Besides failing to bring home a bag chock-full of Rosemary Rocksalt bagels, my only other regret following a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, was not devoting more time to discovering Stanley Park.
Located about 2 miles outside of downtown Vancouver, the urban park is massive, encompassing some 1,000 acres. Just as my friends and I did, begin your exploration at any point on the famed Stanley Park Seawall, a 5.5-mile waterfront route that twists and turns along the brink of the park. You will be far from alone — dozens upon dozens of families, runners, cyclists, skateboarders, dog-walkers and the like frequent the popular paved path, also seduced by vistas of the azure-colored harbor and the shadowy silhouette of downtown’s cityscape.
But rather than stick only to the seawall, veer off the pathway to venture deeper into the park. From Douglas firs and western red cedars to bigleaf maples and red alders, Stanley Park is dense with soaring trees and a range of other thriving flora. You’ll have a better view of these beauties off the beaten path. Interior trails are abundant and span more than 16 miles; my friends and I chose to wander the forest without any fixed calculations of where to turn or where to continue straight. Save for a few strangers who fleetingly drifted in and out of sight, it felt like we had the entire grand park to ourselves for exploring.