By far, Vancouver is my favorite city in the Pacific Northwest. Sitting on the English Bay, with the Coastal Range framing its views, the city feels very west coast with a dose of a New York City vibe. Every time I am there I am struck by the low-key vibe of the city. It is really a great place to get lost in and explore.
I’ve been to the city a couple of times, but have not really explored the recreating options at all. Everyone raves about Stanley Park but I have never taken the time to check it out. Recently, we were in Vancouver for the Radiohead show at the University of British Columbia (an awesome campus and a great show) and managed to score a great hotel in downtown Vancouver, close to the park. For some reason I woke up really early, hungover, and decided that the best way to exorcise my body of the booze and late night McDonald’s was a run. After the first awful 20 minutes, I found myself in Stanley Park. There are very few runs I have done that I would describe as jaw-dropping. My run through Stanley Park definitely met that description (and not because I might have still been drunk).
The park has a paved loop that runs along the entire perimeter of the park, following along the seawall that protects the park from the waters of the bay. The path runs 5.5 miles from start to finish, remaining mostly flat the entire way around. The most striking part of the run was when I reached the north part of the peninsula, where the island turned from forest to immense granite cliffs. At this point I was sober enough to actually start enjoying the truly incredible view.