I’ve explored Stanley Park twice during two separate trips to Vancouver, once on a trolley and once on a bike. My advice: bike it every time! There’s no other way to fully enjoy this park than to rent a bike. We rented from Spokes on Denman Street (though there are a bunch of other rental stores right next to each other on the same street). We considered walking it, but in retrospect, I can’t imagine how long that would’ve taken. Biking it at a leisurely pace (and keeping in mind that this was my first time on a bike in ages) took a little less than 2 hours; this included many photo op stops, of course.
The bike path starts with a beautiful view of downtown Vancouver. It’s a one way trail, which for beginner bikers is great; no on coming traffic to worry about. The route is scenic and for a good portion of it has two options depending on your biking skill and viewing preference: a seawall (easier) path and a forest (harder) path. If you continue along the path past the Stanley Park, you end up at English Bay & Kitsilano Beach. Though we visited both, it was on feet.
Along the path, there are many opportunities to take breaks. Whether you’re in the mood to admire the surrounding natural beauty, conduct photo sessions or enjoy some educational fun, Stanley Park has something to offer for all ages:
Be careful as you go around the seawall; there are some narrow paths and with bikes coming right behind you and the rock on one side, sea on the other, it can be a tricky business for a inexperienced biker. A few times, I banged right into the rock with the bike! And though I wasn’t physically hurt, I can’t say the same about my brand new watch (a birthday present from my brother). Please don’t wear expensive watches and such while biking!
Ladies, ask for a basket, makes life so much easier that way. I was able to keep my bag, jacket, (and if I were smart, then my watch as well) in the basket.
If you’re considering taking time to stop and see some of the park sights along the way, consider asking for a bike lock at the rental place. We were biking with limited time on hand, and decided to forgo the locks.
Vancouver is a bike friendly city, you’ll feel like a local if you rent one.