Are you searching for the best sunset spots in Vancouver? How about the best low-key sunset spots in Vancouver? Here is a local guide to the 8 best sunset spots in Vancouver away from the crowds.
Sunset in Vancouver
Vancouverites are mad about chasing sunsets. Crowds of people swarm to the beaches for a sunset picnic every night through the summer. Who can blame them when they only see the sun for two months of the year? The city of Vancouver is situated on the west coast of Canada; This means that it is possible to see the sunset all year round. However, the gloomy and rain-filled winters often mean never seeing the Vancouver Sun!
What time is sunset in Vancouver?
Due to Vancouver's daylight savings and the dramatic change in seasons, the sunset in Vancouver can greatly vary depending on the time of year. During the winter months, the sun sets as early as 4 PM. In the summer months, it can set as late as 10 PM. Daylight savings occur in spring and fall every year, changing all clocks forward by an hour in spring, and backward by an hour in fall.
Where to watch the sunset in Vancouver?
Vancouver has so many options for sunset spots ranging from beaches to mountains and even skyscrapers. I have compiled a list of the 8 best sunset spots in Vancouver. My list does not include anywhere in the city such as
1. Cypress Mountain
Cypress Mountain is on the North Shore of Vancouver, a short drive from the city. The Mountain can be accessed by a vehicle or by hiking. There are three awesome spots to watch the sun go down from the mountain. The first is the Cypress Lookout on the way up the mountain. You can hike a short distance to the Cypress Lookout from Kadlec Court in North Vancouver. This spot is beautiful to overlook the city and the Lions Gate Bridge. However, this is one of the busier stops for sunset chasers.
The next sunset spot from Cypress is on the ski hill its self. In the summer you can hike the mountain free as it is a national park. In winter you can strap on your snow gear and get an evening lift pass at a discounted rate. The best lifts to ride during sunset are the Lions Express and all the way up to the top of the Peak Chair. If you take a left as you get off the peak chair you can walk out to the edge of the slope and watch the sunset over the howe sound.
Sunset from Cypress Mountain
Sunset from Vancouver's slopes
2. Horseshoe Bay sunset spots
Horseshoe Bay is the home of the West Vancouver ferry terminal. You can sit on the waterfront alongside the ferry terminal, or you can adventure above it to a secret spot. There's a hidden platform located above Horseshoe Bay along the old highway.
To get there you have to park your car in the second parking lot along the highway and walk. The platform is located between the second and third parking. You need to jump over the barrier and scramble up a hill to find the platform and get the spectacular views. This is one of the best spots in Vancouver to get your next Instagram worthy shot, so pack your best smile!
Sunset over the Ferry Terminal
Horseshoe Bay sunset platform
3. Ambleside Park sunset spots
Ambleside beach is also located on Vancouver's North Shore. This beach is much less busy than the downtown beaches such as English Bay and Sunset Beach. Ambleside has the added bonus of being a dog-friendly beach! Golden retrievers playing in the golden hour, life simply cannot get better than that. Ambleside also has beach volleyball courts, bring your friends for some sunset volleyball. On top of that, you might be lucky enough to spot some of Vancouver's wildlife, including seals and otters.
Ambleside is a very family friendly beach with picnic tables at the nearby parks and a kids playground. Families with young kids can head towards John Lawson Park to find the playground. There is also a skate park and basketball court found just behind the main strip of the beach.
Sunset from Ambleside Pier
Sunset from Ambleside Beach
4. The Bowen Lookout
This stop is also located up Cypress Mountain. Although the lookout is not in the ski area, the hike does start there. This hike takes an average of 45 minutes. To get to the Bowen Lookout, you need to walk past the Cypress Mountain Lodge towards the chairlifts. You will find a trailhead map and the start of the trail there. The lookout is on the St Marks Summitt trail. St Marks is also a spectacular lookout, but it takes over 4 hours.
The Bowen Lookout can be done in summer with hiking boots and in winter with snowshoes. Do not attempt to hike this trail in winter without snowshoes. Your feet will sink with every step and you'll come out with frozen feet and no sunset views. I'm going to warn you in advance, this is a mountain top hike, not a flat walk. You will need to climb several switchbacks and you will be out of breath when you reach the Bowen Lookout. Cypress Mountain is also home to black bears in the summertime, make sure to pack bear spray and be bear aware.
Sunset from Bowen Lookout
5. Lighthouse Park sunset spots
Lighthouse Park has many beautiful trails to explore. The park is dog-friendly and an off-leash area. That being said, some Vancouverites treat their cats like dogs, so be aware that you might run into leashed pets other than dogs. While you can watch the sunset from many places in Lighthouse, including the beach with the actual lighthouse, Juniper Point is the most spectacular. Juniper Point also has a cliff jumping area for the adventurous sunset chasers. This area is much less busy than the rest of the park.
To get to Juniper Point, you do not follow the main gravel road down to the lighthouse. There is a smaller trailhead in the car park. You follow the Juniper Loop all the way to the cliff. This is the ideal spot for a sunset picnic.
Lighthouse Park Sunset
6. Lonsdale Quay sunset spots
This is the perfect spot to stop for sunset if you are on your way back to downtown Vancouver. Lonsdale Quay is the terminal for the sea bus, linking you to downtown Vancouver.
There are two spectacular ways to enjoy the sunset from the Quay. The first is to climb the spiral stairs up to the top of the red "Q" tower. From here you can see stunning views of the sun setting over the Burrard Inlet and Downtown Vancouver.
The second way is to hop on the sea bus exactly as the sun is going down. You can admire the colors lighting up North Vancouver and the mountains on one side, and downtown skyscrapers reflecting the suns colors on the other.
7. Wreck Beach
Wreck Beach is located right next to the University of British Columbia, making it a popular student destination and bonfire beach. Watching the sunset at low tide allows for photographic reflections in the tidal area. The beach is located at the base of a cliff on the western tip of Vancouver.
Getting to Wreck Beach is very simple. Except that you have to climb 500 steps down to access the beach. You have to work for this sunset. Going down is the easy part too. All those stairs are well worth the sunset from this beach. There are logs to sit on and you can often join in on other bonfires if there are any. I warn you that Wreck Beach is a nude beach. If you plan to avoid the nudity, go when it's too cold to be running around clothless.
8. Lions Bay
In this article, the best comes last. Although Lions Bay is not exactly in Vancouver, it is a 25-minute drive North, it is still by far the most beautiful and secluded. Lions Bay is not an easy spot to find, you often need someone to show you before you can find it yourself. It is a popular cliff jumping spot in summer with various heights of cliffs and two rope swings. If you were planning to watch the sunset here, arrive a few hours early just to enjoy the sun and the jumping.
To get to Lions Bay you will need a vehicle. From Vancouver, you will head north on the road towards Whistler. The exit for this spot is Kelvin Grove Way. Take that and start to wind your way down the road to a parking lot on your left. Park here and walk down to the train tracks. You need to take a left to walk along the train tracks and walk for about 10 minutes until you see a little path up a hill on your right-hand side. Follow that path up to a viewpoint and then continue down the other side. This is where you will find the cliff jumping spot.
Another option is to park in the parking lot and wait for a cliff jumper or group of friends to show up. You can follow them along the train tracks to the jump spot or ask them the directions.
Lions Bay Sunset
Vancouver has beautiful sunsets year round. There are many more beaches and hidden locations to explore in Vancouver on top of these 8 best spots. Everyone has their own favorite spots and hidden places to go to. A great app to use for finding new viewpoints and trails is Vancouver Trails. Happy sunset chasing!