frequently asked questions
Thinking of taking on the Grouse Grind for the first time? Read this informative FAQ before you go.
Am I ready for the Grouse Grind?If you are asking this question, please carefully consider if the Grouse Grind is the hike for you. Often called “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, the Grouse Grind is a unique and challenging hike. Being ready means you have reviewed the top tips and essential items recommended for the hike, are in good physical share and have the appropriate clothing and footwear. Don't forget, there is more than one way to the top! The majority of visitors to Grouse Mountain ascend via the SuperSkyride Aerial Tramway. If you don’t have the right hiking gear or are unsure about your fitness level, let the Skyride safely whisk you to the top of the mountain.
Am I fit enough?
The Grouse Grind is a serious workout and requires a base level of good fitness. Ideally, your typical workout includes cardio training, as well as squats and lunges. You'll be climbing 2,830 steps up a mountain so strong hips and legs are required. If you are unsure if you are ready to do the Grouse Grind, we strongly recommend that you try some easier Vancouver trails and see how you do.
Is the Grouse Grind open all year?
Decisions regarding the opening and closing of the Grouse Grind Trail are made by Metro Vancouver. When in doubt, please refer to their Grouse Grind webpage at metrovancouver.org. It is fair to assume that the Grouse Grind is a spring-to-fall hike only. Snow, ice and the steep terrain make the Grouse Grind hazardous at some times during the year.
What are the operating hours for the Grouse Grind?
Opening hours change depending on the amount of daylight. At the height of summer, the hours are typically 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, but it is recommended you check Metro Vancouver’s opening and closing times here for the most current information before your visit.
How long and how high is the Grouse Grind?
The Grouse Grind is a 2.5-km (1.55-mile) ascent, with an elevation gain of 800 metres (2,624 feet).
How many steps are there?
How long does the climb take?
This answer varies depending on your fitness, personal motivation and how busy the trail is. Two to 2.5 hours is the average for those with a good level of fitness.
What are the "quarter" marks?
Each quarter section of the Grouse Grind is well marked. The first quarter is seemingly the longest but least steep. Our recommendation is that you pace yourself at the start. The second and third quarter are the steepest, while the last quarter is not as steep.
Who does the Grouse Grind?
The Grouse Grind is recommended for anyone who is reasonably fit and up for a challenge. Each year, more than 100,000 people of all ages and diverse backgrounds hike the Grouse Grind.
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
Dogs are not permitted on the Grouse Grind or at the top of Grouse Mountain. This is for the well-being of the environment, other hikers and the wildlife on the trail. There are no exceptions.
What should I wear?
Proper footwear is a must. Trail shoes or light hiking boots are best. Dress in layers of breathable sports clothing that wick sweat away from your body. You likely won't be cold doing the Grind but once you stop, you'll cool off quickly so you should bring a warm layer. Temperatures and conditions at the top of the mountain can change quickly so have an outer rain layer ready if the forecast calls for precipitation.
What should I avoid wearing?
Flip flops, platform heels, jeans – all are not recommended. This is a serious fitness hike so you should wear appropriate clothing and proper footwear.
Should I bring food and water?
It is strongly recommended that you consume proper nutrition and hydrate before embarking on the Grouse Grind. In addition, it is essential to be safe by carrying at least one litre of water or a sports beverage. In case you need an energy boost, we suggest bringing a snack like trail mix, a power bar, chocolate, a banana or nuts. There are no garbage receptacles on the trail so be prepared to carry everything with you all the way to the top. Please be considerate of the environment and others.
Is there trail etiquette unique to the Grouse Grind?
The Grind is a very narrow trail, so expect to be passed by experienced Grinders who are striving for personal best times. The practice is to always keep to the right and keep your music volume low. Faster hikers will usually (politely) say “on your left” as they move to pass you.
Are there washrooms?
There are no washroom facilities or outhouses along the trail. Guests can take advantage of the facilities Grouse Mountain provides at the base before embarking on the trail and Peak Chalet provides first-class facilities at the top of the mountain.
Are there rest spots along the trail?
There are limited rest spots with limited views and only a few benches at the halfway mark for hikers to take a break. A reminder to please pack out everything you pack in if you plan to stop to eat along the way. There are no garbage receptacles on the trail.
What will I see?
The reward is making it to the summit. Along the way, you can expect to see many natural and wooden stairs, rocks and magnificent trees as you look up up. The tree canopy is thick over most of the trail and there are limited viewpoints until you emerge at the very top where one of the best views of Vancouver awaits. If you are coming for the view alone, a trip up the Skyride is likely the best route for you.
Can I hike down the Grouse Grind?
The trail is so steep and narrow that downhill travel is not permitted by Metro Vancouver. The primary reason for this is safety – both yours and that of your fellow hikers. In addition, the Grouse Grind was designed to be an upward hike and descending the trail will cause considerable damage.
How much does it cost to do the Grouse Grind?
There is no fee to climb the Grouse Grind trail. From the top, the cost to take the Skyride back down is $20 per person. You can purchase your download ticket online or from Alpine Guest Services in the Peak Chalet, which also offers full-service facilities, including food and beverage outlets, as well as a retail store. In the Peak Chalet, there are ATMs and all major credit cards are accepted. If you intend to do the Grouse Grind regularly, Grouse Mountain offers an Annual Pass with additional benefits.
Top 10 tips to make the most of your Grouse Grind?
- Train in advance of your climb and assess your fitness level to determine if this hike is for you. Remember, your Grouse Grind workout should include cardio, squats and lunges.
- Ensure you have let someone know that you have set out to do the Grouse Grind and when you expect to return.
- Ensure you hydrate well in advance and that you have had a proper meal before attempting the Grouse Grind. A banana, an energy bar or some other snack high in sodium and potassium is good to have along with you.
- Dress in layers and wear proper footwear.
- Break the hike down into shorter sections by thinking about going quarter-to-quarter. The hike will not seem so daunting.
- Don’t start out too fast and take advantage of every step if you are new to the trail.
- Keep to the right to allow others to pass.
- Take a break when you need it. Just remember to pull over slightly off the trail at a safe section to let others pass if it is busy.
- Look up and identify a specific person and keep them in sight to help set your pace.
- On busy days, the Skyride down will busy. Be considerate of others and bring a change of shirt and deodorant.
- Early mornings on weekends and weekdays are usually less busy.