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Active Vancouver: Book Review

Active Vancouver: Book Review

If you want an introduction to outdoor activities in Vancouver, pick up a copy of Active Vancouver by Roy Jantzen.  It’s got local recommendations for hiking, trail running, paddling, snowshoeing, cycling and more. Each adventure has a really cool “Eco-Insight” section with fun info about some of the plants, animals, climate or geology you’ll see. As a Vancouver local, I was familiar with many of the adventures in the book. But the additional info in the eco-insights made me eager to revisit them this summer. I think this book would make a great gift for outdoorsy Vancouverites or anyone new to our beautiful city. Read on for my honest review of Active Vancouver. (I’ve also got details on a book giveaway for you at the end of the post!)

Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my website! -Taryn

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book. However, all opinions are my own.

Basic Stats:

Active Vancouver by Roy Rantzen

Author: Roy Jantzen

Format: Paperback with lots of full colour photos and maps

Publication Date: 2015

Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books

List Price: Paperback $25CAD

Where to Buy: (where it’s often on sale)

What’s in the Book?

One of the things that I liked best about the book is the fact that the majority of the activities are within Metro Vancouver. Too often books claim things are in Vancouver when in reality they are several hours drive away. It’s nice to be able to pick an activity, head out the door, and be outside in the fresh air quickly. There are also public transit directions so you aren’t tied to your car.

Another thing I really liked about Active Vancouver is that most of the activities are very beginner-friendly. As well, Jantzen included an index at the back of the book. It has specific recommendations for trips that are good for dogs, kids, teens, seniors, and out of town visitors. 

Active Vancouver is broken up into sections for a variety of active outdoor pursuits. There are sections for trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, cycling, paddling and picnicking. There’s also a bonus section at the back called “Other Adventures” that includes swimming, inline skating and rock climbing.  There are 48 adventures in all, with a handful in each section. Each adventure includes a map, directions and beautiful photos.

Biking in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve in North Vancouver, BC. One of the cycling activities highlighted in the book Active Vancouver by Roy Jantzen.
Biking on the Old Growth Pathway in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. It’s my favourite cycling route in the book.

However, for me the best part of each adventure was the “Eco-Insight” section with interesting ecological info. I’ve done the Quarry Rock Hike in Deep Cover countless times. But I’ve never stopped to think about the close relationship between the tree roots I’m stepping over and fungus. The author is a professor of natural history at Capilano University and it’s obvious that he’s put a lot of thought into the ecological info in this book. After reading the Eco-Insight for Quarry Rock, I know next time I do that hike I’ll spend some more time looking carefully at the forest floor! (Psst: Did you know that Quarry Rock is one of the most Instagrammed hikes in Vancouver?)

The view from Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. One of the hiking adventures in the book Active Vancouver by Roy Jantzen.
The view from Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. The trail winds through lush forest (that is apparently teeming with fungi underfoot), before emerging at this people rocky viewpoint.

Who Will Like This Book?

Active Vancouver includes adventures in all four seasons, so it’s something locals can use year round. I think this is a great book for any outdoor adventurer in Vancouver. It’s especially good for those new to town, new to the outdoors or new to getting outside with their growing family. Even if you’re a seasoned Vancouver outdoors-person, I think the Eco-Insights alone are reason enough to own a copy.

Snowshowing at Hollyburn Peak in West Vancouver. One of the adventures included in the book Active Vancouver by Roy Jantzen.
Snowshoeing with my dad at Hollyburn Peak in Cypress Provincial Park. One of my favourite things about Active Vancouver is how many family-friendly activities it includes.

More Book Reviews:

More Vancouver-Area Outdoor Adventure Ideas:

Taryn Eyton
Latest posts by Taryn Eyton (see all)

Cecile Afable

Wednesday 5th of June 2019

I really enjoy walking through the forest in Lynn Valley, and for something more challenging, Mt. Unnecessary is one of my favourite North Shore peaks.

susanna froese

Wednesday 5th of June 2019

I love to hike the trails in Garibaldi Park - beautiful forests, waterfalls and meadows!

Roy Jantzen

Tuesday 4th of June 2019

Hello Taryn, I read your review of my book yesterday. Perhaps the first I have had. What a pleasure to read your words. You were able to see why I really wrote the book - as a place to house my eco-insights! The recreational activities are the vehicle to pull people in, but I'm really interested in helping people develop a Sense of Place in the area they are recreating. My passion is sharing the natural world with others, instilling a sense of wonder in them and ultimately opening a door to further their awareness & appreciation. Thank you again for your support. Roy

Valerie Dare

Tuesday 4th of June 2019

One of my favourite hikes is Needle Peak and flatiron out on the Coquihalla (sp). You can do both together and you get a variety of terrain from forest, sub-alpine, alpine with some scrambling.