Last Updated on June 10, 2023
There’s something magical about waterfalls. I have loved exploring and admiring waterfalls around Vancouver since I was a little girl when my parents took the family to visit one of my very favorites: Shannon Falls.
Standing in front of a massive amount of water crashing down on rock and cliff is awe-inspiring. I have marveled at the power and beauty of Niagara Falls, and another incredibly impressive waterfall in Uganda, Murchison Falls.
Whenever I visit a new place, I start with researching what waterfalls are near by. It’s hard to explain why I love waterfalls, but it’s in my soul. Waterfalls give me peace and serenity.
Falls in British Columbia
Vancouver is well known for its rainy weather, making it the perfect place to chase waterfalls. The region is blessed with a temperate climate home to rainforests and numerous fantastic waterfalls for my outdoor adventures.
Some of these are just off the roadway, more spectacular waterfalls around Vancouver can be found at the end of hiking trails. Spring is the best time to visit these marvels when snow melt from the mountains makes them flush.
Shannon Falls in British Columbia
This stunning waterfall is only an hour drive along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver. If you have the time, stop and breathe in the fresh air as you pass by the Pacific Ocean, islands, and spectacular mountains along the way.
This waterfall rises 335-metres above the highway making it the third-highest cascade in British Columbia. When you leave your car, you’ll hear the water roaring over the rocky ledge. The sound of this mighty cascade always takes my breath away.
There is an easy 350-metre trail along the creek passing through a verdant forest filled with Western hemlock, Douglas fir and Western red cedar. Viewpoints along the path allow for stunning photographs.
I still remember family picnics on the grass, dipping my toes into the frigid water, and standing in front of a thunderous waterfall that reached the clouds and stirred my soul. It still does.
For convenience, washrooms and a small concession and information center offers snacks, guides and souvenirs.
Gold Creek Falls
This waterfall is another of my favourites. Gold Creek Falls sits in Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge. Once entering the park, it will take almost 9-kilometres to reach the Lower Gold Falls Trail parking lot. Make sure to arrive early because it fills up quickly.
A well-groomed 5.6-kilometre out-and-back trail is an easy walk through the lush forest.
You’ll see Gold Creek meandering through the woods alongside the trail. You can’t help stopping to admire the sweeping mountains before you. Take a moment and let the kids skip a few stones across the cold creek waters.
When you finally reach the low, but powerful waterfall, you’ll feel the spray from the force of the water pounding over enormous boulders.
This stunning multi-tiered waterfall is located near Hayward Lake in Mission, B.C. The hike to the falls is a short and easy 2-kilometre trail there and back.
The optional Reservoir Trail provides an 8-kilometre detour along the west side of the lake. You can also leave your car on the opposite side of the lake and walk over the Ruskin Dam to the parking lot.
This spectacular waterfall has a couple of viewing platforms to admire the various tiers. The trails and viewing platforms make Steelhead Falls kid-friendly and an excellent option for families.
Those wanting to visit Cascade Falls can follow Highway 7 and turn at the Husky Gas Station onto Sylvester Road. You’ll then follow a lovely winding road for 14.7 kilometres and turn right on Ridgeview Road. There you’ll find an ample parking.
The short walk to the falls includes a suspension bridge crossing in front of the falls. Staircases lead up to a platform, but the huffing and puffing rewards you with one amazingly gorgeous view.
This tall, plunging cascade plummets vertically down the creek. The best time to visit this waterfall is April through October.
Bridal Veil Falls
This waterfall is aptly named for its wedding-veil likeness.
Located east of Chilliwack, Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is a scenic day-use area. The landscape within the park includes low-elevation valleys and lush, rounded mountains. Visitors can enjoy picnicking, hiking, and viewing the spectacular falls, which tumble 60-metres over a smooth rock face, creating a mesmerizing veil-like effect.
A single loop trail will take you up to a viewing platform near the base of the falls. The path may be difficult for strollers or wheelchairs, as quite a few roots stick out from the ground.
Kanaka Creek Cliff Falls
The unusual Cliff Falls of Kanaka Creek in Maple Ridge is one of a kind. The water drops over a strongly-scalloped vertical ledge into a pool below. The 20-metre waterfall is fed by Kanaka Creek originating in the nearby mountains.
Kanaka Creek Regional Park offers easy hiking trails from the picnic area near the falls to the Bell-Irving Hatchery. The area is an ideal location for families to spend a day outdoors during the summer months.
From the sports field, walk along the fence following the trail as it descends into the forest. Proceed straight through the 4-way trail intersection and continue over a wooden bridge at the bottom. The trail widens into the Cliff Falls picnic area providing picnic tables and a view of Falls to the right.
If you want to continue your hike, pass through the picnic area and cross another bridge providing views of the rapids below. Follow the gravel trail up a short hill until you reach a junction and go left along the Canyon Trail. The trail meanders through the forest with the soothing sound of Kanaka Creek below.
Rolley Lake and Falls Loop
This Provincial Park in Mission is less than an hour’s drive from Vancouver. The park provides a quick escape from urban life. It’s predominantly a flat wilderness area blanketed with tall, second-growth conifers. The small, warm-water lake offers swimming, fishing, and canoeing.
A 4.7-kilometre loop trail is generally considered a moderately challenging route, taking about 1 ½-hours to complete. The park is trendy for birding, hiking, and snowshoeing, so you’ll likely encounter other nature lovers while exploring.
The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime of the year.
Getting to Rolley Falls is more of a challenge. The trail to the minor upper falls is overgrown and muddy in areas with some fallen trees. Once past the bridge and the upper falls, the course goes downhill along the North side of the creek.
The trail here is steep and has rough terrain with some rocky switchbacks which could be challenging for kids, the elderly or anyone with mobility challenges. Once along the lower path, there are two platform areas where you can view the more significant and impressive lower falls.
Get out and explore, find your favorite among the waterfalls around Vancouver.