The Grouse Grind® is a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, commonly referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” This trail is very challenging. Keep in mind that there is a wide range of mountaintop trails that might better suit the average hiker. — Grouse Mountain Website
Up and up and up… climbing Grouse Grind is like doing squats for over an hour. It’s not for the weak of body and at some point, I looked up and it looked like there were dozens of people all crawling up the hill. For some parts, you need to use both legs and arms to keep moving upwards.
I don’t think I saw one unfit person climbing; when we first pulled into the parking lot I remarked on how uber-athletic everyone looked. No one commented because they all knew that you had to be super fit to make it to the top. And, once you commit to the climb, you have to go the whole way (going down is prohibited and dangerous).
The longest part feels like the first quarter… the fastest is the last. The hardest for me was between halfway and the third quarter because the steps were so high; I felt like a little kid trying to climb up very large stairs.
I somehow managed to make it to the top in roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes. Once at the top you can take the gondola down. The cost is $10 or free if you buy a season pass ($100-ish).
Here are some trail facts (from the Grouse Mountain website):
- Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
- Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
- Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
- Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
- Total Stairs: 2,830
- Statistics: Annually, over 100,000 people hike the trail.
- Average Time: On average it takes up to an hour and a half to complete the hike. For novice hikers, two hours is recommended.
- Participants: Hikers range in age from 7 to 90, with an equal male/female split.