Field Trip Schedules:
General InformationA variety of field trips are offered almost every weekend throughout the year and some on weekdays.
Non-members are welcome to join field trips as a way to review the activities of the Society but are asked to limit their participation to a maximum of three events.
Individuals planning to participate in a field trip are encouraged to contact the trip leader in advance so the leader knows who is planning to come. Some trips require pre-registration with the trip leader. Please do not call trip leaders after 9 pm.
Please note that:
An adult must accompany any children under 15 on every field trip.
On trips to the United States, a valid passport or enhanced drivers licence is required. Keep your passport with you in the car. It is advisable to have additional medical insurance as the BC Medical Plan covers only a small portion of any medical costs in the US. For information on food products you can bring into the U.S., see this link.
Our liability insurance coverage only applies to members in good standing.
All trips can involve hazards and risk of injury. Those who participate do so at their own risk. Each individual is responsible for his or her own health and safety.
Participants will be required to sign a “Release of Liability” form at the start of all field trips. A PDF copy of this form is available. It is recommended that members read this form before the day of the trip to save time at the start of the field trip. On day trips, the form is completed at the beginning of the trip; on overnight trips and backpacking trips, the participant completes the form in advance to give to the trip leader.
Nature Vancouver uses a field trip classification system by rating the level of difficulty and adding an estimate of the time to be spent on the trail. The trip leader is responsible for deciding on the appropriate classification in conjunction with the Field Trip Coordinator.
The difficulty rating system is as follows:
A. Easy: easy path or road with minimal elevation change and minimal hazards.
B. Moderate: trail with possible rocks, roots or other hazards. Moderate grade, occasional steep but short sections. Up to 100m elevation change.
C. Strenuous: moderately steep gradient. 100 m to 500 m elevation change.
D. Very strenuous: constant steep gradient. 500 m to 1,000 m elevation change.
The expected duration of the field trip is added to the letter category to obtain a combined letter/figure rating. Example: A C6 hike will be a C hike, as described above, with an estimated time on the trail of 6 hours.
The estimated time spent during a field trip does not include driving or other travel times.
Please note that that these ratings are based on good weather and trail conditions. Wind, rain, snow, ice and deadfall on trails can make a trail much more difficult than it would normally be in good conditions.
Please consider your own abilities and experience, especially with more strenuous hikes. Recall the most difficult hike you've done in the past year or two and compare it to the hike you're considering. If in doubt, check with the trip leader before committing yourself to the trip.
We are a naturalist club and not just a hiking group; if you want a fast hike to a destination, you may want to go with someone else. However, on many hikes we do have a goal in mind, and especially on hikes with significant distance and elevation gain there is often a need to move at a steady pace so we can complete the trip in reasonable time.
Consider the weather in the trip location as it is often very different from home, and elevation and geography will play a role in the weather and temperature. Bring appropriate clothing and footwear. Remember that it may be hot and sunny at home, but cold and wet on the trip no matter what the time of year.
Ensure your clothing consists of fabric suitable for the field trip, especially if you are going on a long day hike or a multi-day trip. Jeans and cotton clothing may be alright for easy walks, but they are not suitable for hiking, especially in cold, damp or wet conditions. Remember that layered clothing works better than one large bulky item.
Recommended items to bring:
For long day hikes and backpacking trips also bring:
For "A" rated trips, wear comfortable walking shoes.
For "B" rated trips, wear hiking shoes or light hiking boots with good tread.
For "C" and "D" rated trips, wear broken-in good hiking boots with good tread.
Sandals, flip-flops, dress shoes, construction boots and high heels are not permitted on any field trips.
Always bring a plastic bag for your hiking boots and wear street shoes in the car.
For short trips, bring at least one litre of liquid, more in summer and late spring. For half to full day trips, bring AT LEAST two litres of water, more on hot summer days. Water, iced tea, sports drinks, and drinks made with drink crystals are good year-round, while hot chocolate, tea or soup in a thermos are good in winter.
Soft drinks, energy drinks, and alcohol are NOT recommended.
Carry liquids in resealable containers, not cans or glass bottles. Hydration systems are a handy way to carry water. A water filter or purification system can be useful (and is essential on overnight hikes) for treating water found on the trail, but note that many trails are dry, especially in late summer and early fall.
Bring more food and water than you think you will need. Bring at least a snack or light lunch for trips less than 4 hours. Bring a full lunch and snacks for longer trips. Avoid foods that are messy and strong-smelling. Fish like tuna, salmon and sardines are not recommended as the smell can attract bears and can be off-putting to other trip participants.
Good snack foods include trail mix, lightly salted nuts or snack mixes, and vegetables or fresh fruit. When weight is an issue, fruit bars, granola bars and protein bars are good snacks.
Avoid foods that will make you thirsty, such as potato chips, and foods that can be easily crushed.
Always consider the weather when packing your food. On hot days, be careful to bring foods that will keep in the heat. In berry season, please use discretion when picking, and do not pick in parks and protected areas. Watch for bears - you are trespassing in their berry patch.
Never pick and eat any berries, mushrooms or plants unless you know they are edible. Do not feed wildlife unless the site encourages it, such as at Reifel. Never feed any wildlife when in the backcountry.
Make sure that you pack out EVERYTHING, including apple cores, orange peels etc.
Please have everything prepared the night before, and do not depend on stopping to pick up water and food on ferries or at gas stations enroute.
Meeting and carpool locations will be provided in individual trip descriptions. Trip leaders try to ensure that meeting and carpool locations are accessible by transit.
For public transit information in the Lower Mainland, contact Translink at 604-953-3333 or www.translink.ca. For trips requiring a ferry journey, contact BC Ferries at 1-888-223-3779 or www.bcferries.com.
Do not forget when ferry travel is involved, that you will have to pay on the return trip, except for Bowen Island.
Nature Vancouver encourages members to carpool as much as possible for field trips. This reduces the environmental impact of the trip and helps to spread the cost around. Many locations have limited parking available.
On all trips, passengers should contribute to gas expenses. The suggested cost of carpooling is $5 per person, per hour of driving on regular roads. On gravel roads, the suggested cost is $8 per person, per hour of driving.
Nature Vancouver is always looking for more field trip leaders. Leaders do not need to be especially knowledgeable about birds, plants, or other aspects of nature as the primary role of the trip leaders is to organize and facilitate the trip. Contact the Field Trip Coordinator, Cynthia Crampton, or Hiking and Backpacking Team Leader, Bill Kinkaid, for more information about becoming a Nature Vancouver field trip leader.
It is important that field trip leaders are familiar with the Nature Vancouver Guidelines for Field Trip Leaders. Please read them carefully.