Day Tripping: Grouse Mountain

Comments 16 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Today’s adventure (which I’ve popped into my Day Tripping category) started out with a goal in mind: head up Grouse Mountain and go ziplining. Waking up at 7:30am on this drizzly Sunday morning, we knew that might not happen. Still, we packed up, donned our Gor-tex, and headed for the bus up the mountain regardless of the downpour.

Where the sbux resides
From my Flickr Set

If you’re like us and you don’t own a car, you can easily get to the base of Grouse Mountain by transit. We took the Sea Bus from downtown and on the other side hopped on the 236 bus at Lonsdale Quay, which took us the rest of the way in only 20 minutes.

Parking lots are at the base and everyone needs to ride the Skyride gondola up to the lodge, where there is much more to do than just ski (especially in the summer).

The adventurous (and physical) types may want to walk up the 3 vertical kilometers to reach the lodge and there were quite a few people our on the soggy trails this morning. Of course this is not an option in the winter but during the spring/summer season it’s a bit of a trek (with quite the pay off).

John and I were guests of Grouse today so we picked up our passes and headed up the Skyride. Upon reaching the lodge we couldn’t see further than 200 meters down the mountain. It was the first time that I had ever been up this local hill and the only views we had were of the rainclouds that were unleashing their goods upon us in buckets.

However, the good thing about Grouse is that even on a rainy day in the summer there are still several forms of entertainment high above the city.

We got some Saltspring Coffee (the Grouse Mountain roast) and took in the free movies at Theatre in the Sky. The footage in the movie was slightly outdated (false creek was not bursting at the seams with glass structures) however I can see its merit for tourists as it highlights areas of interest along the Pacific coast. I was more interested in the history of the mountain, which the first part of the movie touched upon.

The scenic chairlift was closed today, as there wasn’t too much to see in the rain, and I’m pretty sure some of the other demonstrations were canceled.

From my Flickr Set

There certainly wasn’t a lack of eateries and you can check out the website for the photos of the views we missed today. I really wish the Beavertails place would have been open though. If they are anything like the chocolatey goods you can get at Mount Washington, I would have devoured a couple.

We browsed the store and watched the screen that displayed a live log of Grouse Grind participants reaching their destination. Some people completing the vertical hike in 45 minutes, others in 1 hour 45 minutes – on a really crummy day in the rain it was nice to see everyone finish. (Note: If you do hike up, the only way down is the Skyride so you’ll have to purchase a one-way ticket to head back to the parking lot).

John’s highlight that, “made the whole day” for him, was seeing the grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola – who were orphaned and now live in a conservation area on Grouse.

We love walks in the rain and especially exploring our local parks and mountains. We weren’t too disappointed today, mostly since we’d both never been up we didn’t really know what we were missing – except for the sensational views I’ve seen in pictures.

Taking the transit bus back to downtown we were pretty soggy, jeans soaked up to the knees and my hair completely frizzed-out. Despite not being able to do the activity that lead us up the mountain, we still really enjoyed ourselves and are now planning our trip back up for the near future.

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16 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RaulSunday, August 24th, 2008 — 6:23pm PDT

    I wish I had gone there with you guys 🙁 I love Grouse! (pouts)

  2. Michelle EvansSunday, August 24th, 2008 — 6:38pm PDT

    Nice review Rebecca! It’s too bad the weather was so gross for you. It’s definitely a good time… at least, I think it is 😉 Cool that the bears put on a show for you, though.

  3. KarenSunday, August 24th, 2008 — 6:52pm PDT

    Grouse has a special place in my heart as we had our wedding and reception at the chalet 2 years ago. Thanks for sharing your day with us. Hopefully you get the chance to try the zipline again when the weather cooperates and the city sparkles beneath!

  4. Keira-AnneSunday, August 24th, 2008 — 10:52pm PDT

    I’d like to go for a scenic ride with you sometime.

