The Grouse Grind is more of a rite of passage than an enjoyable hike. While it does wind through forest and coastal trail it is far from one of the best trails in an area filled with incredible hikes. Much of this trail has been built up with wooden steps and it’s very rare to not pass and be passed by hordes of locals and tourists huffing up the hill.
However what it lacks in classic trail ambiance it makes up for with other unique perks. The primary reason for doing the grind is to improve your fitness in a natural setting, but another main reason is to test yourself against others. Knowing your grind time is a measurement many Vancouver locals either pride themselves on or try to avoid mentioning. There is no other trail in BC with such a focus on time. The fine folks at Grouse Mountain provide a timer for those locals so inclined to test their grinding skills but most just hit the stopwatch and go. The fastest time up the grind is just over 25 minutes. An average time up the grind for someone of good fitness would be about an hour.
Putting aside the time posturing the grind does also offer another key attribute. Once you arrive at the base of Grouse Mountain overpriced cold beer and nachos await. It’s a treat that is very well deserved. Plus, you get to save your knees and relax on the way back down with an enjoyable tram ride and views over the same coastal forest you just slogged up.
Obviously I’m not the words biggest fan of the Grouse Grind, but I do admit I’ll hike it every so often and if I beat my best time I’m also the guy sitting there with a smile on the patio powering down a couple beers