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THE BEST SWIMMING HOLES NEAR VANCOUVER

10 PLACES

UPDATED AUG 18, 2020

Nothing beats a refreshing dip on a summer day. And whether you want to tube with friends downriver or set out to find those hidden-away hot springs — we've got the deets on all the best BC swimming holes.

author

CAMILLA SAMPSON

FITT VANCOUVER CONTRIBUTOR

Round up the crew, grab your floaties, and hit up Alouette River in Maple Ridge. Be cautious of the current, but for the most part, you’ll enjoy a true “lazy river” experience as you float down 11km of scenic shoreline. Your trip ends at the tranquil Davidson’s Pool, a tucked away escape perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

What’s worth a 45-minute boat ride, a 22km bike ride, and a short steep hike? Pitt River hot springs. After your trek, sit back in one of the two small pools carved into the rocks and soak your sore muscles in the geothermally heated, turqouise waters.

There are so many awesome outdoor destinations in BC, but overlook this local favourite. Head out to Coquitlam by car or SkyTrain, relax on the sands of White Pine Beach, and jump off the dock into surprisingly warm waters. Oh, and stop by Port Moody on the way for baked goods and brews to-go.

Cypress Mountain's snow buffs are known for for mid-week, post-work shred sessions in winter. And come summer, you won't to find a trail that isn’t busy. But it's worth braving the crowds for a swim in the pristine, mirror-like waters of Cypress Provincial Park's Cabin Lake. Even better, the hike features views of Howe Sound, the Lions, and the Sunshine Coast.

No swimming hole bucket list is complete without Norval Falls. The pool itself is small, but its unique, emerald green waters and rocky shores make for a picturesque setting. And even on the hottest summer day, the water is usually freezing. You'll have to hike a fairly long trail through Lynn Valley to get there, so pack snacks, plenty of water, and wear comfortable shoes.

One of the best parts about Lynn Canyon Park is 30 Foot Pool, a secluded swimming spot with icy, crystal-clear waters and towering canyon walls. To get there, hop on a bus from Downtown Vancouver, cross the suspension bridge at the park’s entrance, and head north at the first left turn, choosing the trail that follows the rushing river. On an especially hot day, you can just follow the hikers with beach towels.

If you’re sticking around Lynn Canyon, follow the trail downstream after the suspension bridge and you’ll come across Twin Falls. It’s a popular viewpoint for photographs but also an opportunity to bathe beneath a waterfall in jade waters. Be wary of rocks and be ready for a quick dip in chilly water, then hang out amongst the forest’s canopy that feels a world away from the city. For the adventurer in you, there’s a few other sneaky spots for swimming in the park if you want to avoid the crowds.

Not for the faint of heart, head to Granny’s Cove in Capilano Canyon to give cliff jumping a go. There are multiple areas to choose from, and it’s a safer option than some of the other North Shore jump spots. And bring your favourite fluffy towel to wrap up in afterwards, as the cool waters are enough to get your teeth chattering.

Mystery Lake is super popular. So while it doesn’t quite live up to its mysterious name, it's still a gem worth visiting, particularly if you're down for a solid hike. Take in the views as you hit the short trail in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. And pack a picnic, towel, and a good book to make the most of a relaxing afternoon at this alpine lake.

This is more of a day trip. And we recommend an adventure up the Sea-to-Sky Highway beside sweeping vistas of the ocean, islands, and Sunshine Coast to reach the ‘Outdoor Capital of Canada’: Squamish. Here, you’ll find Brohm Lake, the perfect spot to sunbake on hot rocks and give multiple rope swings a go. Hit the Tantalus View Trail first, Alice & Brohm ice cream after, adnd get here early — the parking lot gets packed in the summer months.

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