Close to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, Whytecliff Park is one of Metro Vancouver’s most beautiful parks, with a rugged shoreline and amazing views.
FACILITIES CLOSED DUE TO VIRUS OUTBREAK
As of late March, 2020, Whytecliff Park remained open to the public, but its parking lots, tennis courts and children’s play areas were closed. This had been done to prevent excessive numbers of people from visiting the park at a time when residents were advised to stay home and away from other people to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. By mid-May the tennis courts and parking lots had reopened, but not yet the kids’ play structures.
To learn more about the facility closures at this park and other places within the municipality, see the District of West Vancouver‘s website.
For information about how the pandemic is impacting other places within the Lower Mainland, see our article about COVID-19 and Vancouver Venue Closures.
Whytecliff Park has short walking trails, a beautiful beach, an island to explore (depending on the tide), and exceptional scuba diving in the area. The beach is mostly rocky, but there is a sandy patch.
Whytecliff Park can be a great place to spend the day, or the better part of the morning or afternoon (or an evening when days are long). Take good walking shoes, and climb the island very carefully. From the island you can admire one of the Lower Mainland’s most spectacular 360-degree natural views.
Dogs are permitted in most areas on a leash, except not on the beach.
Directions to Whytecliff Park
Whytecliff Park is located just a couple of kilometres from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The physical address for the park is 7102 Marine Drive.
Heading along the Trans-Canada Highway towards Whistler from West Vancouver, take the #2 exit – the one right after the exit to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. From there, get onto Marine Drive and keep going.
The main very large island you see across the water from Whytecliff Park is Bowen Island.
Whytecliff Park Amenities
At the park you can expect to find a small number of short walking trails, giant rocks and cliffs to climb, a beautiful pebbly beach and an island which at low tide is connected to the rest of the park on dry land. The island especially is a fun place to explore and admire the views from.
In addition to its natural landmarks, Whytecliff Park also has a large open field, a small children’s playground with swings, tennis courts, public restrooms, changing rooms and a covered picnic shelter. In the summer, on busy days, there is also a small canteen. In total, the park is close to 40 acres in size.
Whytecliff park is a popular venue for short hikes, exploring the rocks, picnics and hanging out at the beach. It’s also a popular year-round destination for scuba diving, even in winter! The water there is a designated Saltwater Marine Protected Area and it’s home to a wide range of sea life including crabs, rockfish, lingcod, sea anemones, seals, starfish and more.
Advice and Suggestions
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Whytecliff Park.
TIP #1: If you want to get out and explore the island, but don’t want to swim to get there, try to go when the tide is low. At high tide it’s an island. At low tide though, it’s connected to the mainland. To find out where the tide will be at various times, check out Tide-Forecast.com.
TIP #2: If climbing the island, or any of the other rocky cliffs in the park, go carefully and keep a close eye on young children. Also, be especially careful in cold winter weather and after it has been raining. The rocks can get slippery!
TIP #3: Scuba diving conditions around the park are apparently exceptional and world-class! Snorkeling can be fun too!
TIP #4: There is a fairly large parking lot at the park, but it does fill up on weekends with good weather, especially in the summer. Past the entrance to the park, however, just a little further up the road, there is overflow parking on your right.
TIP #5: From the rocks on the northern tip of the park you can catch a glimpse of the North Shore Mountains and the occasional BC Ferry boat heading to and from Horseshoe Bay.
TIP #6: If you’re catching a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo or Bowen Island, and you have tons of time to kill and no risk of missing your boat or it filling up before you get there, Whytecliff Park is a great place for a short visit. If your ferry departs in less than an hour though, the better place to explore is Horseshoe Bay Village.
TIP #7: Don’t forget to take your camera! With its rocky cliffs and ocean views, the area is a great place for photos.
For more information about the park, see the District of West Vancouver‘s website.
Other North Shore parks you might enjoy include the following:
- Ambleside – a park with a paved walking path, dog-friendly areas and a long sandy beach in West Vancouver.
- Baden Powell Trail – a 40-kilometre network of hiking trails going from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove through the forests and mountains.
- Capilano River Park – a park where you’ll find forested trails, beautiful views, bridges over the water, the Cleveland Dam and the Capilano River Hatchery.
- Cates Park – a park with beaches, a boat launch, dock, walking trails and a giant children’s playground.
- Lighthouse Park – a waterfront park that’s similar to Whytecliff park and just a short drive away.
- Lynn Canyon Park – a world-famous park in North Vancouver with lots of steps to climb, trails to explore and a suspension bridge that’s free to cross.
- Lynn Headwaters Park – a regional park with trails that are suitable for both people wanting a serious hike and those just wanting a stroll.
- Maplewood Conservation Area – a waterfront park with level trails and bird-watching opportunities in North Vancouver.
- Rice Lake – a small lake with walking trails, a dock and fish to catch.
- Seymour Demonstration Forest – a park with paved trails for cycling through the forest.
- Whyte Lake Park – a hiking trail and large forested park in West Vancouver.