West Vancouver is an area I’ve not yet explored. Well, we haven’t yet explored much of Vancouver at all, so I have made it a point to start doing some local ‘travelling’. What’s really fun about this Exploration Tuesday Adventure (ETA) is that I had inspiration to go looking for a specific thing somewhere in Vancouver, which lead us to West Van.
What was my inspiration? Grandma Deb, Mr. Radhuber’s Step-mom, had given Gregory a lighthouse toy quite some time back. We use it as a nightlight sometimes and recently have begun a fascination with them as a result of seeing them in books more and more. Thanks to our other obsession with transportation vehicles, like boats.
So Gregory and I got up and out of the house just after 8AM one morning and drove through a tunnel, over a bridge and along some local back roads to find Lighthouse park. It was an awesome day, and this was our adventure. I hope it inspires you to go explore it with your Little(s) as well.
Lighthouse park isn’t too hard to find if you have a GPS. I’d give you directions, but I just followed the nice lady’s voice from my car. I entered 4915 Beacon Lane, West Vancouver and I was brought to the entrance of the park. It was an easy drive, and there was ample parking once you start driving in. We went on a Tuesday morning, left around noon and there was still many open parking spots.
There are a couple of info boards around the parking lot. Check out at least one of them before you start your hike. Here you can find a map, and some info about the wildlife. The map is what is most important. Take a photo on your phone and set it as your home screen. If you are lucky, like I was, there might be a few paper maps left in one of the brochure holders. A hand-held paper map was super helpful.
Pro Tip: Print out a map at home before you leave for the park. Bonus points if you map out the main trails you want to hike.
Take a Hike
Okay, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when we got to this lighthouse park. I checked online and read that there is one path that is most direct and easy to access the lighthouse. I didn’t want to take that one, but I read about it. All the other pathways were a mystery to me, and that mystery needed to be solved.
I wasn’t sure if I could bring a jogging stroller, so I hauled our backpack carrier in case Gregory would get tired or the pathway too hard for him to manage. Man was I glad I did that. This is a HIKE! Nothing like the Grouse Grind or Stawamus Chief, but it is a decent day of hiking if you wish it to be.
We managed to hike the West side of the lighthouse, and it took us about 4-5 hours in total. Granted, I let my toddler walk as much as he wanted, stop as often as he wanted, and we took detours down all the paths we could to the ocean rock faces to see the boats passing by. Oh, and to spot to seaplanes flying overhead.
#ourRADhouse Hiking Route
With so many options of paths to take, I knew that we wouldn’t get to the whole park in one day and settled on tackling the west half of the park up to the lighthouse. This was perfect for us, and offered tons of fun activities and sights to see. Parking in one of the first few parking spots, Gregory and I walked the first hiking path that leads to the Juniper Loop.
Along this path you will pass outhouses almost immediately off of the parking lot. I never enter them unless it’s an emergency kind of thing. So I have no review on their cleanliness. And no regrets about not being able to provide you with that.
Taking the path very slow at first, we layered up jackets in case we got cold in the shaded forest. Walking to Juniper point slowly gave us plenty of time to look around the forest and catch things most people were missing as they passed us. Keep an eye up in the trees as you’ll find signs that explain a cool fact about the forest and it’s foliage.
Juniper point was very nice, and from there we could see the BC Ferry headed out from Horseshoe Bay. Very cool to hear my Bean tell me that that boat is his Bamma’s boat and he has plans to visit her in one week. What a card.
Headed back from Juniper Point I realized we had too many layers on and detoured back to the parking lot to take off a few. I highly recommend you using this strategy if you are hiking on a cloudy day. The weather was hard to determine and it took maybe 5 minutes to walk back from the Juniper point and Shore Pine trail junction. Then you won’t have to carry around the extra layers you and your Little take off. It’ll be a long day if you got to haul those along with you.
Shore Pine Trail
Shore Pine Trail offers so many lookouts along the ocean rock face. This was my exact hope for our trek so we could smell the ocean and feel it’s breeze. The views were absolutely amazing, and I cannot stress enough, take the extra few minutes to walk down all the side trails to the water you can manage.
