Location: Cypress Provincial Park (map)
Description: Black Mountain is the fourth snowshoeing trip we’ve done this winter on the North Shore of Vancouver. Much like Hollyburn Mountain and Mount Seymour, Black Mountain is easy to access, free to hike, and offers lots of snow to play in. The biggest difference is Black Mountain is a lot less crowded than Vancouver’s other snowshoeing trails.
From the top of Black Mountain there are great views of Vancouver to the south and Howe Sound to the north-west. When we were there, the snow was falling so heavily you couldn’t see more then 20 feet in front of you and we were almost breaking fresh trail. I’d love to go back on a clear day. The hike was a workout, but slightly easier then the Hollyburn trail. With all the fresh snow, we didn’t get a view but had a blast crazy carpeting on the way down. Usually most snowshoeing trails are too crowded to slide down without taking out a few people, but here we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves. The avalanche risk was considerable, but the trail goes through fairly safe terrain.
The hike starts at the Cypress Mountain main, alpine parking lot (ignore the signs for the snowshoe area). Near the chalet, head into the ski area and follow the orange-tipped poles. The Cypress staff checking passes will give you a Backcountry ticket for free. Past the Eagle Express chair lift, there is a sign announcing the start of the Backcountry access area and the Black Mountain Plateau Trail. The first part of the trail parallels the Fork ski run and is steep (which makes it lots of fun to crazy carpet on the way down). After the climb, there is a mostly flat Black Mountain Loop Trail which takes about an hour to complete.
I haven’t found any good maps of the Black Mountain trail. This is the GPS map my phone tracked – unfortunately we didn’t finish the loop, got lost once, and my battery died before we made it down, but it should give you an idea of the route. The map available on Vancouver Trails is for the summer hike to Eagle Bluffs, but the first part is the same.
I highly recommend the Black Mountain trail, mainly because it isn’t as crowded as the other snowshoeing trails in the region.
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Ascent: 1 hour
Loop Trail: 1 hour
Break for Lunch: 30 minutes
Descent: 1 hour
Transportation: There is no Translink bus service to Cypress Mountain, but there is a private Cypress Coach that will take you up from Vancouver for $23 round trip. As long as you are not going alone, it probably makes more sense to drive. The drive will only take 45 minutes and parking at the top is free, just head to the alpine/downhill area to start the hike. Directions from Google Maps.
Pictures: Black Mountain Snowshoeing 2011