and depart from.


Grouse Mountain Parking Lot A North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

3. A gondola arriving.


Grouse Mountain Gondola North Vancouver BC Canada

4. People lined up to buy admission tickets.


Grouse Mountain Visitors

3. Here are the parking rates. $3 for two hours, and $5 for all day.

6. There are several carvings in the area.


Grouse Mountain Wood Carving North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

7. We went a few hundred feet back to enter the Grouse Grind trail, described on the previous page. The entrance to the trail is on the left side behind the crosswalk.


Grouse Mountain near the entrance to Grouse Grind Hiking Trail

8. We have just finished the Grouse Grind and are greeted by The Peak Chalet in the Grouse Mountain Recreational Area. See the blue structure on the left side?


Grouse Mountain the Peak Chalet North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

9. That's where sweat-soaked Grouse Grind conquerors flock to cool down. Update: this tent was a promotion by Whistler Water, so it is not a permanent feature.


Cool Water Mist on Grouse Mountain Courtesy of Whistler Water

10. Nice (if hazy) view from the top.


Metro Vancouver view from Grouse Mountain

11. Several eateries are available inside the chalet.


Inside Photo of The Peak Chalet - Grouse Mountain

12. Now let's take a look at the local attractions. You can have a ride in a helicopter...


Helijet Helicopter on Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

13. Enjoy many carvings...


Grouse Mountain Wooden Carving

14. Or do the zip-line.


Zip-line station on Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

15. Zip-liners' shrieks of joy were heard very often.


Grouse Mountain zip lining

16. Must be fun!


Zip liners on Grouse Mountain

17. Meanwhile, this young man was practicing the log roll battle.


Log roll battle practice Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

18. No snow, so the all-terrain vehicles rest.


All-terrain vehicle Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

19. So do the snowmobiles.


Photo of snowmobiles on Grouse Mountain North Vancouver BC Canada

20. No Summer break for the eagle, though. Needs to do the shows several times a day.


Eagle on Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

21. All shows on the Grouse Mountain are free, once you get to the top.


Eagle and handler on Grouse Mountain

22. Now we are proceeding to a large hill. There are three roads ahead of us. The road on the right goes uphill to the wind turbine (you can see a bit of it sticking out on the right side of the photo). The road in the middle leads to the hiking trails, and the road on the left leads around the grizzly bear enclosure and to the Scenic Chair ride, which goes to the wind turbine area.


Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

23. It's good to be a grizzly bear and live in the enclosure on Grouse Mountain. The enclosure is simply huge, and both resident bears managed to hide somewhere when a lady with a microphone came out to tell the visitors a story about the habitat. But we saw one bear on our way back (photos on the next page). Here is a pool for the bears. There is an electric fence beyond the wooden one.


Grouse Mountain Grizzly Bear Enclosure

24. We are approaching the "Scenic Chair" lift.


Grouse Mountain North Vancouver British Columbia Canada near the Scenic Chair lift

25. It is a popular attraction and saves you a trip up the hill. Plus, the admission is free.


Line-up to the Scenic Chair on Grouse Mountain North Vancouver BC Canada

26. Chair lift riders.


Riding the chair lift on Grouse Mountain BC Canada

Our Trip Report continues on page 2.


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