Without a doubt Vancouver’s North Shore has some of the worlds best hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding and other adventure tourism related activities to enjoy. People come from around the world to explore our backyard. We are extremely fortunate to call this area home.
However, the good news is if you live anywhere in Metro Vancouver near the Skytrain or public transit lines, you can also enjoy these amazing outdoor experiences easily. We sat down to talk with Dan Grima who is the founder and operator of Rugged Adventure Tours to get to know him and his business for our readers.
His tour business is unique in that most of his tours are accessible by public transit, so if you live downtown Vancouver simply take the Seabus over to North Vancouver and link up with Dan to explore nature. Now that’s easy.
How did the business get started and what do you like about doing tours near North Vancouver?
My business started in May of 2019. Starting my own business was something I always dreamed of. I spent 7 years waiting for the right time, but of course, life gets in the way. My distraction was the introduction of my 2 boys, now 4 and 6 years old. This kept me occupied living a different dream and keeping me at a salaried job to secure income during the early years. When the boys were young I found plenty of time to be that stereotypical, North Shore dad. Yes, I was that dad with one child on my front and the other on my back and heading off in to the mountains!
These adventures, with children in tow, kept me fairly close to North Vancouver, discovering as much of the North Shore as possible. The accessibility of Vancouver’s wild side, was something I shared with family and friends and wanted to share with everyone. I mean why wouldn’t you, the terrain has it all, temperate rainforests, canyons, rivers, lakes, mountains and of course the ocean.
How did you come up with the idea of opening a tourism business using the accessibility of public transit?
Over the years I learned that I am not the kind of person who can sit in front of a computer all day. So I needed to come up with a business that kept me active and allowed me to be creative. To get things started my first stop was to read the Vancouver Tourism masterplan. This highlighted the fact that tourists don’t have long in town so I needed to make my experiences short. I then put myself in the position of a tourist and decided that I would probably not rent a car for a short trip. I would however want to see the wild mountains and forests that BC is known for. In my mind, this meant keeping tours accessible by transit.
What are your personal top 5 places to go hiking on the North Shore?
1: Hanes Valley via Crown Mountain – this hike has it all, the river, forests, waterfall, scree slopes, boulder fields, and mountain peaks
2: The Lions from Cypress Mountain via Bowen Lookout
3: Lynn Canyon – so many hidden gems to be found
4: Mount Seymour First Peak – it’s accessible and can be done quickly and is amazing in the winter too
5: Belcarra Provincial Park – I know this is not strictly the North Shore but I love accessing this hike by kayak from Deep Cove!
What kind of gear or equipment would you recommend for going on a day hike near Vancouver?
Number one on my list is a headlamp! I have personally picked up 2 lost hikers at night in the forest. Both were flustered and lost. It can get dark quickly in the forest, particularly if you were enjoying a sunset from a river or mountain top and have to walk through a forest to return.
- Extra, warm clothing
- Water and food plus extras
- First Aid
- Fire Kit
- Shelter – tarp and survival blanket (+ sunscreen + sunglasses particularly on snow in the sun)
- Navigation – Map and compass
- Bear spray
There is no point in bringing this gear if you aren’t trained in how to use it!
Finally, always tell someone where you are going and when you plan on being back, this way they can help if you don’t return.
In your spare time outside of running the business what do you do for activities?
I love my family time! I am often coming up with new family adventures. Last weekend we had chocolate fondue in an igloo I built! As a family we rock climb, hike, kayak, ski, snowshoe and travel. I also enjoy photography, gardening and trail running.
Is there anything else you might want our readers to know about you or your business?
I am originally from the UK and have lived in North Vancouver for 9 years. I spent most of my career in Vancouver at Grouse Mountain as manager of Adventure Programs. This started when I pitched the idea of a summer camps program. Luckily the mountain liked my concept and I founded the Adventure Programs Department. Outside of summer adventure camps programming I also ran the mountains team building programming.
Helping businesses improve team work or celebrate successes through shared experiences is something I am also passionate about. Customized team events and activities is an exciting addition to Rugged Adventure Tours in 2020. Our first group was 84 people who completed 5 customized challenges in beautiful outdoor locations. We welcome groups 5-100 for team events. As well I just reached a major milestone of 500 5 Star Reviews!
Contact Dan using email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos from Rugged Adventure Tours