We’re finally at that time of the year when beginner, casual, and intermediate hikers come out of the woodwork and head for the woods to hit Greater Vancouver’s bounty of trails. But the month of April still has many asking whether or not it’s safe, viable, and even enjoyable to hike some of the more challenging local destinations, with Grouse Grind topping the list of uncertainty. Once again, Grindaholic is here as your guide to all you need to consider before making the trek.
5 Things You Need to Know Before Hiking the Grouse Grind in the Month of April
1. It is Open
There was a time (…last year) when those of us chomping at the bit to hike the Grouse Grind in the early spring would hit “refresh” on the Parks Board website every day, hoping for news that the Grind would open for the season. But now, thanks to some great dialogue between the Parks Board and invested parties (our own Gerry Rahn included) the concept of a “closed season” on the trail has been sidelined in a trial effort to see if hikers will obey weather warnings and exercise the necessary caution. Long story short, the Grouse Grind is open year round, and is simply closed on days where harsh weather and conditions are of concern. So yes, the Grouse Grind is open in April, but please do check the Parks Board website for daily updates.
2. It Gets Wet
While November is technically the wettest month for Greater Vancouver, April receives the most rain at this time of the year, all the way through until the arrival of autumn. That means there’s a good chance that you’ll be hiking in the rain (and some mud) when on the Grind this month. Be sure to follow the “best practices” for doing so. These include wearing proper footwear, dressing appropriately (more on this below), hiking well before dusk, and by all means not attempting to hike back down the Grind when it’s wet (or any time for that matter). View our complete guide to hiking the Grouse Grind in the rain.
3. Dress in Layers
North Vancouver weather is all over the place in April. On one day the temperatures can reach the late teens (Celsius), and in the next they are dipping irritatingly close to zero. Well, this flip flop on the thermometer is found each and every day on the Grouse Grind this month, with below 0ºC readings a very real possibility. That means you need to dress in layers and bring a pack that comfortably accommodates the stripping off (and putting back on) of these layers. Be sure to check the forecast for Grouse Mountain, and not North Vancouver, which can be VERY different that what is found on the Grind.
4. Moderate Crowd Levels
Since you’re interested in whether or not you can or should hike the Grouse Grind in April, you should know that many others are asking the same questions. Cloudy/rainy days won’t be all that busy, even on the weekends. But when the sun shines and the forecast is warm and clear you can expect to share the trail with others. This guide to navigating Grouse Grind crowds in the summer, although for the summer, will provide you with some insight as to when to expect crowds on warm April days.
5. Don’t Grind Solo
Given all of the scenarios noted above, we must conclude with a note for all beginner and even intermediate hikers – don’t hike the Grouse Grind alone in April. The weather and conditions remain quite questionable, and given that the late spring crowds have not yet arrived, you don’t want to get yourself in trouble up on the mountain without anyone around to assist in a timely manner. Either join a Grouse Grind hiking group, or consider booking a hiking tour (at a time/date that works for you) with Grindaholic.
See you on the mountain!