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Vancouver is surrounded by seemingly endless hiking trails and mountains to explore. Massive parks line up one after another. Mount Seymour Provincial Park, Lynn Park, Grouse, Cypress and the enormous Garibaldi Provincial Park all contribute to Vancouver being an incredible hiking paradise.
Black Mountain can be reached from two different trailheads. The trailhead from Cypress Resort and the original trail off Marine Drive halfway between Horseshoe Bay and Lighthouse Park. The Cypress Mountain Resort is the newer, shorter and easier way to access Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs. Located just a short and very nice, 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver, the Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs trail begins next to the Cypress Mountain Resort chairlifts. The well marked trail branches away from the chairlift to the left and quickly ascends into the deep and beautiful forest. Follow the clear signs to Eagle Bluffs. The route can be done in a circle route, so try to take the other route on the way back for variety. Black Mountain is a short side trail off this circle route. Allow yourself 3-4 hours for the 8k return trip. The elevation gain is 350m in 4k. Expect to need snowshoes Dec-May. During these months use caution as snow may obscure the trail markers and combined with bad weather can very easily make you lose the trail. Cypress Mountain is an access point for several beautiful Vancouver hiking trails.
Brunswick Mountain is the highest peak in the North Shore mountains. Located in the beautiful Cypress Provincial Park, Brunswick Mountain is among several other prominent summits on the amazing Howe Sound Crest Trail. You can reach Brunswick from the Howe Sound Crest Trail if you begin your hike from the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort, however reaching it from the trailhead in Lions Bay is much shorter. This trailhead is also used to reach The Lions, Mount Harvey and Mount Hanover. The trail is challenging as you gain considerable elevation in a short distance, 1550 metres in just 7.3k. The trailhead to Brunswick Mountain is a bit tricky to find. It is located in the nice little town of Lions Bay which is 40 minutes to an hours drive from downtown Vancouver, or 30 minutes south of Squamish.
Burnaby Lake has a series of trails that add up to 9k if done in a circular route around the lake. There are in fact 19k of trails in the park. The various trails include the 2.6k Cottonwood Trail, the 1.8k Brunette Headwaters Trail, the .8k Avalon Trail which connects the Burnaby Equestrian Centre with the Southshore Trail. The 3.4k Southshore Trail, and the smaller trails, Conifer Loop, Spruce Trail Loop and the Pavillion Trail. Take a look at the Metro Vancouver map to plan your hiking at Burnaby Lake Regional Park. The easiest place to start hiking in Burnaby Lake Park is to start at the Nature House on Piper Ave. From the Lougheed Highway in Burnaby, turn south on Brighton Ave, then right on Winston Ave, then left on Piper Ave. Burnaby Lake is often alive with activity. Whether on the water or around it. Over 400 types of creatures live in the area. Bald eagles, ospreys, herons, beavers and ducks are all frequently seen. Hiking and birdwatching are the main draws to the park, however, canoeing, rowing and kayaking are also done here. The Burnaby Canoe and Kayak Club and the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club practice here.
Burnaby Mountain, just 30 minutes east of downtown Vancouver has a nice network of popular trails with fantastic views of Vancouver, Burrard Inlet and beyond. The trails link to the wonderful Trans Canada Trail. The Trans Canada Trail when completed in 2017 will stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and up to the Arctic Ocean. When completed it will be a 23000 kilometre multi-use, hiking/biking/walking trail that spans North America. The Burnaby Mountain trails are all fairly easy and well laid out. All combined the trails probably add up to less than 10k, so expect to wander around for 1-3 hours. Parking is free and there is a beautiful restaurant with amazing views called Horizons Restaurant which you shouldn't miss. From downtown Vancouver, take E Hastings. After about 25 minutes it will become the Burnaby Mountain Parkway. Take a left onto Centennial Way. Parking is free.
Coliseum Mountain is one of several beautiful hikes in the Lynn Valley's beautiful Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. It's not terribly difficult, but it is very long. 12 kilometres from the trailhead to the summit. Although the first 7 kilometres are along the very easy Headwaters Trail with little elevation gain. The final 5 kilometres is at times challenging, but manageable by most as there is only a few short sections of scrambling terrain, but certainly not technical. The route is well marked along the way with flagging tape, so the main safety concern is the distance of the trail. 24k roundtrip will take most hikers 8+ hours, so be prepared with lots of food and start early. At a decent hiking pace you should reach the summit in 4.5 hours and take 3.5 hours back to the trailhead. But of course that doesn't count the amount of time taking in all the views from the top or the various stops along the way.
Crown Mountain, visible from downtown Vancouver, towers behind Grouse Mountain. It was appropriately named due to its crown shape over 150 years ago by an English captain charting the area. This very challenging hike offers some phenomenal views from its summit, deep in the North Shore Mountains. There are three main ways to reach the amazing Crown Mountain. As it is located near Grouse Mountain, the most direct way to reach it is via Grouse Mountain. You can either hike the Grouse Grind for free or take the SkyRide for $25 (return). From the Grouse Mountain Chalet the hike to Crown Mountain is 9.4k return and should take about 5 or 6 hours to complete. If you hike/run the Grouse Grind as well then add 2.9k to the journey there and 3.5k to the return (via the BCMC trail adjacent to the Grouse Grind) to get back to your car. The third and most challenging way to access Crown Mountain is by beginning and ending at the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park trailhead. This is a tough, but amazing 20k (one way) route to Crown Mountain through the amazing Lynn Valley.
