Tag Archives: cypress

Cross-Country Skiing at Cypress Mountain

Cross Country Skiing at Cypress
Emily, Mairy, and I a great time on cross-country skiing up at Cypress Mountain on Sunday. It was good to get out and enjoy the fresh mountain air and play in the snow. We stuck to the green runs and skied for 90 minutes, with a break in between for lunch, covering 9 km of trails with lots of ups and downs (map here). I only wiped out once the downhill.

We ate lunch at the Hollyburn Lodge. They had vegan and gluten-free chili, french fries, buns, and a few baked desserts. Pretty good for lodge food.

Cypress Cross Country Skiing Uphill Warmup X-Country Emily Mairy Goes Zoom Emily Enjoying the Fresh Air Vegan Lunch at Hollyburn Lodge Winter Window No Bikes Beams on Skis Cross Country Skiing Hollyburn Lodge X-Country Stretch View of the Alpine Area Skiing With Mairy In the Tuck Barrett's View Cypress Viewpoint Math Magic

Greater Vancouver Snowshoe – Bowen Lookout Winter Trail

Snowshoeing with a View
Date: February 10, 2013, January 2, 2016, and January 31, 2016

Location: Cypress Provincial Park (map)

Description: The Bowen Lookout Trail is another great snowshoe route on Vancouver’s North Shore. Instead of views of the city, this one gives spectacular views of Howe Sound and Bowen Island. It’s a good route for beginners looking for a trail harder than Dog Mountain with some vertical climbing, but a short route that’s not too strenuous.

Bowen Lookout Panorama
The hike starts at the Cypress Mountain chalet in the alpine area (not at the nordic area where the other snowshoe trails are). Backcountry passes are available in the Brown Bag Room in the old chalet (not from the ticket booths in the new chalet). Then hike goes through the ski area past the Eagle Express chair lift to the start of the snowshoe trail, following the orange-tipped poles. After 20 meters, the trail branches with the left fork heading up Black Mountain along the ski run. The right fork is the Bowen Lookout trail. The first kilometre is flat, as you hike along Yew Lake.

Frosted
The steady ascent to the lookout is real workout, but it only takes 20-30 minutes. When we reached the top, clouds were obstructing the view but they periodically parted to reveal stunning vistas. It was awesome to see mountains materialize from behind the clouds and then disappear again. The lookout makes for a great spot to sit and have lunch.
Howe Sound Lookout

Like Black Mountain, the trail is a lot quieter than Hollyburn or Mount Seymour. If you bring a crazy carpet (or just wear slippery pants) there are good opportunities to slide on the way down without having to worry about taking anyone out. The switch back section of the ascent has several chutes people have made that make for great sliding runs (trail erosion is less of a concern in the winter).
Attention Dog Owners
Dogs are allowed along the trail in the winter (in the summer they’re not due to sensitive marsh terrain), but must be on a leash and dog owners have to clean up after them. The few dogs we ran into weren’t on a leash, but as long as they’re well behaved I don’t personally mind (although a park ranger might react differently).

Here is the GPS map my phone tracked (also on Strava/Strava). More info on the trail and current conditions can be found on the BC Parks website. Also, remember to check the avalanche risk before heading up. BowenLookoutElevationThis trail heads through safe terrain but it’s good to be prepared.

Total Time: 2 hours
Ascent: 45 minutes
Break for Lunch: 30 minutes
Descent: 45 minutes

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: Bowen Lookout Snowshoeing 2013 Bowen Lookout Snowshoeing 2016 Bowen Lookout Snowshoeing 2016 #2
Bowen Lookout Snowshoe
Bowen Lookout Winter Trail (Howe Sound Crest Trail) Walking Through the Cypress Ski Area Snowshoeing Beams Making Snowmen Buried Sign Yew Lake Snowshoe Buried Bridge Steep Snowshoe Ascent Raging Granny Snowshoes Frosty BC Forestry Hiking Up Majestic British Columbia Winter Bowen Lookout Beams at the Peak Snowshoeing Lunch Emily at the Peak Admiring the View Between the Clouds The Lookout View Bowen Lookout Leap End of the Trail - Danger Winter Snowshoeing Sun Through the Trees Mairy's Slide Emily's Slide Descent Bowen Lookout Winter Trail Map

 

Greater Vancouver Snowshoe – Black Mountain Plateau Winter Trail

Black Mountain Plateau Winter Trail
Date: February 27, 2011 and March 2, 2014

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. Backcountry passes are available at a self-serve station in the old chalet. 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.

