Grouse Mountain is Vancouver’s number one tourist attraction.
This true four-season, five-star destination just 20 minutes from downtown is an alpine playground of outdoor activities, panoramic views, and elite dining options.
You may even briefly forget Vancouver even exists – lest you look down!
Here’s our guide on how to visit.
- What is Grouse Mountain?
- Things to do
- Summer activities
- Winter activities
What is Grouse Mountain?
Grouse Mountain is at the Southern end of the Coast Mountain Range on the city’s North Shore.
Its iconic peaks provide Vancouver with what is arguably the most stunning backdrop of any urban centre in the world – and its mountain playground is one of the top things to do in Vancouver.
It’s the city’s most visited all-season attraction and should be part of any Vancouver itinerary.
It’s a wildlife refuge, a ski hill, a theater, a place of outdoor adventure, and a dining destination all in one – and the Skyride up the 4100 foot mountain is easily the best view in the city.
Things to Do at Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain operates the Swiss built Garaventa Red Skyride to whisk visitors 2800 feet from the Valley Plaza to the Peak Chalet above.
Aside from the world famous Grouse Grind hiking trail there’s no other way up.
With a capacity of 101 passengers, you’ll have plenty of room to make yourself comfortable and enjoy the scenery – just be sure to have that camera ready.
The breathtaking views of the Vancouver skyline, the North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean below are postcard perfect.
The Peak Chalet
The Peak Chalet is the terminus of the Skyride and will be your base of operation to explore.
Here you’ll find a stunning panoramic view deck – I strongly recommend grabbing a local craft beer or coffee from the Altitude’s Bistro and heading out to soak in the city view with your sips.
There’s also the Spirit Gallery gift shop showcasing unique products crafted by local artisans.
This massive Swiss-style chalet is also home to the Theatre in the Sky and a variety of dining options – but more on that later.
The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife
Grouse Mountain isn’t just a respite from the urban grind for hard-working Vancouverites – it’s also a refuge for local endangered wildlife.
In fact, the mountain contains a fully operational research, conservation and education centre that is dedicated to the safety and security of these species.
The centre contains a variety of groundbreaking interpretive programs to make learning about the local eco-system fun for visitors of all ages.
And it’s all included in your admission!
The Eye of the Wind
The Eye of the Wind is the world’s first and only wind turbine in a high-altitude location.
What’s even more amazing though is its glass viewPOD viewing deck.
Here you’ll take in 360 degree panoramic views of Vancouver from just 3 metres below the rotating blades of a turbine – with a lesson on the importance of renewable energy.
This is the highest view in the city without getting into a helicopter or plane.
Tickets can be booked at the Eye of the Wind web page.
Are you an adrenaline junkie? Then get your fix at Grouse’s mountain-top zipline adventure.
Grouse Mountain has a dual line five line zipline circuit connecting itself with neighbouring Dam Mountain.
Soak in the stunning views of Vancouver, the North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean below as you’re transported at warp speed through the peaks and canyons of Grouse Mountain.
The tour lasts about 2.5 hours and includes mountain admission.
For more info please click the button below:
Theatre in the Sky
Note (07/21/21): due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis the Theatre in the Sky is currently closed.
While I wouldn’t recommend climbing a mountain just to catch a movie Grouse Mountain does actually have its own mountain-top high definition theatre.
Theatre in the Sky is open year-round and offers visitors a chance to learn about British Columbia’s ecosystem and wildlife.
Popular flicks include Extremely Wild: a Discovery Channel documentary about the mountain’s resident grizzly bears.
My favourite though is Exposed, focusing on BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.
Grouse Mountain Tickets
Your mountain admission ticket will grant you round trip access to the famous Skylift + access to a variety of seasonal activities.
Summer 2021 activities include: the grizzly bear habitat, the Ranger Talk, the Owl Talk, various spectacular lookouts, and the world famous lumberjack show.
Grouse Mountain Prices
- Adults (17-64): $64.05
- Seniors (65+): $56.70
- Children (5-16): $35.70
- Toddlers (>5): free
*Prices are in Canadian dollars
How to Get to Grouse Mountain
If traffic co-operates the base of the mountain is just a 15 minute drive from the city centre, placing it right in striking distance of many of Vancouver’s best hotels.
Expect to pay about $35.00 for a Vancouver taxi from downtown.
