Spectacular, beautiful, gorgeous, breathtaking and amazing are all words that I have used to describe the city of Vancouver. If you haven’t been there, add it to the list of places you must visit as you wont regret it. In this article YourTrip’s company directory takes you to one of the highlights of the city, Stanley Park.

Stanley Park is 1000 acres of urban parkland situated on a peninsula right next to the downtown area. During the short walk to Denham street I collected my rental bike and found it really interesting how the downtown area quickly changed from office blocks and shops to tree lined medium density residential area before opening back up to a suburban high street style area in the West End.

The rental comes complete with a helmet, a bike lock and a map of the area. So with all I needed for the day, I mounted my stylish city bike and headed off towards the Stanley Park Sea wall bike bath (which was half a block away). The bike pick up locations are a stones throw from the start of the trail so straight onto the bike path in under a minute.

If you’re thinking you need to be mega athletic (like everyone in Vancouver appears to be) to do this ride, think again. You’ll find that the paths are relatively flat (we’re following at sea level after all) and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be stopping at every corner to take in the amazing views of the city, North Vancouver, mountains, the ocean and the park.

The route I’m taking wraps around the massive park that is Stanley Park and consists mainly of the sea wall track. To make it easier, and safer, the sea wall is one way only for bike riders and roller bladers (anti clockwise) and surprisingly everyone obeys this rule (I did not see a single person going the wrong way around). In some parts the path gets a bit narrow too so its just as well. It only took a few minutes (and about half a dozen photo stops) and I was at my first stop at the totem poles.Stanley Park Totem Poles Vancouver


Growing up in Australia, totem poles aren’t something you really see everyday (well at least not where I grew up) so to me these were a new experience. The hard carved poles have all been rebuilt over the last 40 years or so after the original white settlers arrived in Vancouver subsequently banned the Aboriginals traditions, which was supposed to encourage them to adopt the western way (A pretty common theme in most countries sadly).

To assist in this westernisation, most of the original totem poles were destroyed, deteriorated or were sold to museums around the world, thus the local people were without these symbolic icons for many years. The totems that stand in Stanley Park today have been re carved and represent a welcoming from the traditional land owners, the Coast Salish people.

Back on the bike and back to the sea wall route, I got a photo of Deadman Island, a Canadian naval base. Although not very big at all, and from the outset doesn’t appear to be very actively naval it was apparently acquired by the Navy as a temporary base during a war and the Navy have just never given it back. The historic looking building looks great from a distance but as it’s a restricted area you cant go in and check it out.

Demands Island Vancouver

I’m not sure what the navy do on the island today, as even a small navy ship is bigger than the island, but from a tourist perspective its a pretty building in the foreground of a great view of the Vancouver skyline.

Following the trail round you get Brocken Point that was great views over North Vancouver and the Lions Gate Suspension Bridge and Lighthouse. According to the sign at the base of the lighthouse the currents and rocks make the passage quite dangerous. The bridge is pretty cool too. It’s like a blue version of the golden gate bridge in San Francisco. If you venture across the bridge, you’ll soon discover that the middle lane of the bridge changes direction about once every 90 seconds.

Lions Gate Bridge Vancouver

Back on the ride, at every turn along the bike track there is another awesome view. My camera has been getting a work out today. I detoured off the path at the children’s water playground and headed into the park to see the Vancouver Aquarium to check out the Beluga whales (white whales).

Being such a large park, even though it is so close to an urban environment, the park is host to its own wildlife. A warning sign near the zoo warned of coyote’s within the park including suggestions of what to do if you see one. These included yelling aggressively at it, throwing things at it, and not feeding them! Fortunately I didn’t come across one, but I guess the advice was handy, although I’m disappointed that my natural reaction (to run like hell) wasn’t an option.

Back on the sea wall trail I came across the first beach, which was not what I was expecting to find in Vancouver (or Canada at all). Even though it was a pretty cold May day (by my standards) there were people sitting on the beach with a book, or just relaxing around. I must admit the views were great, and the beach looked nice but it was way too cold for me. Also washed up on the rocks was bunch of felled trees that must have washed down the river and ended up on the beach. During our flight into Vancouver the day before we could see heaps of timber floating down the river to waiting sawmills (very old fashioned method, but obviously works and saves money on transport). I’m guessing this bunch got missed and ended up at sea.

Following the trail around English Bay to find another beach and an Inukshuk. The Inukshuk was used as a part of the symbol for the winter Olympics but this one stands on a small point into English Bay. The original use was by the aboriginals as a navigation aid and as a sign of a hospitable welcome. I must say that everyone in Canada has been extremely welcoming and hospitable, so I guess these traditions date back to the traditional Canadians.

Stanley Park Vancouver

Continuing along the trail as far as the Burrard Street bridge, where you could easily catch a ferry across to the Granville Island Markets, I headed back to Stanley park and taking the interior route to the beginning of the circuit. Within the interior of the park there are tennis courts a bowling club and heaps of open park space which changes from the densely wooded rain forests to fields scattered with small flowers and even a lagoon. As you get closer to the city you can see apartment buildings that must have an amazing view overlook the park. I can only imagine the price tag on those as the views they must wake up to are stunning.

You could easily spend an entire day or more exploring what this inner urban park has to offer. If the idea of cycling isn’t for you, there are horse drawn carts that take you around the park and heaps of walking and hiking trails that seem to cater for almost any fitness level. I’d have to put this park up there as a must do attraction if visiting Vancouver, and the park itself including its amazing views is free.

This review was written my our Director on a recent visit to Vancouver. You too can experience a great cycle similar to this one around Vancouver on our Experience Canada Tour.

YourTrip Canadian Holidays that include Stanley Park in Vancouver

ProgramDeparture DateDeparture PointConclusion DateConclusion LocationIncluded NightsAvailable
Experience CanadaPrivate Tours in 2018/19CranbrookContact Us Victoria, B.C14Book Now from $7,800pp