Grouse Mountain is Vancouver’s number one tourist attraction.
This true four-season, five-star destination located just 20 minutes from downtown in North Vancouver is an alpine playground of outdoor activities, panoramic views, and elite dining options.
You may even briefly forget the city even exists – lest you look down!
So let’s escape Downtown Vancouver and grab a breath of that fresh mountain air together shall we?
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 in North Vancouver 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, the city’s most beautiful location for ice skating, a ski hill, a theater, a place of outdoor adventure, a home to several resident grizzly bears 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 North Vancouver’s 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, North Vancouver, the North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean below are postcard perfect.
The Peak Chalet
Grouse Mountain’s 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 a little bit of the stunning city view with each sip.
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 animals.
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 wildlife refuge also 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!
Soak in the majesty of local birds of prey in the Birds in Motion demonstration. If you’re hungry you can even enjoy one of the best breakfasts in Vancouver – eating with their grizzly bears Grinder and Coola.
The Eye of the Wind
The Eye of the Wind is the world’s first and only wind turbine in a high-altitude location.
But what’s even more amazing is its glass viewPOD viewing deck.
Here you’ll take in 360 degree panoramic views of Metro Vancouver, the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains 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. There is simply no better spot to breath in the fresh mountain air.
Tickets can be booked at the Grouse Mountain Eye of the Wind web page.
Are you an adrenaline junkie who’d like to breathe in the crisp mountain air? Then you can 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.
Theatre in the Sky
While I wouldn’t recommend climbing Grouse Mountain just to catch a movie, North Vancouver is one of the few cities that can claim to have its own mountain-top high definition theatre.
Theatre in the Sky is open year-round and offers visitors a chance to learn about the stunning ecosystem and wildlife of beautiful British Columbia.
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 Grouse Mountain admission ticket will grant you round trip access to the famous Skylift + access to a variety of seasonal activities.
Summer 2022 activities include: the grizzly bear habitat, the Ranger Talk, the Owl Talk, various spectacular lookouts, and the world famous lumberjack show. Don’t forget you can also sneak in some world-class hiking in locations like the Grouse Grind or Thunder bird Ridge.
Being one of the best things to do in winter in Vancouver you’ll have activities such as ice skating, sledding, snow shoeing and much more.
During the holidays this Winter wonderland comes alight, with the famous Peak of Christmas event. You can check out the famous light walk, meet Santa and enjoy the sleigh rides.
And we haven’t even got to the skiing! (Lift tickets are are not included with admission)
Grouse Mountain Prices
- Adults (18-64): $57.96
- Seniors (65+): $49.56
- Youth (13-17): $41.16
- Children (5-12): $30.24
- Toddlers (>5): free
*Prices are in Canadian dollars
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.
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 fresh mountain air on your face as you ascend 1,610 metres up the mountain from North Vancouver’s 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 Metro 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 skiing 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.
Families will also enjoy being transported around the snow-covered terrain on one of the legendary sleigh rides! These can be found just behind Santa’s workshop throughout the Winter season.
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.
How to Get to Grouse Mountain
Address: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
If traffic towards North Vancouver co-operates, the base of Grouse Mountain is just a 15 minute drive from Downtown Vancouver. This places 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, once you’re in North Vancouver you’ll pass right by the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, located 5-10 minutes away.
In fact, if you have the time I highly recommend pairing the two attractions together.
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 Street 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 Vancouver’s notorious 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 Vancouver in summer 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 to get to Grouse’s North Vancouver base. the shuttle 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 Restaurants
Casual options include Lupins self-serve café, the Rusty Rail BBQ and the Grizzly Lookout Café. While caffeine lovers can get their fix at the Grouse Grind Café 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 grabbing 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.
Related: The Best Vancouver Food Tours
Planning on Visiting Grouse Mountain?
So that’s that.
Hopefully North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain has now made its way onto your tourist menu, regardless of season or weather conditions. After all, how many places can offer you world-class night skiing, ice skating, lumberjack shows, a wildlife refuge and a variety of dining options all in one place?
I can say with absolute confidence that year round it is truly a must visit on any Vancouver itinerary. 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.