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.
For a fun group hike out to capture the West Coast sunrise, join our Local, Cole! He’ll safely guide you to the top of one of the North Shore mountains, provide you with snacks and potentially lead you to the location of a mountainside lake for a morning dip!
See you on the trails!
GUIDED SUNRISE MOUNTAIN HIKE
See Vancouver from a different perspective! Join Local, Cole, on a guided hike to the top of one of the North Shore mountains and take in an epic sunrise. Enjoy some delicious breakfast snacks prepared by your guide as you take in the view. You may even get chance to stop by a lake for a morning dip as you navigate back down the mountainside.
HIKE WIND TOWER
This epic 900m hiking ascent to the summit of the Windtower, reaches a peak just east of the magnificent Mt. Lougheed in the Spray Valley Provincial Park. Join Local, Carlos, on an eye-opening experience! As a certified ACMG guide, he has tons of knowledge and experience to share. Be sure to bring a camera as you’ll be exposed to stunning vistas throughout the hike!