Vancouver Big Tree Hiking Guide

Introduction to the Vancouver Big Tree Hiking Guide

Welcome to the Vancouver big tree hiking guide.  This page has been created to help people engage with Vancouver’s local forests through offering interpretation and directions for visiting exceptional old-growth forests in the Vancouver area. I have thus far made hiking guides for three areas: UBC and Pacific Spriti Park, Capilano Canyon, Lynn Valley, and Kerrisdale Elementary School

Vancouver’s is surrounded by lush temperate rainforest that contains trees over 1300 years old and up to 86 m tall. It is reported that the tallest trees on earth grew in the Vancouver area before logging commenced in the late 1800’s.

Above: Meet the author on a hike to find a massive Douglas-fir in North Vancouver called Grandpa Capilano

British Columbia has about 50 native tree species. Of those, the largest, widest or tallest specimens of at least eight of those species are known to be within Vancouver city limits (e.g., red alder and big leaf maple) or in the forests of the surrounding Lower Mainland (e.g., black cottonwood, amabilis fir, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, Pacific yew, and grand fir).

Please direct any questions or comments to Ira Sutherland at

Select Big tree hiking areas (In no particular order):

  1. UBC’s forests and biggest trees 
  2. Stanley park, Vancouver
  3. Capilano Canyon, North Vancouver
  4. Brother’s Creek, West Vancouver
  5. Lynn Valley, North Vancouver
  6. Seymour Valley, North Vancouver
  7. Kerrisdale’s big trees
  8. Upper Chilliwack Valley, Chilliwack

Few people know that there is a large old-growth forest area in UBC that contains 400+ year old Douglas-fir and some of the largest grand firs in the world. Find trees such as the giant grand fir seen here with the UBC hiking guide.

Stanley park contains exceptional individual trees of many species. This big leaf maple is believed to be the largest in BC, and possibly the largest maple tree in Canada

An old-growth Douglas-fir towering above young hemlocks at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver. This perspective is gained from taking the canopy walkway, which hangs nearly 30m above the ground from tall Douglas-firs. Outside the private Suspension Bridge park follow this hiking route through nice forest containing much larger and older trees

Brother’s Creek Ancient Cedar Grove, West Vancouver. Some forests in this area are well over 2000 years old, many of them have no legal protection as parks.

Lynn Valley, North Vancouver reportedly once contained the tallest trees on Earth. The entire valley bottom was clear-cut except for this single 4m wide cedar. Wider cedars can be found further up valley past Kennedy Creek along steep slopes. Here is a hiking guide to visit this tree and here is my broader overview of the valley’s big trees

The Temple Giant (86m) located in Seymour Valley, North Vancouver is the third tallest Douglas-fir in BC. The majority of Seymour Valley has been logged but it is a large valley with many outstanding groves remaining. Here you can read about the group hike seen above.


Kerrisdale Elementary School has a few large Douglas-fir, but what is more interesting is the history of this area’s big trees prior to settlement.

The Upper Chilliwack River is the last large low elevation valley bottom old-growth forest in the Lower Mainland. In here is the world’s largest known grand fir (not shown here).