16
September
2021
|
16:14
Europe/Amsterdam

YVR Planespotting Guide

Top 5 Plane Spotting Locations at YVR

One of the top questions we always get from our community is, “Where can we go to spot airplanes?” So today, we’re sharing our top five plane spotting locations at or near YVR.

And a quick lesson on runway names:

The South Runway houses runways 08R and 26L and the North Runway houses runways 08L and 26R. If planes are landing on the 08s, that means they’re coming from over the water. If they’re taking off on the 26s, that means they’re taking off over the water.

A map of where the north and south runways are

1. Larry Berg Flight Path Park

The giant globe play area at the Larry Berg Flight Path Park

In need of a family-friendly plane spotting adventure? Look no further!

Located at the end of runway 26L, the Flight Path Park is the prime location for plane spotting and family picnics. This park also features a giant globe play area and tail wings display explaining how YVR became known as one of the best airports in the world. There are also walking trails and runway paths that reflect the markings and lights of the runways at YVR.

A Sichuan Airline A350 landing on Runway 26L as seen from the Larry Berg Flight Path Park
Photo Credit: Richard Paraiso | @richardspotsyvr

  • Location: Russ Baker Way, Richmond, BC V7B 1C4
  • Runway movements visible: 08R Departures/26L Landings
  • Best time: All day long
  • Recommended lens focal length (if doing aviation photography): Minimum 50mm.
  • Amenities available: Family friendly play area, picnic tables, paper airplane benches, bike tune-up station, and free parking.

2. McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport

Entrance of the McArthurGlen Outlet Vancouver Airport

If you can’t decide between shopping and planespotting, we have the perfect solution for you.

Introducing…McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport. Located two Canada Line stops from YVR, this shopping center is situated right under runway 26R, where you will be able to see wide-body airliners landing right in front of your eyes! Additionally, this shopping center is also accessible by both car and the Canada Line. If you need a break from plane spotting, you can also shop at over 80 designer outlet stores and dine-in at one of the 10 restaurants at the shopping center.

A British Airways A380 flying above the McArthurGlen Outlet Vancouver Airport

  • Location: 1000-7899 Templeton Station Road, Richmond, BC V7B 0B7
  • Runway movements visible: 26R Landings
  • Best time: All day long; may be backlit in the morning and evenings in the summer.
  • Recommended lens focal length (if doing aviation photography): Minimum 100mm.
  • Amenities available: Dining services, free parking, public washrooms, resting areas, transit accessible and designer brand outlet stores.

3. South Terminal Viewing Platform

Entrance to the South Terminal Viewing Platform

Want unobstructed views of the South Runway? Come to the South Viewing Platform.

The South Terminal Viewing Platform was created for the aviation enthusiasts in our community. Located at the South Terminal Building, this viewing platform offers views of Runway 08R/26L, aka the South Runway, allowing you to get the perfect view and shot of the metal birds. There is also limited complimentary parking available for those visiting the platform.

A China Southern Boeing 787 departing 08R as seen from the South Terminal Viewing Platform
Photo Credit: Jimmy Wu | @jimwuyvryyzlaxspotter

  • Location: 4364 Cowley Crescent #4226, Richmond, BC V7B 1B8
  • Runway movements visible: 08R and 26L Departures
  • Best time: All day long; May be backlit in the morning and evenings in the summer.
  • Recommended lens focal length (if doing aviation photography):100-300mm
  • Amenities available: Dining services, free parking, public washrooms, and resting areas are all located inside the South Terminal.

4. Public Observation Area

The Public Observation Area at YVR

Do you have some extra time before your flight? Or are you just looking to spend a day in the airport? Visit the Public Observation Area in the pre-security Domestic Food Court on Level 4.

The Public Observation Area is free for all visitors and it is a great indoor plane spotting location. With the observation area facing the west side of the airfield, you can see planes in the ‘Domestic Horseshoe.’ There are also complimentary telescopes and information panels located throughout the observation deck for public use. And don’t forget that masks are currently still required within the airport unless you are eating/drinking.

A Dash 8 seen from the Public Observation Area

  • Location: Level 4 - 3211 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, BC V7B 0A4
  • Runway movements visible: No runway movements visible, only domestic apron activity
  • Best time: All day long
  • Recommended lens focal length (if doing aviation photography): Minimum 50mm
  • Amenities available: Dining services, transit accessible, paid parking, public washrooms, information panels, complimentary telescopes and seating areas

5. Terra Nova Rural Park

The walking trail at the Terra Nova Rural Park
Photo Credit: @yvrurban

Ever wondered how Vancouver’s aviation photographers get that dreamy snow-capped mountain backdrop in their shots in the winter? Here’s the secret: they spot at the Terra Nova Rural Park!

Although this location is quite far from the runway, it offers a stunning view of the natural mountainous backdrop we have in Vancouver. During the winter season, these mountains are capped with snow, making this location a favourite among local planespotters. At this park, you can see departures from Runway 08R and 26L, and it also offers a beautiful view of YVR and the Fraser River.

A WestJet Boeing 787 departing 26L with a snow-capped mountain backdrop as seen from Terra Nova Park
Photo Credit: Alvin Man | @onemoreweektogo

  • Location: 2631 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC V7C 1A1
  • Runway movements visible: Runway 08R and 26L Departures
  • Best time: All day long in the winter
  • Recommended lens focal length (if doing aviation photography): Minimum 500mm
  • Amenities available: Public washrooms, playground, walking trail, picnic tables, and free parking

BONUS: Iona Beach Regional Park

The Iona Beach Park in evening light
Photo Credit: Pranay Meher | @pranayrmeher

Going for a walk at the Iona Beach Jetty at the Iona Beach Regional Park? Take your camera with you!

The Iona Beach Jetty is located under the arrival path for Runway 08L. Although you can see the planes land at YVR near the entrance of the Jetty, it would not be the best angle if you are planning to do aviation photography. For the best photos, be prepared to walk about an hour to reach the middle of the Jetty where you will get a better angle of the planes arriving. This location offers stunning views of the Fraser River and the North Shore mountains, which makes it perfect for summer evening walks!

An Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787 on approach to Runway 08L as seen from the Iona Beach Jetty
Photo Credit: Kent Matthiesen | @kent_yvr

  • Location: 900 Ferguson Road, Richmond, BC V7B 1W7
  • Runway movements visible: Runway 08L Arrivals
  • Best time: Summer evenings for photography; All day for plane watching
  • Recommended lens focal length (if doing aviation photography): Minimum 250mm
  • Amenities available: Public washrooms, walking trail, picnic tables, and free parking