Tag Archives: day hike

Greater Vancouver Hike – Capilano Canyon

Capilano River
Date: July 17, 2011

Location: Capilano River Regional Park, North Vancouver (map)

Description: The Capilano River Regional Park is great place to take the family for an easy hike. It’s quick and convenient to get to by public transit, the Cleveland Dam is an impressive sight, and the hatchery provides an educational and interesting diversion.

There are numerous trails crisscrossing the park, but we followed the trail description outlined on the vancouvertrails.com website. It starts at the Cleveland Dam, follows the Upper Shinglebolt trail, and then around the Coho Loop to the hatchery, and back along the Pallisades trail to where you started (map of the park – PDF).

The highlights of the hike were seeing the Cleveland Dam, which creates the Capilano Reservoir – the source of much of Vancouver’s awesome drinking water; wandering through the hatchery (it’s a free attraction) which had good viewing areas for salmon of various species and ages; and walking along the serene trails through towering forests. The area around the dam and the hatchery were quite crowded with tourists, but the hiking trails were quiet. The area is all second growth forest, with the stumps of old giants visible in several places, but the trees still tower above you.

Total Time: 2 hours
Hiking: 1 hour loop
Lunch Break: 30 minutes
Exploring Hatchery: 30 minutes

Transportation: The #236 bus provides service every 15 minutes from Londsale Quay to the trailhead at the Cleveland Dam (Google Maps directions).

Pictures: Capilano Canyon Hike 2011
Cleveland Dam Shinglebolt Hike Tree Stump Fungus Hikers Stairs Out Hiker Feet Hiking in the Capilano River Regional Park Salmon Berry Capilano River Salmon

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 – Mount Seymour (First Pump Peak)

Lunch at 1st Pump Peak

Date: January 22, 2011

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.

More trail descriptions can be found here and here. You can also check out the map and elevation profile from the GPS on my phone.

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 $10 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.

Snowshoe Start
Snowshoeing with the Holdings
Busy Snowshoe Trail
Brockton Point
Snowshoe Hike
Blue Sky Snowshoe
Steep Ascent
First Pump Peak
Unmarked Trail to 2nd and 3rd Peaks
1st Pump Peak Jump
Emily at 1st Pump  Peak
Crazy Carpet Descent
Lost Carpet
Snow Wedgie
Snowy Slide
Ice Inukshuk

Pictures: Mount Seymour Snowshoeing 2011

Greater Vancouver Snowshoe – Dog Mountain

Vancouver From Dog Mountain
Date:March 30, 2014, January 13, 2013, December 26, 2010, January 3, 2010, and March 10, 2009

Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park (map)

Description: Dog Mountain is the best introductory snowshoe in the Vancouver area. Suitable for all ability levels, it’s a great trail to take friends and family who have no snowshoeing experience. The trail is a series of gentle ups and downs ending at the Dog Mountain viewpoint which overlooks all of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Howe Sound.

Like Hollyburn Mountain at Cypress, Dog Mountain is a free trail to snowshoe. It starts at the Mount Seymour Ski Resort parking lot, but is separate from the paid trails. That said, you can still use the ski resort lodge, which is an ideal spot to rest, warmup, and eat after your snowshoe. You can also rent snowshoes if you need an extra pair.

The Dog Mountain trail starts at the far, west end of the ski resort parking lot and heads away from the ski runs. The half way point is First Lake, a great spot to stop for a rest. The trail is popular with families, dog walkers (how apropos), and snowshoe runners. It’s well marked, often well-packed, and easy to follow. I always think it’s a “flat” trail, but there are a few ups and downs that will give less fit hikers a challenge and provide good crazy carpet runs on your return hike. Although the trail is pretty safe, you should always check the avalanche risk before you start your hike.

Here’s my GPS map of the hike, including the walk from the parking lot, plus an elevation chart. More detailed trail description can be found here and here. If you’re looking for a longer, more strenuous hike, you can follow the Mount Seymour Trail up to the peak.