Black Mountain Plateau Trail MapI 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. On our second trip up Black Mountain in 2014, I got a better GPS Map.

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
Backcountry Pass  Backcountry Access Corridor  Snowshoeing Through the Ski Area  Black Mountain Plateau Winter Trail  Trail Map  Black Mountain Plateau Winter Trail Map  Considerable Avalanche Danger  Snowy Snowshoe  Ghost Tree  Frosted Tree  Peeking into the Ski Runs  Say Ahh  Snowy Lunch  Sandwich in the Snow  Start of the Black Mountain Loop  Sliding into a Tree Well  Face Wash  Crazy Carpet Time  Sliding Down Black Mountain

Black Mountain Snowshoeing and Skiing 2014
Backcountry Passes Cypress Backcountry Black Mountain Plateau Trail Emily on Black Mountain Backcountry Skiing on Black Mountain Skiing and Snowshoeing Backcountry Balancing Act Crazy Carpet In a Tree Well Trail Descent Split Black Mountain Plateau Trail Map

Greater Vancouver Snowshoe – Hollyburn Mountain

Snowy Stretch
Date: February 5 2012, December 4, 2010, and March 29, 2009

Location: Cypress Provincial Park (map)

Description: As much as I love hiking in the summer, there is something special about snowshoeing in the winter. The views are crisper, the trees are frosted, and nothing beats the thrill of sliding back down the mountain on a crazy carpet. And if you have a choice, going up with 4 lovely ladies is highly recommended.

Hollyburn Mountain is a great local spot to go snowshoeing. The hike up is pretty strenuous, but from the peak you have great views in every direction. The hike starts at the Cypress Mountain cross-country parking lot, but unlike snowshoe trails within the cross-country area (which cost $10 to access), the Hollyburn Peak trail is free to access.

The hike starts off with a steep section, then flattens out as it goes through the forest along the edge of the cross-country area, and then ends with a final steep ascent to the peak. With lots of fluffy snow, both steep sections make for excellent crazy-carpeting runs on the way down – just be mindful of the other people coming up and down on snowshoes and skis.

More detailed trail description here.

Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Ascent: 1 hours 30 minutes
Lunch Break: 1 hour
Descent: 1 hour 45 minutes (with extra time spent crazy carpeting)

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 cross-country/nordic area to start the hike. Directions from Google Maps.

Pictures: Hollyburn Snowshoeing 2012
Snowshoeing on Hollyburn Hollyburn Leap View from the Hollyburn Mountain Resting at the Hollyburn Peak Dan with the Whiskey Jack Sliding Emily Sliding Dan Rolling Big Snowballs Dan Finds a Girlfriend Hello Lovely Snow Lady

Hollyburn Snowshoeing 2010
Pumped to Snowshoe Hollyburn Snowshoe Water Break Work it Ladies Snow Art Sliding Wear and Tear Crisp View of Vancouver Snow Covered Trees At the Peak Eating Lunch with the Whiskey Jacks Cypress Mountain Ski Resort Hollyburn Peak View Snowy Peak-A-Boo The Best Way to Get Down Just Watch Out For That Tree! Snowshoe Jump Snowy Stretch Big Air Snowshoeing Success
more pictures from Tina’s camera, including a few that I’m actually in.

Hollyburn Snowshoeing 2009
Hollyburn Hike Up Lunch Time Hungry Rabbits Peak Birthday Cake Snow Lions Vancouver From Hollyburn Snowshoeing Group Shot Snowshoeing Up Sledding Down