Do you like an intense physical challenge? Then Grouse Grind [6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9, Canada] is your hike.
The trail is a 1.8 mile staircase through the woods gaining 2,800 feet along the way. There are 2,830 stairs, you can purchase a Grind Timer Card to swipe at the bottom and again at the top, your name and time will appear inside. It typically takes hikers an hour and a half to complete, we did it in 50 minutes, and the record is 25! I think the hike was pretty, but I was grinding so hard I barely looked around or took too many pictures.
However, there weren’t any real views until the summit, which was astoundingly beautiful.
We hike hard and fast no matter what kind of trail we are on, it’s just our pace. If I knew what waited for me on the top of Grouse Mountain, and I really wanted to make my best time possible there are a lot of things I would have changed – hindsight is 20/20. No backpack, no water, or snacks. For me, 1.8 miles isn’t too long of a stretch and I can make it up without the resources. As long as you can store a credit card in a pocket everything you could possibly need is at the top in one of the many restaurants. Hot cocoa was a supreme treat victory treat, there are restrooms and water fountains. Less layers, for the time I visited in early October. I had to stop and strip them, when my body heated up almost immediately. Give it your all and leave NOTHING for the way back (flashback to Gattaca). Because there is no way back. I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to hike down the same trail, it’s one way only. You are required to take the gondola down for a $10 fee, or hike an unmaintained trail which I did not research, no maps, and apparently there was a recent landslide on it. The gondola ride was pretty cool regardless, some people get a season pass because they use the grind as a frequent workout or they are skiers/snowboards up on top of the mountain during the winter season.
Do take time to explore the summit area which is highly developed. Other than restaurants and shopping, there are so many activities you can make an entire day up here. There is a gallery, ziplining, a lumberjack show, mountain disc golf, paragliding, and helicopter tours. An interesting attraction is the Eye of the Wind, a wind turbine with a viewpod at the top of the tower allowing you to get a pretty crazy view of the blades. There is also a wildlife refuge with two grizzlies found as abandoned cubs. The one I spotted seems to be doing great.
Over 150,000 people hike this trail yearly, so you can imagine at any given time the short path can be busy. Best to visit early morning or weekday if possible. This was a great workout with a unique and rewarding summit – get your grind on!