That place you always go back to.
A place where you can get to with your eyes closed. A place where you like to spend time. A place you choose for longer and shorter walks, meetings, talks or moments just for yourself. A place where you gain new energy. That's where you rest, take a breath. If you have such a place in your city, you know very well what I'm talking about.
If I had to choose one place where you can find me in Vancouver most often, my answer would be Stanley Park - a naturally preserved gem, park and forest, with about the same size as the city center.
Stanley Park is located on a peninsula at the northwestern edge of Vancouver (in fact, it's 15 minutes walk from the city center (Down Town)). It's a 405-hectare public park kept in a natural state. Picturesque hiking trails through temperate rainforests - this is what makes Stanley Park special.
Stanley Park from the outside means cedars and green ferns. On the trails, you can easily spot squirrels and beavers. Don't get surprised when seals pop up from the ocean water and look you in the eyes.
And even though the majority of Vancouver residents spend their leisure time in Stanley Park, I bet you will forget here about the hustling and bustling city center - even if the high-rising buildings in Downtown will be somewhere there hidden by the crowns of the green cedars.
There are plenty of ways to explore Stanley Park. Have a walk through the forest walking through the well-maintained trekking routes (including Lake Trial). Take a short break near one of the two lakes: Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake.
If you want to enjoy panoramic views of the bay, Lions Gate Bridge, North Vancouver, and West Vancouver, climb the hills in Stanley Park. Prospect Point Lookout offers one of the most spectacular views of the mountains (this is where I took all the photos for today's article).
One of my favorite routes through Stanley Park is the trail leading around the park along the Seawall in Vancouver. Walk just by the water, and enjoy the forest and high cliffs on the left.
While walking through the Seawall, you will pass by Brockton Point Lighthouse and Siwash Rock, a characteristic rock rising from the ocean.
You will also reach Third Beach, a small but cozy beach where you can observe one of the most spectacular sunsets you have ever seen.
The Seawall trail is available for pedestrians, bicycles, skateboards - but this is why all the bike traffic goes the same direction from the Devonian Harbor Park to English Bay.
For pedestrians, it's quite a long walk that may take from 1 to 2 hours, but the views you spot along the way compensate all the efforts.
Where do you spend quality time in nature in your city?