There were fun little bridges to walk over, stairs, and the trail gets rocky, rooty, and wet. When I carried Gregory in the backpack I could feel the burn in my legs as we climbed up hills. And when he walked I had to hold his hands and lift him over the more challenging parts. I was quite happy that I was getting a full body workout with this hiking path.
Shore Pine Point offers a nice area to explore a little, but if you really want to get down to water level and check out the ocean water pools in the rocks, head to West Beach. We managed to find pools to explore crabs and muscles at the point, which was another highlight for Gregory.
I thought it was awesome to watch my son explore tide pools like I did when I was a little girl. I could actually feel the curiosity I had felt as a little girl and joined in on the hunt for more crabs and creatures. I felt like a little kid again, combing the beach on the Island.
West beach offers a very rocky beach with green seaweed covered rocks at the water line. You can also climb up on a rock face and check out the upper area. We stayed low on the rocks and discovered a little waterfall and had a snack there. We must have hung out there for half an hour, which was completely fine by me. It was quiet, peaceful and very enjoyable to listen to my sons incoherent words tell me all about how he is trying to climb this waterfall.
The lighthouse is located at Point Atkinson, and while you can’t get right up to it, you can get fairly close and great views. There is an old village with wooden buildings before the lighthouse. They were used during WW2 from what I understood on the info plaques. And there were bathrooms available in one of them as well.
Along these buildings there were some picnic tables, and off to the right (accessible off of the Shore Pine Trail) there is an awesome lighthouse viewpoint with a few more picnic tables to eat at and take a break.
It was a charming area which is at the end of that ‘easily accessible’ path from the parking lot I didn’t want to take way back at the start. If you can’t hike the side trails, definitely walk the Beacon Lane trail to Point Atkinson. There is still lots to see here and you’ll still enjoy yourself without the extra ocean views you get from side trails.
Walking back from Point Atkinson I wanted to take the Seven Sister Trails to ensure I stayed West so I would return to explore the East side of the park on another day. Taking this trail I noticed there was a Salmon berry Meadow pathway I could take, and, why wouldn’t I take that path? Hello, yummy!
The berries weren’t ready, or they were already eaten by the birds. I’m sure when in full bloom those berries and the berry flowers would make the meadow just breathtaking. There was a small side trail off of the Salmon berry meadow that we didn’t take, but it is marked and available for use.
Off of this meadow was another meadow, Songbird Meadow. Wow, you walk up a short path to a clearing where you literally hear all the birds. All the time. They fly down and hop along the grass, no wonder they called it Songbird Meadow. There is a log in the center that you can sit and rest on to enjoy the serenity if you so wish. Or you can continue up the Songbird Meadow path, another side trail marked to use.
Walking the Seven Sisters Trail I noticed more and more marked trails along the main path that aren’t marked on the map. I didn’t take any as we had already been out for hours and Gregory needed to get home for a nap. I also needed to sit and rest my legs.
These paths didn’t seem the same as the trails that lead to the ocean views of the Shoe Pine Trail. So if you checked any of these paths out, let me know in the comments. We are most likely going to explore some of the un-mapped, but path marked, trails on the East side of the park when we return to Lighthouse park.
Before You Go
I hope you were inspired to check out Lighthouse park in West Vancouver. It really was a lot of fun, the fact that we took 4/5 hours to walk a path that should have taken at most 2 should be proof of just how enjoyable our day was.
We had many special moments and laughs, from finding the small waterfall, checking out the pools of water filled with sea creatures, to just sitting and snuggling together on a cliff face watching the boats pass. It was a perfect day and I can’t wait to go back.
Don’t forget to let me know about those marked pathways, and let me know how the east side is. Please tell me there is some sand at the East Beach. I need to find a Sandy Beach on the Mainland and haven’t explored enough to find one yet.
Check back for our next Vancouver adventure, and stay tuned for some epic travel posts coming up. We went to Whistler, and I am also trying to plan a trip to Berg Lake. Google it. Yeah. It’s going to be EPIC.