Vancouver Off-Roading at its best

Vancouver Off-Road Trails

Vancouver sits in the province of British Columbia. This province is famed for its jaw-dropping natural beauty and extensive wild spaces. The opportunity for off-roading here is immense and the area around Vancouver is packed with trails suited for overlanding. In this article, we will be looking at the best off-road trails in British Columbia and rating their difficulty.

All of these trails are within driving distance of Vancouver with the furthest being 7 hours and 30 minutes from the city. Most of the trails in this article are reachable with less than 2 hours of driving from Vancouver city center with the exception of a few that are more of a road trip away. The ones that are a little further from the city made it on this list because they are one-of-a-kind experiences that are well worth the extra mileage. Enjoy the read!


Easy Trails


Chute Lake Trail

Distance from Vancouver: 416km (258 miles) 4h 19m

Length of Trail: 39km (24 miles)

Time Needed: 2 hours +



The Chute Lake Trail is an off-road route just north of Penticton (around 400km from Vancouver). This is a great trail for beginners and experienced off-roaders alike and it can be enjoyed in most 4x4 vehicles and even lighter SUVs. The trail extends over 39 kilometers and there is a plethora of side trails and small excursions to explore. It can be completed in an hour or two but there is plenty to explore and enjoy here so it is worth setting a few more hours aside to get the most out of the area.


Stacy Lake

Distance from Vancouver: 84km (52 miles) 1h 15m

Length of Trail: 4.4km (2.7 miles)

Time Needed: 1 hour +



Stacy Lake is a short trail that is easily accessible and achievable in all but the softest of off-roaders. This is a great trail for the beginner or when you first purchase or rent a 4x4 to explore BC. This 4.4-kilometer trail is the perfect introduction to off-roading in British Columbia and although it is not the longest trail on our list it is packed with stunning scenery. It climbs 940 feet into the hills surrounding the lake and is perfect for people of all skill levels.


Quesnel Canyon Crawl

Distance from Vancouver: 550km (341 miles) 6h 30m

Length of Trail: 57km (35 miles)

Time Needed: 1 day +



The Quesnel Canyon Crawl is a 57-kilometer mining track that stretches high into the mountains of British Columbia. This is a relatively easy trail that is a bit more challenging than the other two in our “easy trails” section, featuring some sections of trickier terrain and plenty of viewpoints. This is a great trail for the beginner that has recently stepped into the world of overlanding and wants to spend a long day or two in the Canadian wilderness without stepping out of their depth. Although this one is a long drive from Vancouver at 550km away, it is well worth the trip!


Moderate Trails


Kenyon Lake

Distance from Vancouver: 95km (59 miles) 1h 30m

Length of Trail: 17km (10.5 miles)

Time Needed: 4 hours +



The Kenyon Lake Trail is located north of Mission in the Miracle Valley which is only a short hour and a half drive from Vancouver. This is a fairly easy trail that provides the intermediate overlander with heaps of challenging terrain that is enjoyable to drive without being too easy or hard going, you could say it is the “goldilocks” of BC trails. This is a 17km route that brings mud, ruts, and logs to tackle over 4 or so hours. Although it is not a huge trail, there is camping available if you desire to explore the beautiful area more in-depth.


Chipmunk Creek to Mt. Cheam Trailhead

Distance from Vancouver: 133km (83 miles) 1h 55m

Length of Trail: 18km (11 miles)

Time Needed: 4 hours +



Chipmunk Creek to Mt. Cheam is an out-and-back trail that carves through the Fraser Valley and along the Chilliwack River. There is plenty to see and do on this trail and some opportunities for overnight wild camping. The trail is a forest service road that is open to hikers, horse riders, and off-roaders so make sure to be cautious of other road users that may be enjoying the backcountry in a different way. This one is only accessible from May to October so be sure to check that it is open before taking the almost 2-hour drive from Vancouver.


Alberni Valley Lookout Trail

Distance from Vancouver: 155km (96 miles) 3h 40m

Length of Trail: 4km (2.5 miles)

Time Needed: 1 hour +



The Alberni Valley Lookout is located on Vancouver Island and is around 150 kilometers from Vancouver city center. This is a short out-and-back trail that only extends for 4 kilometers but don’t let its short length fool you, there is plenty of challenging terrain to sink your teeth into here! Much the same as the last trail, it is open to horse riders, hikers, and cyclists so be cautious of other traffic when you are tackling this route. At the end of the trail sits a stunning cave with elevated views of Port Alberni to the western side.


