Lighthouse Park – Adventure in West Vancouver

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Isn’t it great that we live in a city with so many little adventures close by?  I’ve found another gem that even many locals don’t know exist – and it’s right in your backdoor.

A short drive to West Vancouver. takes you to a little early history of Vancouver : Lighthouse Park.

To get to the trailhead – follow Marine Drive in West Vancouver. for about 9+ km – this drive alone will get your drooling (the view is about the BEST in the WORLD – as far as I’m concerned) go past Caulfield Cove and watch for the small “Lighthouse Park” sign on the left.  Enter here – the parking lot is 100 meters from the road.

Here you can explore the actual Lighthouse, hike or rock climb the sharp rocky ledges.  We’ve even gone skinny dipping in the water in the early evening (and didn’t get caught!).  The starting point for your hike lies at the top of the parking lot.  Look for the large information board, then look for the yellow gate -on the left look for a small post with #1 painted on its top.  Go left – follow the trail to a red and white fire hydrant- then go right -about 50 metres further is a side trail that will take you to the parks summit at 115 meters.  If you happened to be standing at that spot say in 1792 – you might have seen Captain George Vancouver in his boat overlooking the area. The surrounding land was named after this famous explorer – he spent some time writing in his journals about the beauty of the park, and its various trees.  The markers are well laid out and easy to follow – the hike is about six kilometers – you are now in the midst of red cedars and Douglas firs that have never been logged.  And this area is one of the highest -priced real estate markets in the country.

When you get close to the water you will see the Lighthouse – take a break here and get out your camera.  Today the Lighthouse is automated – but since 1883 light house keepers and their families did live here (there is a board with an entire history of families that were lighthouse keepers in the main parking lot).  

Another alternative short route lies to the immediate right of the parking lot.  Follow the main trail (Juniper Point) and stay to the right – it will take you to the top of a rocky steep ledge.  Here you will find rock climbers honing their skills on the sharp rocks- to your eyes it appears the belaying partners below are almost in the water (almost .5 meters below is the sea) – one of its many attractive features that lures local climbers and others from around the lower mainland.  Have a picnic here and come an hour before the sunset – it is a great view of Bowen Island and UBC.  There are bald eagles here – look in the trees for their nests -often you see the parents training the babies to hunt.  It is a refreshing place to be less than 30 minutes from the city.  It’s busy during the day – so my recommendation is to come later towards the evening.  One summer a couple of years ago friends and I ran into a guy on the trails – he was a little lost not knowing the park.  We invited him to join us for a picnic on the rocks edge – and he happily accepted.  He seemed a little sad and I told him a little about the park and its history. He seemed to relax as we headed into the water to deep our feet into its salty caress.  As we chatted it he told us his name and the story of how he married the famous actress Anne Hesch (shortly thereafter he called to tell me she had filed for divorce!).  I now realized he had been at the park to escape from his marital woes.

For me the park is a quick easy get away when you need to get away from life’s trauma, bruises and upsets.  I hope you find your own piece of mind when you enter the gates of Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.

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