BC is home to some gorgeous and easily accessible waterfalls
If you don’t love to hike all day, but you love waterfalls, then this post is for you! British Columbia has some spectacular waterfalls, but a lot of them require some serious hiking. If you aren’t into 14 km hikes, read on. Thankfully, there are a number of waterfalls near Vancouver that are also very short hikes.
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These stunning waterfalls are not only near Vancouver, but they are also easily accessible. All of them can be reached on a short drive from Vancouver, and even shorter hikes once you’ve arrived. In fact, one can even be viewed from the highway! I’m here to show you that you don’t have to hike all day to get to some of BC’s amazing waterfalls.
This list is far from exhaustive and I will likely do a follow-up post with some more beautiful waterfalls close to Vancouver. As always, they will be an easy hike because that’s the only kind of hiking your gal likes to do 😉 Grab your hiking boots, jacket and camera and let’s go adventuring!
Pro tip: I love my GoPro camera for hikes with waterfalls. It’s waterproof so I can get as close as I like without worrying about ruining my camera. I even bought a Telesin dome so I can shoot with my GoPro inside the water. This gets awesome shots half in and half out of the water, providing a unique perspective.
Five Stunning Waterfalls Near Vancouver
1. Bridal Veil Falls
Drive an hour and a half east of Vancouver and you will find Bridal Veil Falls. These falls tumble 60 metres over a smooth rock face, which gives the veil-like appearance of these falls. This is how they got their name.
As you can see in the image above, it’s up to you how close you decide to get. You can climb fairly close to these falls if you’re willing to navigate around logs and stumps. Just because we aren’t hiking far doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear proper hiking shoes or boots.
The 1 km loop to the falls has an elevation gain of 52 metres and is suitable for all skill levels. It is also pet-friendly, as long as you keep Fido on a leash at all times and, of course, be polite and pick up after him/her.
The pathway is relatively flat, but there are exposed tree roots. As with all hiking trails, watch where you step to avoid tripping on anything. I always recommend proper hiking boots when trekking through the forest. Even on relatively short and flat hikes, you can injure yourself. I should know, I’ve done it several times, lol!
Note that this trail does close in the winter so be sure to check and ensure that it’s open before heading out. Typically the park and gates are open from April – October.
2. Brandywine Falls
An hour and a half in the opposite direction from Vancouver, just before you hit Whistler, you’ll find Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. The viewing platform for the falls is an easy 1 km walk from the parking lot and it’s the best place to see these 70-metre falls.
From the first waterfall viewing point, continue down the trail for a second viewing platform. This one has sweeping views of the surrounding mountains as well as Daisy Lake. This is one waterfall near Vancouver that offers stunning scenery apart from the waterfall itself.
If you are heading up to Whistler, plan to make a pit stop here along the way. Once you stop and see them, you’ll be shocked that you drove right by so many times. Traffic on the Sea to Sky can get crazy. This spot makes an ideal stop for you to stretch your legs if you’ve been sitting in the car for too long.
These trails are not maintained in the winter months. As always, dress appropriately and check current conditions before heading out.
3. Cascade Falls
Just shy of a two-hour drive east of Vancouver, you will find Cascade Falls. This stunning waterfall pictured above is the main fall you will see at Cascade Falls. It is 30′ high and runs into a small pool. This waterfall is accessible via a short 1 km trail. There are some stairs and they lead you to a viewing platform as well as a suspension bridge, shown below.
You used to be able to climb down and swim in this pool, but the area is now fenced off. While beautiful, this water is glacier-fed, so it’s freezing cold! Take it from me, I used to swim here when I was younger and it was accessible. This one just might be my favourite waterfall near Vancouver.
The waters at Cascade Falls are a gorgeous clear blue. There are lower pools where people do still swim. If you decide to brave it, it would make for a beneficial cold water swim. Read more about the health benefits of going for a cold water swim. There are lots!
The falls vary in strength, speed and current depending on the season. I have seen the top waterfall both very small as well as gushing forcefully during times of heavy rains.
4. Nairn Falls
At just over a two-hour drive, these waterfalls are located the furthest from Vancouver. You will find them 20 minutes north of Whistler, situated between Whistler and Pemberton. Again, they don’t require any serious hiking to get to them. It is a nice 1.5 km walk along a trail to see these 60-metre-high falls.
The viewing platform consists of rocks and cement so it can very be slippery. As always, I recommend proper hiking footwear. There are several different spots to explore and view the falls once you are at the viewing area.
5. Shannon Falls
Our fifth and final waterfall near Vancouver is BC’s third-highest waterfall. Shannon Falls plunges 335 metres over cliffs. Clearly visible from the Sea to Sky Highway, this is a short pit stop if you’re ever driving from Vancouver to Squamish or Whistler. From the parking lot, it is a quick jaunt up to the viewpoint.
You are not able to get very close to Shannon Falls, but the view is pretty. It’s a nice place to stretch your legs if you’re ever in the area, or road-trippin’ along the Sea to Sky Highway. There are lots of other trails and gorgeous nature to see in this area.
If you wanted to spend a day chasing waterfalls you could easily leave Vancouver in the morning, stop at Shannon Falls, then Brandywine Falls, and finally Nairn Falls. This would make for a great day, especially when followed by an evening in Whistler. If you do this, let me know how it goes! I highly recommend going out on a Whistler ATV adventure.
And there you have it, five waterfalls near Vancouver. All of which require very little effort to get to. If you don’t have a car or a friend with a car, you can always rent a car in Vancouver for the day.
Not only are waterfalls beautiful, but spending time in nature is also very healing. If you haven’t heard of forest bathing, check out this post for 5 benefits of forest bathing. How many have you been to or would like to visit? Pin this post for your future road trips around British Columbia.