Wreck Beach Trail 6 (Breakwater)

Vancouver, British Columbia

When people in Vancouver refer to "Wreck beach" they generally mean this one (trail #6); this one is considered to be the "main" beach. Wreck Beach is Vancouver's first and only "clothing optional" beach and it is considered to be one of the best beaches in terms of experiencing the culture and vibe in Vancouver.

The beach boasts a nice view out into the ocean and the atmosphere at this beach during the summer is certainly one-of-a-kind. It is almost always guaranteed to hear some live music at this beach and the beachgoers at this beach are very friendly in general. While people have initially frequented this beach for the shallow water and seclusiveness, the beach nowadays is very busy in the summer. On summer days, there are lots of vendors selling conventional beach-side goodies like jewelry, souvenirs, and hot dogs as well as those more daring vendors who sell "unconventional" things like exotic meat burgers, magic mushrooms, and not-so-innocent baked goods. Although fires, drugs, and alcohol are illegal on this beach (as with any beaches in the Lower Mainland), like in most beaches, they do happen. However, police do patrol this beach frequently during the summer months (and they are always fully clothed), so the rowdiness is always somewhat controlled.

Although people have to walk out quite far into the water to swim (because the waters are very shallow), the swim here is always nice and refreshing.

AMENITIES:
Parking is somewhat hard to find around marine drive area in the summer, so the use of public transit is highly recommended. The top of trail #6 is only about a fifteen-minute walk from the main UBC bus loop. The hike down the staircase of 490 wooden steps to the beach (and the hike back up) can pose a challenge, so be prepared for a workout! There are outhouses near the beach now (before they had them on the beach people had to hike up the stairs to go to the washroom), but always be prepared for the smell.

FIRST NATIONS HISTORY:
Wreck Beach Trail 6 (Breakwater) is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation. The Musqueam have lived on this land since time immemorial. This area was known as “Ulksen” or “the nose” as it described the shape of the extending portion of the peninsula. The land and waters here have always been a place of knowledge for the Musqueam, where they would educate and train their youth. The sea was used for canoe pulling and fishing, the forest for hunting and gathering, and the beaches for crabbing.

The Point Grey cliffs acted as a place of defense. The Musqueam had specially selected people who were called “runners” that would stand guard on these tall cliffs. They would be on the lookout for incoming invaders from the north, particularly the Squamish and the Haida of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The runners would have to decide if these incomers were friends or enemies, and would sprint through trails in the forests to alert their tribal members. If the incomers were deemed to be enemies, the Musqueam defense would counter the aggressor by embarking war canoes and warding off the invasion.

Photo: Joe Cocozza - Flickr

COVID-19

Keep your distance from other people.

Practicing social distancing is still essential. Only go to the beach if you are able to keep 6 feet or 2 meters away from others. Follow the instructions provided by your local health authorities. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter our efforts to curb the virus’s spread.

Water Quality
  • Passed water quality tests at least 95% of the time

  • Historical Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on September 28th, 2021. Fraser Riverkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on October 4th, 2021 at 1:55 PM.
For water quality icon legend, click:  
Current Weather
3°C
Cloudy
Monitoring Frequency

Wreck Beach Trail 6 (Breakwater) is sampled weekly from January 1st to December 31st.

Source Information

Water quality at this beach jointly monitored by Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Spirit Park Society (PSPS). Sampling is conducted by Metro Vancouver from May to October and by the Pacific Spirit Park Society from October to March.

The Pacific Spirit Park Society is a non-profit society that works with Metro Vancouver, as part of the Regional Park Partners Program. They hold a vision of an urban forest and foreshore park that is protected and cared for in perpetuity, for the benefit of all. PSPS’ programming centers on ecological restoration, data collection, monitoring, and environmental education, empowering community members through skills development and stewardship training.

Metro Vancouver and PSPS follow the Canadian Recreational Water Guidelines. Recreational water is considered safe if the geometric mean result is under 200 E.coli/100mL based on the previous last five samples or a single sample limit of under 400 E.coli/100mL. Data is shared on Swim Guide according to these results, as soon as they become available.

A beach is marked Green when geometric mean results are under 200 E.coli/100 mL and single sample results are below 400 E.coli/100mL.

A beach is marked Red when the geometric mean results are equal to or above 200 E.coli/100 mL water or single sample results are above 400 E.coli/100 mL.

