4 Hidden Gems at UBC Vancouver Campus

Now that winter session is behind us, hopefully you have more time this summer to explore UBC and uncover these 4 gems that make the Vancouver campus so beautiful!

1. Nitobe Memorial Garden

Located in the northwest corner of campus lies Nitobe Memorial Garden–UBC’s very own traditional Japanese garden. Free to UBC students, the garden invites visitors to take a leisurely stroll or roll (pending path conditions) through cherry blossoms or irises, with a view of some koi fish swimming in the pond! There are also several benches and a tea house located throughout the garden where you can sit and take in the serenity and beauty of this oasis. Click here to learn more about the history and layout of Nitobe Memorial Garden.

Cherry Blossoms at Nitobe Memorial Garden in the Spring

2. Wreck Beach

Nearby Nitobe Memorial Garden is one of the best places to catch the sunset at UBC, Wreck Beach! Near the junction of NW Marine Drive and University Boulevard (opposite to Place Vanier Residence), you’ll be invited for a steep descent down 500 steps. While the stairs will likely make your calves shake, if timed correctly, you’ll be rewarded at the bottom with a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean! After enjoying the sunset, do be prepared to climb up those 500 stairs again, going at a comfortable pace and taking breaks when needed.

Sunset at Wreck Beach

3. Botanical Garden 

Moving counterclockwise in the southwest corner of campus, at the intersection of SW Marine Drive and Stadium Road, is the Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden is also free to UBC students and houses about 120,000 plants. As shown in this map, there are many areas that make up the Botanical Garden, so it’s a great place to roam or roll (pending path conditions) around and appreciate the vast biodiversity. If you’re curious to know what the flora and fauna look like from 23 metres above ground, the Greenheart Treewalk could be an adventure for you at an additional cost.

The Moon Gate passes below SW Marine Drive and connects the two parts of the Botanical Garden!

4. Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Separating UBC from the rest of the Lower Mainland is Pacific Spirit Regional Park. With many entry points along the east side of campus, this forest is filled with many trails often populated by runners, cyclists, and cute dogs. Elevation also remains relatively flat, which is great for those who are looking for a leisurely stroll. Given the size of this forest, it’s best to go with a buddy and have a GPS on hand!

Council Trail in Pacific Spirit Park

Since these pictures don’t do these gems justice, I hope you can go get out there and enjoy these spots in person! Last but not least, it is worthwhile to recognize that these places wouldn’t be made possible if it weren’t for the traditional, ancestral, and unceded land that they are situated on, which belong to the Musqueam people. And so, as you uncover these hidden gems, I also invite you to take some time to reflect and practice gratitude for the land you are on.