Lighthouse Park


Quick Facts:

  • AllTrails link: Lighthouse Park Viewpoint Loop, 5.8km with 267m elevation
  • Difficulty: intermediate to difficult
  • Traffic: usually heavy on weekends
  • Facilities: pit stop toilets at trail head, flush toilet near the lighthouse
  • View: fantastic views on the western shore, looking at snow capped mountains surrounding lower Howe Sound. Good views of downtown and Vancouver on the southern and eastern shores.
  • Overall score: 8/10

Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver is one of the most popular parks in the region for hiking. It offers fantastic views of the downtown skyline, Burrard Inlet, and snow capped mountains around lower Howe Sound. It’s easily accessible by car, and it only takes 1-2 hours to fully enjoy a great variety of terrains and views. It’s so popular that the city is contemplating parking fees in the near future.

February 2021: Valley Trail to Shore Pine Trail

We’ve come to the park many times in the past. We usually took the easy and straight Beacon Lane Trail to Point Atkinson Lighthouse, then do a half loop to the west, like so. It cuts the walk down to 3.4km with 133m elevation, and it still features the best views which are on the western shoreline of the park. Beacon Lane Trail is stroller friendly.

Wide, paved, and stroller friendly Beacon Lane Trail

But in the spirit of exploration, we veered to the left onto Valley Trail and explored what the park has to offer.

The hike is intermediate due to minor hazards including rocks, roots, and muddy and wet sections. It also has a few steeper bits. Of course, a misstep can be serious on the outcrops on the rocky shores. Thus, we rate this hike as between intermediate and difficult; our 3 year old could only do about 1km of this doing downhill.

Valley Trailhead

There are a few access points to rocky beaches but they are usually jammed by drift wood. It’s not much to see.

The best views in this park are on the rocky outcrops scattered around the entire shoreline. We took a break on Eagle Point on the eastern shore.

A bit further along, we got to Arbutus Knoll, and had a great look at the downtown skyline.

Since Junior peaced out, we ended our hike and took the easy Beacon Lane Trail back. That’s another great thing about this park: you can lengthen or shorten the hike quite easily given the many options to choose from.

April 2022: Big Loop (Juniper – Shore Pine – Arbutus)

After depositing the two big brothers at daycare, Tina and I brought our baby hiker out for a much needed dose of nature. We decided to tackle the big loop since we don’t need to worry about carrying the bigger kids who are just about too big for the backpack carriers.

At the start of the hike, I noticed that dogs actually are allowed off leash in Lighthouse Park, as long as they are well behaved and can stay on trails. A little surprising given the hazards especially on the rocky boulders. For the same reason, most dogs stay on Beacon Lane and around the lighthouse. We only encountered a handful of dogs on the more challenging trails.

The start of the Juniper Loop was deceptively well paved with gravel. But it’s a trap! Do not attempt this with a stroller.

It’s a mildly technical descent to Juniper Point, but the view was well worth it! When we stopped to check our GPS, a kind hiker pointed us to the right direction and told us that Juniper Point is her favorite viewpoint in the whole park.

Juniper Point

It’s quite easy to see why the hiker loved Juniper Point. It offers an expansive view of Howe Sound and Bowen Island, and the surrounding mountains.

Looking north from Juniper Point
Obligatory selfie
Looking west to Bowen Island

The trails in the western portion of the park are similar to the east, with tree roots, rocks, mud, and even water trickling down some trail sections. Sturdy hiking shoes or boots definitely recommended.

Shore Pine Point

Near the lighthouse, there were picnic tables and flush toilets. Tina wondered about the possibility of having an outdoor gathering here, but it’s still nearly 1km to walk downhill on Beacon Lane Trail then back up again.

Picnic tables near the lighthouse
Point Atkinson Lighthouse

Compare to the west shore, the eastern portion of the park is comparatively bland. Doing the big loop counter-clockwise (west shore first) may be a bit anti-climatic.

View from Eagle Point from the east shore
View of downtown and Mt Baker in the backdrop
Steep climb on Arbutus Trail

We skipped several of the viewpoints and side trails, and completed our moderate hike. Our 1 month hiker slept through the 1 hour and 45 min hike and got compliments for doing so.

A few tips for hiking with a newborn:

  • The length of the hike was perfect for Tina to nurse the baby on the car before and after the hike. On longer hikes, we would probably have to take him out of the warm cocoon and find nursing spots on the trail.
  • Carrying the human furnace, I got too hot and had to take my jacket off. Definitely glad that I was hiking in layers.
  • I hiked with the backpack to counter balance the weight of front-carrying the 5kg baby. I didn’t have any issue with back strain even after nearly 2 hours of fairly strenuous hiking.
  • I usually carry a hiking pole but I opted out this time to keep my hands free to support the baby’s bobbing head at all times. Keeping a hand on the baby’s head also improves my spacial awareness and reminds me to take him into account when moving through the trail.

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