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EVEN IN THE gloom of winter, Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C., is a captivating natural wonderland in the heart of the city.

And a gloomy day can be a good thing: It keeps the fair-weather crowds of bicyclists, joggers and walkers off the Seawall, the glorious 6-mile paved path that circles the oceanfront park.

These bicyclists glided along in the winter rain, the stark trees and their bikes reflected in a seriously big puddle.

If you’re going to Vancouver, go to Stanley Park, rain or shine. Every visit, I walk or bike the Seawall to gaze at the cityscape, mountains and English Bay, dotted with scudding sailboats and anchored freighters.

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If it’s sunny and the Seawall’s too crowded, I veer off onto the miles of broad, dirt trails that crisscross the 1,000-acre park’s densely forested interior. It’s a different, but equally lovely, way to go.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at