Outside Magazine lists the Grouse Grind as one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world, but is that accurate?
In a recent article, Vancouver's most popular trail was included alongside trails from Peru, Spain, the U.S., South Africa and other countries. Looking at photos of the wooden planks bolted to sheer cliffs on the Mount Hua Shan trail in China, or the tricky climbing you need to do on the El Caminito del Rey trail, I find it hard to believe the Grouse Grind made the list.
As a trail runner who's explored many North Shore trails over the last 15 years I can think of a few other trails I'd classify as more dangerous than the Grind.
The Howe Sound Crest Trail that runs from Cypress Bowl to Porteau Cove has some dicey sections around the Lions where there are some serious drop-offs. If you look toward Grouse Mountain from the city, you can see Crown Mountain and the Camel. The climb up to Crown can be tricky and if you plan on getting out to the Camel, come prepared with ropes and climbing gear plus nerves of steel.
What Makes Grouse Dangerous
I think what makes the Grouse Grind dangerous is the sheer number of people who climb it every year. It's estimated over 100,000 hikers use the trail every year. The popularity of the trail attracts many people who don't understand how steep the trail is, and who are unprepared for the conditions. The danger lies in not being physically fit enough to handle the terrain or not wearing the appropriate clothing.
The Grouse Grind requires some serious effort and to be honest, you won't enjoy much scenery while you're on it. Newbies or visitors to Vancouver who would like to climb the trail should read my tips on hiking the Grouse Grind. If you're looking for a leisurely stroll in nature, Vancouver has much more suitable trails and parks such as Stanley Park, Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver or Pacific Spirit Park at UBC.
If you're a regular Grouse Grinder, don't forget about the Alzheimer Society of B.C. fundraiser on September 29. Help raise some money for a great cause while getting your outdoor workout.
I'd love to hear from other hikers and trail runners. Do you think the Grouse Grind is dangerous? Which local trails would you list ahead of the Grind?