I thought I knew the place. I’ve been to Whytecliff Park more times than I can count. I’ve clambered over the cliffs and discovered all the secret benches, nooks and crannies. I’ve gone there in every season and every weather condition. I was very sure I knew its ins and outs.
And I was very wrong.
When I wrote about it a few weeks ago, I did two things that caused me to question whether I really knew the park at all: first, I googled its size (a surprising 38 acres), and second, I embedded a map to help you get there – and I was shocked to find the park extended much further on the eastern side of the road. If there were trails, I needed to find them!
Driving up to the park, I’ve nearly always ignored the overflow parking sign. I did follow it once but never on foot so I missed the obvious: there is a trail leading in the opposite direction of the playground, cliffs, beach, islet and viewpoint everyone always goes to – including me.
What I found as I followed the path is the same kind of crisscrossing pattern of narrow trails that the popular part of Whytecliff Park has. Unlike that west section, the east side all heads uphill, away from the water. There are several mossy rock clearings with a couple of those secret benches you find sprinkled among the oceanside cliffs.
Unlike the views in the western part, these are mostly obstructed by the trees. Still, you can catch glimpses of everything from the tip of Point Grey to Bowen Island and up Howe Sound.
Admittedly, it’s still not a big place. It’s only a blip compared to Stanley Park. And this new (to me) section is not as picturesque as the windswept vistas you get on the popular side. There’s something about it, though, that made feel like a kid again.
It’s also nice to know that on the days when I need a break by the ocean, I can get just a little bit winded as well. It took me about 45 minutes of exploring to follow along nearly every path, and it’s not hugely strenuous. And then I can always go back to the oceanside cliffs to relax.
If you’re looking for quiet and solitude (I encountered no one on a sunny Saturday afternoon, while the main park was busy), it’s a great little spot to chill at.
IF YOU GO:
- Difficulty: Easy.
- Public Transit: Sort of. The #250 bus will take you to within a half hour walk of the park.
- Parking: Yes
- Dog friendly: Yes, on leash.