Throwback Thursdays: Local Hill Run Edition

Sometimes when I drive home from the Grouse Grind, I pass Cleveland Dam and fondly miss one of my favourite, local, (relatively) easy hill runs. So for those of you who are able bodied enough to run, live in the Vancouver area, and looking for a very adaptable hill run, here’s one of my faves.


Starting Point: Behind Park Royal, West Vancouver

Turnaround Point: Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver

Distance: As shown, the return distance is 11.73 km, making it an easy short run.  But it can easily be extended by starting at the western edge of Ambleside Park, adding an additional 3 km or by running past Cleveland Dam to the base of Grouse Mountain for an additional 138 m of elevation gain and an additional 4 km of distance.  You can also do some repeats within the cap canyon trail itself for extra elevation and distance.  See? Flexible!

Elevation Profile (basic route):




Why I recommend it:  If you’re just starting to run hills for training, this is a great, gentle grade with only a couple short sections that would classify as moderate grade. In other words, you won’t feel like you want to die very often. This, of course, is all relative to your fitness level.  Other plusses:

  • Once you get into the forest behind Capilano Suspension Bridge, you’ll enjoy the benefits of the tree canopy, making even a hot day feel cool.
  • While popular, it’s not uber popular so you won’t feel like you’re dodging people right, left and centre.
  • The trail isn’t technical so even the most clumsy (i.e. me) can safely navigate the terrain.
  • As mentioned above, it’s highly customizable to add (or subtract, for that matter) distance and elevation gain.
  • There’s both water and washrooms at Cleveland Dam, excellent for days you drink a litre of water before starting your run.
  • The view at the top is pretty damn nice
Evidence of aforementioned view.

So there you go, a ready-made running route for your hill training needs. Please enjoy it for me as I fear it will be quite some time before I make it out there.


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