Dogs share a special connection with the great outdoors. Their untamed spirits, perhaps a relic of their wolf ancestry, find pure joy in exploring the natural world.
Dog-owners, in an effort to give their babies the perfect outdoor adventure, are therefore on a quest to find the best off-leash trails in and around Vancouver.
If that’s your mission, read on and discover the top 10 canine-approved destinations for you and your furry companion!
Address: 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC V7W 1K5, Canada
Lighthouse Park, located in West Vancouver, offers a picture-worthy trail system that is ideal for both dogs and their owners.
The trails are generally a mix of rocky, exposed roots, bark mulch, and dirt or gravel, and dogs get to dip their paws in the waters as the park enjoys a coastal location.
The designated off-leash dog area in Lighthouse Park is massive. While there are trails in Lighthouse Park that are better to navigate with your dogs on leash, the off-leash area allows for more freedom, which is why it’s a popular choice for local dog owners.
This off-leash area is also well-marked so it provides a safe space for dogs to explore and socialize.
Pro tip: Just make sure that you can keep your dog under control and within your sight. Clean up after them to maintain the park’s cleanliness and avoid inconveniencing other park visitors.
Lynn Headwaters to Norvan Falls
Address: 4900 Lynn Valley Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7K 3B2, Canada
This hike, which is focused on Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver, is leading towards the 30-metre-tall Norvan Falls. To get there, you need to hike a trail that’s 14 kilometres round trip and moderately challenging.
Starting from Lynn Headwaters, the trail begins at the farthest parking lot and is notably easy to follow.
At each trail junction, clear signage ensures you stay on track, and the interconnected trails in this area provide options for a longer hike or different routes to keep your dog entertained.
However, be prepared for varying terrain. You will go through gravel paths, mud puddles, stairs, boardwalks, and rocks, so be sure that your dog is up for it.
The reward? The Norvan Falls is a beautiful destination. You can explore the stream bed or take an uphill trail for the best views.
Pro tip: The trail usually takes 5 hours to complete. Hiking with a dog off-leash for that long may present some challenges, so ensure that your dog responds to voice commands and remains under control for a smoother and safer hike.
Baden Powell Trail
Address: 4802-4854 Lynn Valley Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7K 3B2, Canada
The Baden Powell Trail, spanning 42 kilometers in North Vancouver, is beloved by many hikers who happen to be dog owners too.
It offers various access points as the trail runs a straight route from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay, with Dempsey Road or the upper Mountain Highway in Lynn Valley being most favorable for dogs.
The trail offers scenic landscapes, featuring creek beds, canyons, and bridges, making it an enjoyable and social experience for hikers and their dogs.
However, be mindful of mountain bikers and trail runners on this busy trail. But if your dog is well-behaved and listens to voice commands, they are welcome on the trail any day.
Pro tip: The Lynn Canyon section of the trail is a highlight, with leash rules differing on either side of the Twin Falls Bridge. Remember to put your dog on-leash north of the said bridge.
Address: Woodgreen Pl, West Vancouver, BC V7S 2V6, Canada
Cypress Falls Park in West Vancouver offers a straightforward hike to two waterfalls. The lower falls are easy to reach from the parking lot, while the upper falls require a steeper climb.
The trail is 2.5 kilometres round trip with a 100-meter elevation gain and usually takes 1-1.5 hours to complete.
Be careful near cliff edges, which can be unstable. Dogs are welcome off-leash, but watch out for steep drop-offs near the canyon.
Pro tip: Stick to the main trail to avoid getting lost and be mindful of trail intersections.
Address: West Vancouver, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
The trail starts at Millstream Road near Henlow Road in West Van, winding through the forest beside Brothers Creek.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy old-growth trees, a lovely waterfall, expansive canyons, and peaceful lakes within Cypress Provincial Park.
If you’re taking the recommended loop, you’ll pass through the Brothers Creek Fire Road, Baden Powell trail, Brothers Creek trail, Lost Lake trail, before you return to Brother’s Creek Fire Road.
The full loop then covers approximately 8 kilometers. With an elevation gain of 450 meters, the trail typically takes hikers 4-5 hours to complete.
A significant portion of the hike is within a designated off-leash area, which means your dog will be able to roam freely.
Pro tip: But look out for the park boundary signs near Blue Gentian Lake and Lost Lake. When you enter the part of the trail that’s covered by the provincial park, you have to be alert and put your dog on leash.
Pacific Spirit Park
Address: 5495 Chancellor Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1E4, Canada
Pacific Spirit Park is well-known for being a dog-friendly environment, ensuring safety and peace of mind for both dogs and their owners.
Surrounding a great portion of UBC, this park is wonderful for walking and hiking. The forested trails, hilly terrain, and access to Wreck Beach (as long as it’s not summer) can keep your dog active and happy.
What makes this park truly special is the abundance of off-leash trails that wind through the woods, providing dogs with ample space to roam and play freely.
Pro tip: Its convenient location near the city makes Pacific Spirit Park an ideal choice for a few hours of outdoor enjoyment with your dog.
Address: 641 Hillcrest St, Coquitlam, BC V3J 6N9, Canada
If you watched the series “Supernatural,” you might’ve spotted Mundy Park in some of the locations filmed.
Mundy Park is a 178 hectare park and trail system within an urban forest. This park has separate fenced off-leash areas for large and small dogs which are open from sun up to sun down.
If you’re up for some hiking with your dog, take advantage of off-leash trails available until 10 AM.
Pro tip: When walking your dog, avoid the trail to Mundy Lake and the Mundy Park Community Path. The former does not permit dogs, while the latter is an on-leash trail.
Address: Coquitlam, British Columbia
The Crystal Falls trail following the Upper Coquitlam River is a 6 to 7 kilometre round trip hike with just around 50 metres of elevation gain.
It’s a dog-friendly trail, and dogs can go off-leash if under control. The only thing that could be a concern is that the trail can get crowded.
If you want a more tranquil experience for you and your dog, then consider starting your hike before 9 AM.
The hike is relatively easy and is over in an hour or two. During the rainy months, however, the trail can get very muddy (which a lot of dogs actually enjoy).
Pro tip: There are no facilities available on the Crystal Falls trail, so remember to pack your essentials, including your camera.
Inter River Park
Address: 1101 Premier St. North Vancouver, BC. V7J 1J4
Inter River Park is easily accessible for city dwellers. Located on the other side of Second Narrows, this park is just a 20-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver.
The park offers a network of interconnected trails, with some linking to Lynn Canyon Park, and provides access to a nearby river for cooling off, particularly on hot days.
It’s a dog-friendly environment, with most trails designated as off-leash or leash-optional. On sunny weekends, you’ll find numerous dogs enjoying the trails and splashing in the river.
Pro tip: A nice feature in the park is the pet memorial spots by the river, allowing dog owners to reflect on their beloved pets who must be enjoying more trails up there.
Everett Crowley Park
Address: 8200 Kerr St, Vancouver, BC V5S 4G5, Canada
The transformation of Everett Crowley Park, once a landfill, into the city’s fifth-largest park, is truly remarkable. If you’re curious about its past, somewhere in the park, there’s still a giant tractor tire that serves as a relic.
So, even though the trails here can be a little repetitive and offer limited activities for kids to enjoy, it remains a beloved spot for many locals.
For dog owners, the park is particularly appealing due to the ample off-leash areas. Leashes are required on the outer trails, but the inner trails, which include both broad graveled paths and narrow vegetated routes, are designated as off-leash zones.
Pro tip: Always check the trailhead signs to determine whether your dog needs to be leashed or can roam freely.