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Vancouver’s Stanley Park Seawall

Stanley Park Seawall

The Stanley Park Seawall is a paved walking and cycling waterfront pathway that goes all the way around the edge of Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Including sections that go inland along the edge of Lost Lagoon, the seawall is around 10 km in length. Views from every part of the route are amazing.


COVID-19 PARK UPDATES

First, in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, and in an effort to limit the number of people visiting the area, parking lots and select vehicle lanes throughout Stanley Park were closed for a period of time. In addition, cyclists were only permitted on roads as the seawall was reserved for pedestrians.

Fortunately, as of September 26th, the seawall has reopened to cyclists, and most of the parking lots and roads are back to normal. Roads that remain closed to vehicles though are those between North Lagoon Drive and Beach Avenue.

For more details about the changes above, see the City of Vancouver‘s website.


Walking and Cycling the Stanley Park Seawall

Vancouver is an exceptional city to live in and visit, and it has world-class areas to walk and admire the scenery. There are so many beautiful places to see, and none, arguably, as famous, free and stunning as Stanley Park. Whether you are on foot, on a bike or in a car, Stanley Park is a favourite place to explore.

Located on the edge of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park has a seawall that is close to a hundred years old and goes all the way along the park’s 300+ degrees of waterfront.

In this article we describe the seawall and some of the things you’ll see and experience along its route. There is also a video that shows what walking or cycling in the area is like on a sunny day in the middle of March.

To learn about the park in general, see our article about Stanley Park. To learn about the seawall and to see our video, continue reading.

Stanley Park Video

Below is a video that we filmed in the middle of March on a sunny day. It was warm in the sunshine in areas sheltered from the wind, with a temperature as high as about 10 degrees Celsius. It was cool, however, in the shade. In some areas on the cliffs at the north side of the park where the sun this time of year never shines, there was ice! No matter where you were though, everywhere you looked there was blue sky and beautiful views.

Take a look at the video to see what you can expect on a walk along the Stanley Park Seawall on a sunny day in early spring. After watching, read our written description below to learn about the route we took and what we saw.

A Description of Our Seawall Walk

Below is a written description of the walk we took in the above video. It explains where we started, where we turned and what we saw. If you’ve never been to Stanley Park before but plan to, or haven’t been for a very long time and want to be reminded of the route, this step-by-step description will be useful.

The walk in the above video begins by Third Beach, but it could have started anywhere. We left our car in the parking lot just north of the Teahouse Restaurant and headed down the stairs to the beach. It cost less than $6 to park for two hours.

Most pedestrians and all bicycles go along the seawall in a counter-clockwise direction. Bikes can only go in this direction for most of the way – that’s the rule! Pedestrians have a choice, but most still go in the one direction.

Stanley Park Seawall at Third Beach
The Seawall at Third Beach

From Third Beach, our walk headed south along the seawall to Second Beach, past the outdoor swimming pool (which was closed for the season and not seen in the video), then through Ceperley Park at Second Beach towards Lost Lagoon. For those that don’t know, Ceperley Park is where Free Outdoor Movies take place in the summer, and Lost Lagoon is a 40+ acre man-made lake at the southern edge of Stanley Park.

The seawall at Second Beach continues south. Had we continued along it, instead of turning east and heading towards Lost Lagoon, we would have remained in the park for a bit, but then eventually ended up at English Bay and then False Creek. By cutting across the park, and walking along the edge of Lost Lagoon, we were able instead to get to the Coal Harbour side of Stanley Park and then continue along the seawall all the way back to Third Beach.

In the video the walk goes along the southern side of Lost Lagoon on the southern edge of Stanley Park. There is a path along the north side of the lagoon too. We’ll go that way another time. Both routes are nice, but the southern route is the main one and paved all the way.

At the end of Lost Lagoon the path meets back up with the seawall again where Georgia Street enters Stanley Park. From there the route took us past the Vancouver Rowing Club building and views of Coal Harbour and nearby downtown Vancouver across the water.

Instead of going all the way around the seawall (which would have added a couple of kilometres to our trip) we headed north at the Stanley Park Information Booth and cut through the middle of the park on the trail that passes the Japanese-Canadian War Memorial on its way to Lumberman’s Arch.

By not continuing all the way along the seawall we missed passing Stanley Park’s totem poles, more views of downtown Vancouver, and the Brockton Point Lighthouse. If we had had more time and energy, we would have gone the whole way around.

So, instead of continuing all the way along, we headed north and cut across the middle of the park. Had we left the path we took and gone just a short ways east we would have reached the entrance to the Vancouver Aquarium. Instead, along our way through the middle of the park, we veered slightly to the left a bit and passed the Stanley Park Pavilion before continuing on our way to Lumberman’s Arch and the shores of Burrard Inlet.

From Lumberman’s Arch and the children’s water park there (which was still obviously closed for the season), we reconnected with the seawall and headed west. From there the route goes under the Lions Gate Bridge, past Siwash Rock and back to Third Beach where we had started and left our car. The views of Burrard Inlet, the North Shore Mountains and both North Vancouver and West Vancouver across the water from this part of the park are stunning!

In total, the route we took around Stanley Park in the video was about 7.7 kilometres in length and lasted for just under two hours. It was fun and great exercise. We are so lucky to live in Vancouver and have such a wonderful world-class place to walk, enjoy fresh air, and admire the views!

If you ever get the chance and it’s a sunny day, this is a walk you should definitely do. As you’ll see in the video, the Stanley Park Seawall is an incredible place to go for a walk! And it’s free to do!

Seawall Along Stanley Park's West Shore
Seawall, West Vancouver & North Shore Mountains

Other Information

To learn more about Vancouver’s world-famous urban playground see our article about Stanley Park.

To learn more about the city where the park is located, click City of Vancouver.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

 

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