Cheakamus Lake Trail

Distance from Vancouver: 116km (72 miles) 1h 30m

Length of Trail: 14km (9 miles)

Time Needed: 2 hours +



The Cheakamus Lake Trail is located just north of Squamish around an hour and a half from Vancouver. Again, this is a multi-use trail and is open to all traffic so be cautious when overlanding here. There are plenty of campsites along this route and although it is relatively short at 14 kilometers, you could easily spend a weekend exploring nature and all of its off-roading opportunities. There is a modest elevation on this trail (312 feet). It winds through the ancient Whistler Interpretive Forest and along the bankside of Cheakamus Lake. Overall, this one is a moderate trail with some challenging sections and jaw-dropping scenery.


The Whipsaw Trail

Distance from Vancouver: 288 (179 miles) 3h 25m

Length of Trail: 80km (50 miles)

Time Needed: 1 day +



The Whipsaw Trail is famous among the overlanding community for its diverse terrain and challenging routes. This is an award-winning trail that has been granted BF Goodrich’s “outstanding Trails” award (one of only two Canadian trails to get this). It is relatively long at 80 kilometers, and you will need to set some time aside to fully enjoy it. Start to finish, it should take you around 12 hours of solid driving but although it can be completed in a long day it is best to take it easy and do it over a weekend or more.

There are plenty of recreational activities available at intervals along this trail such as canoeing, hiking, and climbing with opportunities for overland camping as well. It does take a while to get to this trail from Vancouver, but the 3-and-a-half-hour drive is well worth the reward. If you are looking for a challenging trail that will test your ability while not pushing you to your limits, then this is the one for you.


Difficult Trails


North Copper Logging Road

Distance from Vancouver: 55km (34 miles) 1h 10m

Length of Trail: 43km (28 miles)

Time Needed: 1 day +



The North Copper Logging Road is an extremely difficult trail located near Thornhill BC. This trail is not for the faint-hearted, but for the experienced off-roader it is a paradise. This 43-kilometer trail has everything you would expect from an old mining trail in the wilderness of British Columbia such as mountain views, stream crossings, thick forest, and rough terrain. It is an out and back route that leads to an old mine and there are plenty of smaller trails leading off to other points of interest. This one is definitely for the professional off-roader that has plenty of experience as it is full of fallen boulders, washed-out sections, and steep inclines and descents.


The Eagle Run

Distance from Vancouver: 30km (19 miles) 0h 31m

Length of Trail: 16km (10 miles)

Time Needed: 5 hours +



The Eagle Run trail is just a short drive from central Vancouver in Coquitlam. This is one of the easier routes to get to from the city, but it certainly is not one of the easier routes on our list. If you are looking for a quick escape from urban life and know how to handle a demanding off-road trail, then the Eagle Run is a great choice for you. Although this trail is short in length it does take some time to tackle its stages, so to fully enjoy this one I would set 5 or 6 hours aside.


Alexander MacKenzie Heritage Trail

Distance from Vancouver: 650km (403 miles) 7h 30m

Length of Trail: 450km (280 miles)

Time Needed: 6 days +



The Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail is a historic route that runs through the heart of British Columbia. It takes its name from the explorer Alexander Mackenzie who traveled across the country from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean at the end of the 18th century. It is a mighty trail that stretches 450km through rivers and creeks, under towering pines, over mountain terrain, and through luscious green valleys. Getting to the head of this trail is a mission in itself when you are coming from the Vancouver area but it is well worth the journey and that is why it made it on to the list.

If you are going to do the whole trail, then you will need to make an overland adventure out of it and set aside at least 6 days to tackle the route and explore the area. Most of the trail is rather remote and desolate so you will have to pack up plenty of provisions and live self-sufficiently for a number of days. If you are looking to head out for just one or two days, you will be happy to know that there are numerous routes on the trail for day trips and weekends. Some of the trail is easy and some of it more difficult so make sure the vehicle you are using is up to the task and do plenty of research beforehand.