Along the way you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge and the North Shore Mountains. Additionally, you’ll pass right by the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge.
If you have the time I highly recommend pairing the two attractions together.
For detailed directions head over to Google Maps.
Option #1 (Bus)
You can make it to the Skyride in about 40 minutes via the #246 Highland and #232 Grouse Mountain buses. Simply grab the #242 along Georgia St. downtown and change buses on Edgemont Blvd in North Vancouver. Grouse will be the last stop.
Option #2 (Seabus/Bus)
Alternatively, you can cross Burrard Inlet on the Seabus which departs from Waterfront Station. Once you arrive at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver follow the signs towards the Bus Loop and grab the #236 Grouse Mountain from bay #15. Grouse is the terminus stop.
This is the preferred option during peak hours to avoid downtown traffic.
For tips and tricks navigating around the city check out our Vancouver Public Transport guide.
Note (07/21/21): due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis the free shuttle is not currently running.
If you’re visiting during the summer time there is a free downtown shuttle available with the purchase of your Grouse Mountain admission ticket.
Leaving from Canada Place, the shuttle takes about 30 minutes and is available on a first come-first serve basis.
Departures are available approximately every 30 minutes from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, with the exception of an hour break from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.
For more information visit the Grouse Mountain website.
Grouse Mountain Hours
- Weekdays: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Weekends: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Lifts and Skiing (Winter Only)
- Weekdays: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Weekends: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
*The last trip up the mountain is at 8:00pm
Grouse Mountain Summer Activities
Hike the Legendary Grouse Grind
Looking to sneak in a little exercise on your visit to Vancouver?
Then I present to you what is quite possibly the most prototypically British Columbian option to get your heart pumping.
Colloquially known as “mother nature’s stairmaster“, the Grouse Grind is a 2.9 kilometre trail that meanders directly up the face of Grouse Mountain.
But heed my warning, this hike is definitely not for the faint of heart! You’ll be forced to climb 853 metres (1800 feet) up with an average grade of 31%. This hike is definitely not for the faint of heart.
That said, most hikers with an average level of fitness should be able to complete the trail in around 90 minutes. However, the official record belongs to Sebastian Salas, with an astonishing time of 23:48!
Think you can beat him?
While there is no fee for use of the trail, you are officially required to return to base camp via the Skyride ($15.00). Despite this fact, many hikers simply choose to hike back down the mountain.
The grind is open from Spring-Fall during daylight hours only. To learn more check out the Grouse Grind website.
Rope Yourself in for a Mountain Adventure
Targeted at visitors of 8 and above, the Mountain Ropes Adventure is a set of four aerial ropes courses that vary in level of difficulty.
The courses contain over 50 unique elements including bridges, tunnels, slacklines, ziplines, and more. After a quick safety briefing, you can clip in and slide, swing, and jump your all the way to the finish!
Your ticket includes mountain top admission. For more info or to purchase your tickets click on the button below.
Hang Ten on the Skyride Surf Adventure
Feel the cool mountain breeze on your face as you ascend 1,610 metres up the mountain from Valley Plaza to the peak chalet. That’s right, you will be standing on top of the Skyride as you ride your way to the top!
After a brief safety demonstration your guide will point out the most important landmarks that you’ll see on your adventure. Then it’s time to climb aboard your “surfboard”: the red Garaventa Skyride Gondola!
Soar high above the old-growth douglas firs and cedars below, where you’ll receive open air access to the most breathtaking views that the Vancouver area has to offer.
For more info click the button below:
Try Your Hand at Paragliding
Still haven’t found that adrenaline rush?
Then how about jumping off the entire damn mountain! This ultimate flying experience allows you to launch yourself 3,300 feet off the peak of Grouse Mountain down to Cleveland Park below.
First you’ll receive a quick tutorial and safety demonstration (as you should!). Then you’ll be free to soar through the air like an eagle and leave your earthly worries behind, harnessing only the power of the cool oceanic breeze.
Paragliding is unforgettable as it is. But toss in the mountain setting and stunning city views and it simply becomes otherworldly.
For more information visit the Tandem Paragliding webpage.
Grouse Mountain Winter Activities
Try the Fastest Growing Wintertime Outdoor Sport
If you’re looking for a peaceful Wintertime escape to Grouse’s pristine alpine terrain then Snowshoeing may be just the activity you’ve been looking for.
