North America

Vancouver, BC

Vancouver is one of North America’s top running cities. Catch this city on a sunny, warm day and you will be rewarded by some of the most spectacular runs of any urban area in the world, on a par with San Francisco and Sydney. Surrounded by ocean and mountains, Vancouver’s planners have taken full advantage of the city’s spectacular geography by building a wonderful network of parks and trails. Among the highlights of running in Vancouver, British Columbia are the 17-mile Seawall Trail– the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. And even though downtown is looking increasingly Hong Kong-esque with its huge skyscrapers, Stanley Park, with miles of oceanfront and forested trails, is at your doorstep. Running the Seawall around the perimeter of Stanley Park is one of the great urban runs in the world.

There are also wonderful beaches, parks, and running trails in the western part of the city, on the peninsula across the bridge from downtown. The “Kits” neighborhood has great oceanfront running with terrific views of the city and mountains beyond. The University of British Columbia (UBC) campus, at the end of the peninsula, is large and composed of numerous trails and parkland nearby. In North Vancouver and heading toward the mountains, there are huge parks and recreational areas, with world-class trail running. The ‘Grouse Grind’ is an iconic run/walk/hike. For those with time, B.C. is a recreational mecca, between Vancouver Island, a ferry ride away, and the mountains to the north. Vancouver has great public transportation: Skytrain light rail system, ferries/aquabuses, and buses. The city has also invested significantly in a network of bike trails and overall bicycle infrastructure, which benefits runners and walkers as well.

Vancouver’s issue is weather. Catch it on a good day in the summer and the recreational opportunities are unparalleled. But outside of summer there can be long stretches of rainy and overcast days. Winter temps rarely fall below freezing, but the days can be damp and dark.

We have put together 15+ runs for you in Vancouver. A few favorites: The western side of the Stanley Park Seawall (English Bay, Sunset Beach), and the Kits area at the end of the day — gorgeous views and fantastic light; similarly, the eastern side of the Stanley Park seawall at sunrise; False Creek, for an easy, flat and seamless waterside run; and on a rainy day, enjoy the trees and hills of the interior section of Stanley Park, with the foliage providing a virtual canopy of protection from the elements. And, for the multi-sport athletes among you, on a nice day, see our Kits Beach multi-sport spectacular.

The three best bets from the main business/hotel area of downtown: north side into Stanley Park; south side to English Bay Beach/Sunset Beach part of the seawall; and over the Burrard St. Bridge to Vanier Park/Vancouver Museum/Kitsilano Beach.

  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Stanley Park

Vancouver, British Columbia

At more than 1,000 acres and surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay, Stanley Park is running heaven — and easily reachable from downtown hotels. If you have time for one run in Vancouver, run here.
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False Creek Loop

Vancouver, British Columbia

This is a wonderful loop run past the Plaza of Nations, Science World, the Olympic Village and continues through Granville Island. Great water views, skyline views, and tour of Vancouver’s ever-growing glass condo high rises.
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Stanley Park

Vancouver, British Columbia

At more than 1,000 acres and surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay, Stanley Park is running heaven — and easily reachable from downtown hotels. If you have time for one run in Vancouver, run here.
Explore

The good news about Vancouver’s weather is that it is mild — especially compared to other Canadian cities. Temps rarely fall much below freezing in winter, and there is little snow. However, it’s cloudy and wet, averaging 20 days with measurable rainfall and 17% average sunshine in winter — similar to Seattle. So pack wet weather gear, and plan for runs away from the water on really stormy days.vancouver-climograph

Vancouver is quite compact. There are lots of hotels right downtown, most within 1–2 miles of Stanley Park, the Seawall, and the trails around False Creek and over the Burrard St. Bridge. There’s also a cluster of hotels near the airport, which is fairly close to the city. There is good access from hotels just east of the airport to trails along the Fraser River, starting at Cambie Rd. North 2nd Rd. and paralleling River Rd. Our maps below are a general Vancouver view and a more detailed downtown area/lower mainland/UBC view.
gr van staygr vancouver image 2

There are lots of running stores in Vancouver, which speaks to the city’s recreational culture and great running options. Running Room is a national chain in Canada with several locations in Vancouver. There are many group run opportunities each week. Group Run Calendar.

Downtown
The Running Room. Right near Stanley Park. Group Runs Wed.: 6:00 p.m. & Sun.: 8:30 a.m.
New Balance. Heart of downtown. Great advice on running technique, apparel.
Lululemon Lab. Vancouver is the HQ location of this well-known yoga & running apparel chain. This store is their lab location, with a focus on new designs and concepts are

Kitsilano/UBC Area
Forerunners. Great local shop. Group Runs Wednesday 6:30 and Saturday 8am, $5 but lots of resources.
Distance Runwear. Great store. Also location in North Vancouver.
Running Room. Group Runs Wed. 6:00 p.m. & Sun.: 8:30 a.m.
Vanvouver Running Company. Near Kitsilano Beach. Group Runs Thursday 6:15 pm. Also special group runs and training. More info.

North Vancouver
Forerunners. Great local shop. Group Runs Wednesday 6:30 and Saturday 8am
Running Room. Group Runs Wed.: 6:00 p.m. & Sun.: 8:30 a.m
Distance Runwear. Great local running store. Thanks to Dave for his help!

East Vancouver (Burnaby)
Running Room. Group Runs Wed.: 6:00 p.m. & Sun.: 8:30 a.m.

Meetup Groups


BMO Vancouver Marathon. May. Marathon and other distances. A major event.

Vancouver Sun Run. April. Popular 10k, attracts 40,000 runners.

ScotiaBank Half Marathon & 5k. June. Great course, mainly along the water. www.canadarunningseries.com/svhm/

Seawheeze Half Marathon. August. “It’s over 10,000 Agents of Change descending on Vancouver to sweat it out over a summer weekend of yoga, running, and, of course, one hell of an awesome party”. Affiliated with Lululemon.

East Side 10k. September. Popular 10k in the eastern part of the city, a good ‘architectural’ tour. Part of the Canada Running Series

WestVanRun. March. Various length options.

Good Vancouver running calendar