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
To Dog Mountain: 1 hour (First Lake is the halfway point)
Break at the Viewpoint: 30 minutes
Return Snowshoe: 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: March 2014 January 2013 December 2010, January 2010, and March 2009
Ready to Snowshoe Snowshoeing Dog Mountain Blustery View from Dog Mountain Dog Mountain Peak in the Snow Huddled Snow Lunch Seymour Snowshoe Whiskey Jack Extremely Crazy Carpeting Mountain Girl BC Winter Hiking Jumping Beans Crazy Carpet Sliding Snow Shoeing Mosaic Snow Sliding Mosaic Not Easy Jumping in Snowshoes High Road or Load Road Wander Schneien Trail to Dog Mountain Wintry Sunset Snow Shoe Me Snowshoers Snowshoeing Break Snowshoes as Art Top of Dog Mountain Snowy Trees First Lake Ice Wipeout Ships in the Mist At the top of Dog Mountain Christopher + Emily End of the Snowshoe Wintry Snowshoeing Frosted Dog Mountain On Dog Mountain Emily and the Snowman Snowman

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

Greater Vancouver Hike – Eaton Lake

Eaton Lake Panoramic
Date: October 3, 2010

Location: Near Hope, BC (map)

Description: The definitive guide 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia lists the Eaton Lake trail as its 8th steepest hike, with an average grade of 22.8%. The reward for the conquering the gruelling ascent is a break along the edge of a crystal clear lake nestled in the mountains. Along the way you pass some amazing waterfalls and cross Eaton Creek over sketchy bridges.

The trail is really well marked with km markings every 500 meters plus a few motivational signs to keep you going. There are 3 creek crossings that keep the hike interesting. All 3 original bridges either destroyed or broken. The first bridge has been replaced by a large tree without any railings or ropes. The detour around the 2nd broken bridge involved crawling over a dam of small trees. The 3rd bridge was in the best shape, but most of the hand railing was missing. Nothing like fear of falling in a creek to liven up a hike.

The other highlights of the hike are the thundering waterfall above the first bridge and the view of Eaton Lake when you get to the top. We were lucky to have good autumn weather and the sun made an appearance while we ate lunch, but it was still very cold.

More trail descriptions here and here.

Total Time: 5 1/2 hours
Ascent: 2 hours 30 minutes (at a strong pace)
Lunch Break: 1 hour
Descent: 2 hours

Transportation: The trail starts past Silver Lake Provincial Park just off Silver Skagit Road. It is a 2 hour drive from Vancouver (Google Maps directions).

Pictures: Eaton Lake
Eaton Lake Trail Head Sketchy Bridge #1 Eaton Creek Waterfall Gets Better, Promise U Can Do It! Almost Not Eaton Lake Eaton Creek Sketchy Bridge #3 Eaton Lake Eaton Lake Panoramic Fly Fishing Fall Reflections Eaton Lake Whiskey Jack Eaton Lake in the Fall

Greater Vancouver Hike – Cedar Mills & Headwaters Trail Loop

Ghosts of Once Mighty Trees
Date: August 21, 2010

Location: North Vancouver (map)

Description: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is the starting point for many great hikes of varying lengths and difficulty levels. One of the easier hikes is the Cedar Mills & Headwaters Trail Loop. It seemed more popular with trail runners and dog walkers, then with hikers.

The western branch of the loop is very flat and offers occasional glimpses of Lynn Creek. The eastern branch has some hills to climb and two “points of interest” to explore – some giant boulders and a viewpoint. Both make for good rest spots, but are nothing spectacular. We ate our lunch on top of one of the giant boulders.

There are lots of junctions along the trail for other hikes (like Lynn Peak), but every branch is well marked with signposts and maps so you shouldn’t get lost. Printed maps are available at the End of the Line General Store (near the bus stop), the trail head next to the parking lot, and online.

Total Time: 4 1/2 hours
Cedars Mill Trail (3.9 km): 1 hour (30 minutes per section)
Headwaters Trail (5.1 km): 1 1/2 hours (45 minutes per section)
Detours for boulders and viewpoint: 30 minutes
Lunch Break: 30 minutes
Hike to/from bus stop (Varney Trail): 30 minutes each way

Transportation: Lynn Headwaters is transit accessible. There are 2 buses (one from Vancouver and one from Lonsdale Quay) that drop you off near Dempsey and Lynn Valley Road. Your first stop should be the End of the Line General Store, which has maps of the park. The park is a 30 minute walk north, either via Lynn Valley Road (google maps), or the Varney Trail, which runs between the road and the creek and starts on Rice Lake Road. Both routes will take 30 minutes.

Pictures: Lynn Headwaters
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park Lynn Creek Abandoned Trailer Headwaters Trail Giant Boulder Leap Ghosts of Once Mighty Trees Disappointing Viewpoint The End of the Line