There are many great waterfront areas to explore along British Columbia’s exotic coastline. While it might be time to put the flip-flops back into storage for the winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t still visit the beach. This unique spot is located inside of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, along what is the westernmost point of Vancouver, close to UBC. The trail we discovered followed along to the shoreline of Acadia and Tower Beaches. This is one of those hikes that come with a strange and unique reward at the end of it. The trail here follows the shoreline towards a World War 2 era spotlight tower, which is now nearly completely covered in graffiti.
Like most people, we were lured by pictures and stories of this WW2 relic. It’s one of those things you have to see for yourself. We came here to visit early in 2021, and enjoyed our adventure along this wild coastline. This hike was the perfect quiet escape from the bustle of the city, especially on a colder afternoon when the wind was blowing just a little. There are several trails that criss-cross through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, but many are not dog friendly year-round (looking at you Wreck Beach) which is why was the reason we chose this spot. It is located t between the better known Wreck Beach and Jericho / Spanish Banks area.
This is an incredible stretch of UBC waterfront and is a great place to enjoy a long walk with unique views, especially with sunshine on a cold autumn or warm spring day.
What makes Acadia & Tower Beaches so amazing
If incredible waterfront views, towering trees and rocky coastline wasn’t enough, this trail leads to a unique reward at the end. With that being said, this is more than just one of those hikes where the destination is the only memorable moment. There are many great views along the way. This is one of the great places to explore the Vancouver waterfront and the perfect place to escape the buzz of the busy city.
The trail finally leads to a famous Vancouver landmark. Build during the Second World war, this watch tower has long been abandoned and is now covered by overlapping graffiti.
Throughout Vancouver, there are several watchtowers and gun emplacements that were erected in the 1940s, in the middle of the Second World War. Fortunately, there were no shots fired and these places eventually fell into disrepair. The watch towers here at Tower Beach were part of a greater deployment that included over 250 soldiers and several big guns (located at where the Museum of Anthropology is today).
Where are Acadia & Tower Beaches and how do you get there?
This is a bit of a hidden gem is tucked away in a little known corner of the city. This trail follows wanders carelessly along the contours of the UBC waterfront, traveling from Jericho to Wreck beach. There is a parking lot located at the far western edge of Jericho Beach, which is where we found the trailhead. Pacific Spirit Regional Park has a wide selection of trails to chose between, but not all of them are pet-friendly year round.
There are more direct routes to the towers (including a staircase straight up the hill), we chose the waterfront route Acadia Beach which led us towards the WW2 bunker. The trail also continues west towards Wreck Beach.
There are great views of downtown Vancouver from where the hike starts (close to Jericho Beach) but it quickly turns into a quiet and secluded refuge from the city. As it slowly winds around the bend, it leaves the city behind, allowing you to feel a few steps further into the wilderness. British Columbia’s wild coastline can be felt here, despite being just a short distance from civilization. This is definitely one of our favourite places to go when we need to get away for a few hours. The graffiti covered tower is also the perfect backdrop for some cool photography.