Picture of Smugglers Cove

5 Great Hikes on the Sunshine Coast, BC

Wednesday Feb 03rd, 2021


1. Smugglers Cove


Difficulty: Easy

Length: 4km — Approx. 1.5hrs

Elevation Gain: Minimal


Smugglers Cove Marine Provincial Park is located about 20km North of Sechelt and is a stunningly beautiful area filled with lush greenery, arbutus trees, and epic coastal views of the cove and out across the Straight of Georgia. The hike is a fairly easy out and back trail, beginning with forest trails, wooden bridges through a marsh and then moving on to a few sections that are a little more up and down as you make your way up onto the rocks for views into the cove and out across the ocean. I always bring a picnic and my swim trunks as there are a plethora of beautiful areas to set up for a picnic on the rocks and go for a refreshing dip.


2. Skookumchuck Narrows


Difficulty: Easy

Length: 8km — Approx. 2.5hrs

Elevation Gain: Minimal


This is a popular attraction on the Sunshine Coast and an absolute must if you are in the area. Located just outside the quaint community of Edgmont, Skookumchuck Narrows is about a 2 - 2.5 hour 8km round trip though lush West Coast rainforest, while this is a longer trek, the terrain is fairly easy and there is minimal elevation gain. Once you reach the narrows there are two viewpoints from which you can enjoy the unique experience of witnessing the changing tidal waters that flow between the Jervis Inlet and the Sechelt inlet — I highly recommend that you check the tides and aim to arrive at peak either low or high tide, as the powerful rapids and whirlpools that are created during these times are a stunning sight to see.


3. Mount Elphinstone Summit Trail


Difficulty: Difficult

Length: 13km — Approx. 6hrs

Elevation Gain: 1232m


Mount Elphinstone is the tallest peak on the southern end of The Sunshine Coast, offering two viewpoints with epic views across the Howe Sound of Vancouver, Bowen and Gambier Islands and out into the Straight of Georgia. The Summit trail is the perfect full day hike and while it will definitely give you a good workout, the trail is well maintained and easy to follow as it climbs steadily along the ridge. You will cross a few creeks and come across some exposed pond areas and logging roads, but most of your climb will be through a lovely lush forest canopy. This is a fairly long hike, so wear appropriate gear and bring plenty of food and water to last you the day.


4. Pender Hill


Difficulty: Intermediate

Length: 2km — Approx. 1.25hrs

Elevation Gain: 175m


This short, but challenging hike is just North of Maderia Park. It is a mostly an uphill, rocky climb through pretty woodlands, with some very rough, steep terrain along the way — But it is all worth it once you reach the stunning vista at the top of Pender Hill. There is a large rocky bluff with incredible views of Hotel Lake, Mount Daniel, Pender Harbour and out across the Strait of Georgia toward Texada and Vancouver Island. I recommend you leave yourself at least half an hour to rest and take in all the incredible viewpoints!


5. Soames Hill Park


Difficulty: Intermediate

Length: 2.5km — Approx. 1hr

Elevation Gain: 132m


Soames Hill is located right within the town of Gibsons, and there are couple of different entry points to the park. No matter where you start, the hike only takes about an hour to complete — Soames Hill Park has a loop of easy trails through beautiful second growth forest, but the real hike is the steep, winding staircases leading up to the top of the hill. The 400+ stair climb not only offers a good workout, but comes with the reward of spectacular views down into Lower Gibsons and across the Howe sound overlooking Keats Island, and beyond to the North Shore Mountains. Make sure you bring your water bottle, as I like to call this hike the Sunshine Coast’s “Grouse Grind”.

Tags: hiking - outdoors

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