A beach is marked Grey when there are no current results or there is no available information

Read more
Water Quality Graph

Wreck Beach Trail 6 (Breakwater)

Vancouver, British Columbia

COVID-19

Keep your distance from other people.

Practicing social distancing is still essential. Only go to the beach if you are able to keep 6 feet or 2 meters away from others. Follow the instructions provided by your local health authorities. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter our efforts to curb the virus’s spread.

Water Quality
  • Passed water quality tests at least 95% of the time
  • Historical Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on September 28th, 2021. Fraser Riverkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on October 4th, 2021 at 1:55 PM.
For water quality icon legend, click:  
Current Weather
3°C
Cloudy

When people in Vancouver refer to "Wreck beach" they generally mean this one (trail #6); this one is considered to be the "main" beach. Wreck Beach is Vancouver's first and only "clothing optional" beach and it is considered to be one of the best beaches in terms of experiencing the culture and vibe in Vancouver.

The beach boasts a nice view out into the ocean and the atmosphere at this beach during the summer is certainly one-of-a-kind. It is almost always guaranteed to hear some live music at this beach and the beachgoers at this beach are very friendly in general. While people have initially frequented this beach for the shallow water and seclusiveness, the beach nowadays is very busy in the summer. On summer days, there are lots of vendors selling conventional beach-side goodies like jewelry, souvenirs, and hot dogs as well as those more daring vendors who sell "unconventional" things like exotic meat burgers, magic mushrooms, and not-so-innocent baked goods. Although fires, drugs, and alcohol are illegal on this beach (as with any beaches in the Lower Mainland), like in most beaches, they do happen. However, police do patrol this beach frequently during the summer months (and they are always fully clothed), so the rowdiness is always somewhat controlled.

Although people have to walk out quite far into the water to swim (because the waters are very shallow), the swim here is always nice and refreshing.

AMENITIES:
Parking is somewhat hard to find around marine drive area in the summer, so the use of public transit is highly recommended. The top of trail #6 is only about a fifteen-minute walk from the main UBC bus loop. The hike down the staircase of 490 wooden steps to the beach (and the hike back up) can pose a challenge, so be prepared for a workout! There are outhouses near the beach now (before they had them on the beach people had to hike up the stairs to go to the washroom), but always be prepared for the smell.

FIRST NATIONS HISTORY:
Wreck Beach Trail 6 (Breakwater) is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation. The Musqueam have lived on this land since time immemorial. This area was known as “Ulksen” or “the nose” as it described the shape of the extending portion of the peninsula. The land and waters here have always been a place of knowledge for the Musqueam, where they would educate and train their youth. The sea was used for canoe pulling and fishing, the forest for hunting and gathering, and the beaches for crabbing.

The Point Grey cliffs acted as a place of defense. The Musqueam had specially selected people who were called “runners” that would stand guard on these tall cliffs. They would be on the lookout for incoming invaders from the north, particularly the Squamish and the Haida of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The runners would have to decide if these incomers were friends or enemies, and would sprint through trails in the forests to alert their tribal members. If the incomers were deemed to be enemies, the Musqueam defense would counter the aggressor by embarking war canoes and warding off the invasion.

Photo: Joe Cocozza - Flickr

Monitoring Frequency

Wreck Beach Trail 6 (Breakwater) is sampled weekly from January 1st to December 31st.

Source Information

Water quality at this beach jointly monitored by Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Spirit Park Society (PSPS). Sampling is conducted by Metro Vancouver from May to October and by the Pacific Spirit Park Society from October to March.

The Pacific Spirit Park Society is a non-profit society that works with Metro Vancouver, as part of the Regional Park Partners Program. They hold a vision of an urban forest and foreshore park that is protected and cared for in perpetuity, for the benefit of all. PSPS’ programming centers on ecological restoration, data collection, monitoring, and environmental education, empowering community members through skills development and stewardship training.

Metro Vancouver and PSPS follow the Canadian Recreational Water Guidelines. Recreational water is considered safe if the geometric mean result is under 200 E.coli/100mL based on the previous last five samples or a single sample limit of under 400 E.coli/100mL. Data is shared on Swim Guide according to these results, as soon as they become available.

A beach is marked Green when geometric mean results are under 200 E.coli/100 mL and single sample results are below 400 E.coli/100mL.

A beach is marked Red when the geometric mean results are equal to or above 200 E.coli/100 mL water or single sample results are above 400 E.coli/100 mL.

A beach is marked Grey when there are no current results or there is no available information

Read more
Water Quality Graph

  Beach Location Water Quality
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
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