  5. Tyler IngramMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 6:18am PDT

    The gondola on a sunny day is great. Though it does suck that the weather was not the best for you two on you invite up to the mountain. I’ve been there twice I think once in Dec for my birthday and some other time when it was cloudy and meh like the day you two went.

    They’ve had plans for building a resort up there though I don’t know if they have ever finalized anything either. I know we have a wireless link up to the top but I don’t think it would fetch me any cool deals with them! lol

    When the snow comes what happens to the grizzlies? The snow must get higher than their fence right?

    I have 1 task that i want to accomplish this winter. I must try boarding up on Grouse and I must try out their signature bunny hill too! The large run you see from the City, yup I want to do that! lol

  6. Miss604Monday, August 25th, 2008 — 6:21am PDT

    @ Tyler – The grizzlie hibernate.

    They have a chart on the website as to the length of their hibernation etc. They must have a fun little cave somewhere, or at least that’s what I’m imagining.

  7. Tyler IngramMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 7:38am PDT

    Oh yea.. forgot about the whole bear hibernating thing. Ooops!

  8. CandiceMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 10:05am PDT

    Too bad about the weather – i still manage to enjoy it in the rain – less tourists – and it is so peaceful up there walking around. did you see any deer? the last few weekends – there has been a deer hanging around the chalet. the last time i went up it rained – and the guy on the gondola was saying that the zipline actually goes quite a bit faster in the rain – granted that day it wasnt as cloudy up there – but its amazing how fast you can see and then you cant!

    there is a building the bears go in to hibernate. before the bears go into hibernation – they are “put to sleep” so test can be done on them and they can be weighed to make sure they are a-okay before going in for the winters nap. apparently they lose about 30lbs during hibernation – i saw them when they had come out of hibernation in – and they sure do look 30lbs lighter! its amazing to see how much snow there is in the winter – and to realize that you are on top of the bear habitat! did you check out the wolves down below near the parking lot?

    i hope you and John get up there again soon – especially on a nice day – go up in the morning – have breakfast at the cafe sit on the balcony and watch the grinders finishing the climb. makes for a great start to the day!

    I am hoping to do the zipline in a few weeks for my birthday –

  9. RobMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 10:24am PDT

    One thing about planning a day out around here is that doing stuff in the rain seems to be something to be expected, and hopefully enjoyed – although maybe in a different way than you would if it was sunny. It’s great to see that you guys made the best of it. I should follow your example; I tend to cower inside when it rains even though when I actually get out and walk around in it, I usually enjoy it. My two year old (almost three year old!) has a few things to teach her dad when it comes to the rain – she loves it. I wonder if it’s because she’s the only native Vancouverite in our family – the rest of us are all umbrella-huddlers from back East!

    Thanks for the post!

  10. PhaedraMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 10:47am PDT

    I had no idea that they had a zipline up there. I’m down to go sometime. And kudos for heading out and braving the day in the rain!

  11. MarinaMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 11:29am PDT

    We went up that way a few weekends back and even paid for parking with every intent on going up to the top but I have to admit, the cheap monster reared his ugly head when we saw the cost of the ride to the top! We’re hoping to make a second attempt before full winter kicks in – now that we’re a little more prepared for the cost!

  12. Michelle EvansMonday, August 25th, 2008 — 12:50pm PDT

    Yeah, the cost can certainly deter a lot of people, especially when you don’t know what is at the top to enjoy. Locals who love Grouse usually go with an annual membership, which is only $90. You can use it to go up the mountain as much as you want for a year; you can use it to come down after the grind; you get discounts on event registrations and purchases from the stores and you get 50% off the admission price for up to 4 guests each time you go if you want… so you can take Aunt Ruth or the in-laws when they visit from out of town.

    Oh, and another thing about the price… rather than pay $35/person to go up, you can go to the fine dining restaurant for dinner for a $39 entree and not pay to go up (free tickets yeah!!) Then you get an amazing meal… basically for $4 😉

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  15. Rocky KeatonFriday, October 31st, 2008 — 12:25am PDT

    I just saw your flickr set. Despite the bad weather, you still managed to take those really great shots!

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