A Vancouver local once explained to me why he had originally come to the city for a two-week holiday but had never gone home.
"In... more » that two weeks, I went hiking, sailing and skiing without ever leaving the city limits."
That would be a lot to pack into a one-day trail, but this guide gives the user a taste of some of the natural gems that so excite local lovers of the great outdoors. The city is built around a spectacular harbour that is itself surrounded by forested and often snow-clad mountains. A few minutes walk from its 'Downtown' centre is North America's largest urban park, which caters for all with paved cycling paths and rougher wilderness tracks.
This trail is designed so that you can do it in either direction and end up somewhere with a water view where you can experience Vancouver's highly-rated foodie credentials and underrated BC wines.
I'm opting to start at the Granville Island end, stocking up with lunch supplies from its extensive food market, before wandering past the boats moored along False Creek to take in the city skyline. Then, hopping aboard one of the comical 'bathtub' ferries, we backtrack a mile by water to join the seawall path that skirts Stanley Park. Along the way, the trail will delve inland to see the park's natural and man-made wonders before finishing at picturesque Coal Harbour where you can watch float planes take off towards the mountains. less «