Although Vancouver is a metropolitan city, it’s also a coastal seaport and home to mountain peaks and natural attractions. While many know the city for its sustainable restaurants, trendy nightlife and cultural fare, Vancouver also has options for the adventurous traveler, especially at Grouse Mountain.
Grouse is a mountain of the North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges. The first recorded hikers summited the 4,100-foot mountain in October 1894, which at the time took three or four days. That was before Grouse became a hub of organized adventure activities and Vancouver’s most visited attraction.
While I’d known about hiking the excruciatingly steep “Grouse Grind” and had heard about paragliding, skiing and snowboarding opportunities, I was unaware they had a zipline. On my last visit, I tried it for myself. The five-line, double-track circuit was an excellent way to explore the beauty of the mountain while getting my heart rate up. While the first section is easy and gets you used to the experience, the second zips you at rapid speed over Blue Grouse Lake.
%Gallery-166362%To get to the higher sections, we had to take a chairlift, giving another opportunity to see the peaks, forests and canyons of Grouse. The last two lines are the scariest, reaching 200 feet in height and 50 miles per hour. My group was so high in the clouds; it actually felt like we were flying into an abyss.
At the end, you can visit the Eye of the Wind, a 1.5-megawatt turbine and the first wind turbine in North America to be built at such an extreme height. You’ll be able to go to the top – 214 feet in the air and less than 10 feet from the spinning blades – and enjoy 360 degree views of the mountains and surroundings.
Additionally, don’t forget to checkout the Lumberjack Show. While I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was hilarious. You’ll see Willie McGee from Blue Mountain and Johnny Nelson from Green River crack jokes while battling each other to see who is the best at log rolling, scaling 60-foot trees unharnessed, sculpture carving, axe throwing, springboard chopping and speed sawing. There is also a twist at the end that I won’t spoil, but actually seemed so real I had to close my eyes. Ironically, I have no trouble propelling myself above the trees, but get frightened sitting through a family-friendly show. The free event takes place daily at 12 P.M., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Ziplining prices range from $70 to $109, depending on what package you choose. For a more visual idea of adventures on Grouse Mountain, check out the gallery above.