Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park (map)
Description: There are two free, marked snowshoe trails starting at the Mount Seymour parking lot. Dog Mountain is a short, easy, and mostly flat hike. The The Mount Seymour Trail is a longer, steeper, and more strenuous hike that ascends 400 meters up the mountain to First Pump Peak (and beyond if you’re feeling adventurous). On clear days, the views from the top of Mount Seymour are breath-taking. But even on cloudy days (like we had) the hike is a great workout, lots of fun, and a fabulous opportunity to play in the snow.
The snowshoe up to First Pump Peak is a lot like snowshoeing up Hollyburn Mountain at Cypress. Both trails are free, start at a ski resort, have significant elevation gain, offer great views of the city, and have opportunities to crazy carpet on the way down. The only difference is the Hollyburn Trail takes 4 hours, while the Mount Seymour Trail takes 3 hours to the First Pump Peak, and can be extended longer if you want to go to the second and third peaks.
The Mount Seymour Trail does go through potential avalanche terrain, so you should check South Coast avalanche conditions before heading up. If the conditions are low or moderate the trail should be safe.
Total Time: 3 hours
Ascent to First Pump Peak: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Lunch Break at First Pump Peak: 30 minutes
Descent to Parking Lot: 1 hour
Transportation: There is a $6 Seymour Shuttle that will take you to the top of Mount Seymour from Lonsdale Quay or Parkgate Village. If you drive, make sure you check the road conditions (sometimes winter tires or chains are required). Directions from Google Maps.
Parking Update: In the winter, parking is free but controlled by the ski resort, which has recently limited access to backcountry users. Backountry users are asked to park along the road (P5) or at the group campground (P1), which is 1500 meters down the road from the trail head. The extra hike isn’t a big deal, as along as you budget the time. A bigger problem is the parking lots often fill up on nice weekend mornings. Check the Mt_Seymour Twitter feed for road and parking lot updates. On Saturday morning at 10:45 AM they tweeted “Backcountry Parking Lots 1 & 5 are full. Backcountry users can use our shuttle bus from Parkgate Community Centre.” But by 1:00 PM people had started to leave and there was lots of room in the parking lots.
Pictures: Mount Seymour Snowshoeing 2011