Haven’t tried it yet? Then the Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park is the perfect place to start. Featuring four different trails that are targeted at varying levels of difficulty, it’s as equally well suited to beginners as grizzled vets.
However, if you’re looking for a real challenge then I suggest trying your hand at the Winter Grind. This route was completed with the goal of rivalling the difficulty and intensity of its Summertime cousin.
Admission to the trails is included with your mountain admission or lift ticket.
Get up in the Cut
Grouse Mountain is home to 33 ski runs, ranging from relaxing machine-groomed greens to heart-pumping black diamonds. However, there is one run that stands above the rest, the iconic “cut”.
After 18 years of boarding, in my opinion there’s still no better run. CNN seems to agree, ranking the Cut amongst it’s top 100 runs in the world.
You’ll be presented with spectacular views of the entire city as you carve your way down the mountain. Trust me, its a true Vancouver right of passage.
With a season that typically lasts from late November to early May, a large selection of budget friendly night runs and a remarkable proximity to Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is perfect for visitors looking to sneak in a day of skiing while they’re in town.
Slip and Slide Around the Sliding Zone
Need something a little more family friendly?
The Grouse Mountain Sliding Zone provides kids (or the young at heart!) with the opportunity to blaze down a powdery slope in a sled.
There are two fully designated lanes of groomed terrain on offer for your kids to safely enjoy some Winter fun.
Sleds must be rented for $5.00 from the Sliding Zone Hut at the top of the runs. Access is included in your lift ticket.
Lace ’em Up and Go for a Skate
Ever wanted to skate up a storm outdoors in a pristine alpine environment? Here’s your chance.
Grouse Mountain is home to the Lower Mainland’s only mountain-top skating rink. The popular 8,000 square foot pond is conveniently located just outside the peak chalet.
You’ll feel the crisp winter air blow through your hair as you embrace your inner Nancy Kerrigan – don’t worry, they’ve got helmets!
And if you can swing 15 friends and $395 together you can even get a mountaintop hockey game going!
Skates and helmets can be rented from the Fireside Hut adjacent to the rink.
Visit Santa at Vancouver’s North Pole
If you’re fortunate to be in Vancouver over the holidays then a trip up the mountain is simply a must.
During the Peak of Christmas event Grouse transforms into a festive winter wonderland that could warm the heart of even Ebenezer Scrooge himself.
Usually lasting from late November-early January, the event provides kids with the opportunity to do arts and crafts, take a photo with Santa, meet real live reindeer and visit the elves headquarters.
The beautiful Light Walk is one of the most Instagrammable sights in the city. Walk through a stunning light tunnel all the way to Blue Grouse Lake which is beautifully adorned with festive light installations.
And the best part is that all these wonderful events are included in your mountain admission!
Many attractions that are typically associated with the Summertime remain open in the Winter, such as the Eye of the Wind and Wildlife Refuge.
If you’d like to embark on a Wintertime mountaintop ziplining adventure, then Grouse Mountain is the place for you. While the dual-line system functions on a reduced 3 line circuit, the views are just as beautiful.
Inside the peak chalet the Theatre in the Sky HD cinema tosses a variety of ski-related films into its usual rotation of wildlife focused pictures. Meanwhile from a culinary standpoint you’ll still have four options; the Observatory, Altitudes Bistro, Lupins and the Grouse Grind Café.
Grouse Mountain Restaurants
Casual options include Lupins self-serve café, the Rusty Rail BBQ and the Grizzly Lookout Cafe. While caffeine lovers can get their fix at the Grouse Grind Cafe or the Starbucks located down at the Valley Plaza.
Looking for something a little more refined?
I’ll usually have a few cocktails on the Skydeck before grabing a bite at the acclaimed West Coast Bistro. However, if you really wanna take your mountain-top dining to new heights, then you’ll wanna head to the fine dining Observatory Restaurant.
*Not all options are open during the Winter.
Keep in mind that you’ll be paying a premium for the view. So if you’re looking for value this might not be your kettle of fish.
Want a quick treat? Beavertails is a legendary snack place serving a flattened donut which is in my must eat Vancouver foods.
Let’s Summit Up Now
So that’s that.
Hopefully Grouse Mountain Vancouver has made its way onto your tourist menu, but maybe I missed something and you need a little clarification?
If you have any questions or comments, don’t be afraid to holler at me in the comments below.
Alternatively, you can always hit us up on the Vancouver Planner Facebook page.