It doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy the sun, and you don’t need perfect weather to catch a perfectly beautiful sunrise in and around Vancouver. In fact, cloudy skies can make for spectacular viewing, with the light parting the clouds in spectacular neon pinks and oranges or soft greys and blues.
You can catch sunrise in any season, all you need is the will to get up early (not easy) and a great spot to watch from, near water or elevated from the city is ideal, but anywhere with a clear view will do. Grab your coat, your camera, and a coffee and watch the sun come up—we guarantee it’s worth it.
During the winter and spring, the snowy trek through the woods and up Mount Seymour will make you feel as if you’ve wandered into Narnia. Remember to bundle up and/or wear a snowsuit, it gets pretty chilly up there. You’ll need snowshoes or ice cleats to hike up to a good vantage point—luckily it won’t take long. All that hard work will pay off when you see the sun’s glow light up the whole Lower Mainland below.
Tip: Make sure you’re prepared for hiking on the North Shore Mountains. Read our tips on staying safe and responsible while you’re out. If you feel like this is a touch out of your expertise, check out our locally run hiking tours.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Rolling hills, trees and gardens as far as the eye can see. This sprawling green park in the middle of the city has tons of easy spots where you can grab a seat and watch the sun come up. Take a friend or bring your dog and get a mellow start your day by exploring the rest of the park once the sun is up.
Near West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay neighbourhood, Whytecliff is a popular spot for locals and tourists year round for hiking, underwater diving and just chilling out. Located along the shores of Howe Sound, your view of sunrise includes scenic mountains, and boats calmly passing by on the water.
There are hiking trails around the park as well as the beach and island area to explore, so if you’re up for doing more than just catching sunrise, you’ve got options.
The Seawall – English Bay to Siwash Rock
The early morning running crowd is no stranger to this route. Anywhere along English Bay to Third Beach and beyond on the seawall will deliver an uninterrupted view of sunrise or sunset coming up over the water. This accessible hot-spot is also a great place to bring the family. You can read about getting your youth outside, here!
Ever caught sunrise on a paddleboard, or from a kayak? Bookmark that idea for when its warm, and get on the water towards Siwash Rock, it’ll add a little something special to your sunrise experience.
We know, we know, so many stairs. But hoofing it up and down those epic stairs is worth it whether you’re there for sunrise or sunset. Bring a blanket and a thermos filled with something warm to watch the sun come up.
Lighthouse Park is about 40 minutes from Vancouver by car, but we’d also recommend cycling there to get an incredible view of the city at dawn. There’s no shortage of places to watch sunrise from here, whether you want to grab a picnic table, or sit on one the rocky outcroppings near the lighthouse.
The Lighthouse Park has some great easy trails, and will take you past old growth Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees, so take some time to wander after sunrise.
Stanley Park has lots of trails, but to watch the sun come up, we recommend making your way over to Prospect Point. Perched above the seawall, it’s an easy walk with a big reward.
Bonus: there are plenty of places to grab a snack along Denman Street around English Bay on your way into the park.
We hope these suggestions inspire you to get outdoors, early in the morning, to witness a stunning Vancouver sunrise!
Part of hiking to these amazing spots involves travelling in the dark, so ensure you’re staying safe on the trails in low light. Follow AdventureSmart’s Three T’s to trip planning before you head out.
See you on the trails!
EXPLORE SEA TO SKY – DAY ADVENTURE
Enter a world of vivid green and blue in the Squamish, Whistler area! The legendary Sea to Sky Highway is known for its awe-inspiring scenery beyond every bend in the road. We will visit 3 Provincial Parks and 2 incredible waterfalls all in one day! Stepping out of the vehicle to rise above the corridor is where snow-capped mountain ranges, massive glaciers and breathtaking ocean views captive enchanted hikers.
SQUAMISH SCENIC TWILIGHT FLOAT
An ideal outdoor evening activity for a gentle and fun scenic outing, suitable for all ages. As you travel the lower Squamish River by raft, surrender to the relaxing flow of the water and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Stawamus Chief, Shannon Falls and Mount Garibaldi under the setting sun. Enjoy this idyllic scenic interpretive float and learn about the world-renowned Squamish Valley and its local wildlife as dusk settles over the Coastal Mountains.