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Grouse Grind Trail to reopen Saturday morning

Metro Vancouver opens the Grouse Grind Trail May 28. The trail, known as "Mother Nature's Stairmaster" will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m daily.
Grouse Grind
North Van's Grouse Grind Trail will reopen on Saturday morning (May 28) at 7 a.m. | North Shore News files

Nature’s Stairmaster is ready to kick your butt again.

Keeners eager to take on North Vancouver’s most famous trail can get their exercise fix starting early Saturday morning.

Metro Vancouver's Grouse Grind Trail officially opens on Saturday, May 28, at 7 a.m. The Grind will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Regular hikers have been eagerly awaiting the reopening of the trail, which was delayed this year due to an unusually cold spring, resulting in winter conditions at the top of the Grind for longer than usual. Last year, the Grind opened almost three weeks earlier.

Grouse Grind is a challenging hike

The Grind is a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, with an elevation gain of 853 metres (2,800 feet). It’s not for the faint-hearted.

On average, it takes up to an hour and a half to climb the gruelling 2,830 stairs, but two hours is recommended for novice hikers.

For those looking for a challenge, the fastest time recorded last year was 29 minutes, 30 seconds. Those feeling competitive about their hike can sign up for an account and compare their times on a Grouse Grind online leaderboard.

The Grind is hiked about 300,000 times each year, according to Metro Vancouver. Visits to Grouse Mountain Regional Park were up 15 per cent in 2021 over 2020.

Skyride only way down

It’s important for hikers to keep in mind the Grouse Grind is a one-way trail only, according to Metro Vancouver.

Downhill hiking is not allowed on the Grind. In order to descend Grouse Mountain, hikers can buy a ticket for the Grouse Mountain Resort Skyride to return to the base by tram. Wearing a face covering is mandatory for all Skyride users.

Metro also reminds hikers that part of the BCMC Trail – sometimes used as an alternate route down the mountain – is currently undergoing maintenance and will be closed Monday through Friday until June 30. That trail will reopen July 1. If conditions allow, the BCMC will be open on weekends and statutory holidays. A detour is available via the Baden-Powell and Larsen trails to reconnect with the upper part of the BCMC Route near marker 29.

Metro Vancouver is continuing work on park improvements, including a revitalized trailhead area, upgrades to the Grouse Grind Trail, BCMC and Baden-Powell trails, viewpoints, and rest stops. Upgrades are ongoing and are funded by the governments of Canada and B.C., in partnership with Metro Vancouver.

Safety information for Grouse Grind Trail

Hikers are reminded to wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear (flip flops, platform heels and jeans are  not recommended) and to be prepared with water, a snack, and a cellphone. While the trail is snow-free, expect winter conditions at the top of Grouse and bring extra layers of clothing.

Dogs are not permitted on the Grouse Grind Trail, so leave your furry friends at home.

Hikers should also make sure to leave enough time to finish their hike before it gets dark.

Grind etiquette

Novices to the Grouse Grind will quickly discover the “unofficial” etiquette rules of the trail.  

The Grind is a very narrow trail, so expect to be passed by experienced Grinders who are striving for personal best times. The practice is to always keep to the right. Faster hikers will usually (politely) say “on your left” as they move to pass you.

Grouse Grind history

According to Grouse Mountain Resort, hikers were first recorded on Grouse Mountain in 1894 when a hunting party shot a blue grouse bird and named the mountain in the bird’s honour. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s and early 1930s that Grouse Mountain saw the first big wave of adventurous hikers.

Today's Grind was first developed in the early 1980s by mountaineers looking for a challenging and convenient workout. Seeking a steeper route than the BCMC Trail, they began following well-worn animal paths in the rough, completing the new trail in the winter of 1983. The modern Grouse Grind Trail gained renewed popularity among hikers starting in the 1990s.

Sign up for the Grouse Mountain Regional Park mailing list for updates with Metro Vancouver.