The beautiful Cypress Falls trail has two nice waterfalls to see as well as an impressive forest of old growth Cedars and Douglas Firs. The trailhead to Cypress Falls Regional Park is located in West Vancouver, just off the Sea to Sky Highway(99). From the trailhead to the lower falls is easy to follow. There are quite a few smaller trails that join the main trail leading to various connecting routes to the main trail. Always stay on the main trail to avoid getting lost. When you reach the lower falls the main trail splits in two. You can either back up and continue again on the main trail heading up the west side of the creek and leading to the upper Cypress Falls. Or you can cross the creek and follow the trail to an amazing, old growth forest. Continuing through the forest will lead to a gate and fence. Turn left here and you will connect back on the trail to the upper Cypress Falls. The roundtrip hike to both the lower and upper falls is about 3k and is very family friendly taking about an hour to complete. Another beautiful trail close by and also fairly easy and family friendly is the wonderful Lighthouse Park, just a short drive away on Marine Drive. Both Cypress Falls and Lighthouse Park can be done in an afternoon.
Deeks Peak is at the far north end of the beautiful Howe Sound Crest Trail which runs from Cypress Resort 29k away. The trailhead near Porteau Cove is the access point for both Deeks Peak and Deeks Lake. It is a steadily uphill hike as you gain 1615 metres in just 8k. The trail is also very overgrown and strewn with fallen trees. A multi-day hike in this area via the Howe Sound Crest Trail where you can hike a couple or all of the amazing peaks. Brunswick Mountain,Mount Hanover, Mount Harvey and The Lions stretch off into the distance eventually leading to Cypress Mountain 29k away. Backcountry camping is possible in several phenomenal sites along the trail. None of them are sanctioned or maintained so don't expect any facilities but there are countless streams, waterfalls and lakes to put a tent by.
At the far end of the Baden Powell Trail, in the cute town of Deep Cove is home to the fantastic Deep Cove Lookout trail. Also known as Quarry Rock and the Grey Rock Trail, the Deep Cove Lookout Trail is amazing. The wonderful trail crosses numerous creek bridges to get to the impressive lookout with views of Deep Cove and Indian Arm far below. Indian Arm is a 20k fjord that cuts deep into the mainland. The slopes on either side are heavily forested and steep and therefore have seen little human development as compared to the heavily populated regions nearby. The hike is fairly relaxing. There is free parking off Panorama Drive and the trailhead is marked with a Baden Powell Trail sign. The first kilometre sees most of the 160 metre elevation gain and from then on it is a relaxing walk in the woods the the beautiful lookout. Dogs are welcome on the trail and there are washrooms at the parking lot. Deep Cove is a very pretty coastal town full of nice shops and restaurants as well as a nice pier and marina to wander around in.
Deer Lake is a relaxing 5 kilometre walk around a cute urban lake just 30 minutes from Vancouver. The route around the lake is good any time of year and is very popular with dog walkers in and around Burnaby. Trails in the park lead to a kids playground, washrooms, a boat launch and picnic tables. In the summer months Deer Lake Boat Rentals offers canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals. Gas or electric motors are not allowed. Deer Lake is also home to the Burnaby Art Gallery, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby Village Museum and Century Gardens. The Burnaby Art Gallery manages the City of Burnaby's permanent art collection while the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts is a multi-purpose community arts facility providing public exhibitions, performances, festivals and art classes. The Burnaby Village Museum depicts life in the area from the 1920's. They have reconstructed 31 full scale buildings over 10 acres, with staff in costumes of the day. Deer Lake is located in Burnaby, just a short drive from downtown Vancouver. Just south of the Trans Canada Highway, take the Willingdon Ave exit, then left onto Deer Lake Parkway, then right onto Royal Oak Ave, then left onto Oakmount Crescent to Deer Lake Park.
Dog Mountain is a beautiful, short and fun hike (or snowshoe trek) close to Vancouver and starting from the parking lot of Mount Seymour Resort. Just 2.2k gets you from your car to breathtaking views of the big city below. This area is popular all year-round and there are plenty of trails to choose from. In the summer the trails include, Mount Elsay, a beautiful and very challenging 16k roundtrip hike to a beautiful mountain peak. Mount Seymour, a moderately challenging 8k roundtrip to the top of Seymour and amazing panoramic views. And Goldie Lake and Mystery Lake, which have their own comparatively easy, family friendly trails. Dog Mountain is fairly popular, so even in the depths of winter you will find the trail in the snow well packed down and easily followed. It is also a favourite evening hike to catch the sun setting over Vancouver. If you are new to Vancouver hiking, you will learn that anytime of the year, catching the sun setting over Vancouver from Dog Mountain is a cherished habit for many locals. Dog Mountain is a fantastic hike for many reasons, but unexpectedly, partly because of the drive to the trailhead. The trailhead is located at the far end of the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Ski Resort. The beautifully winding and always scenic drive takes you from the astonishing rainforest that engulfs North Vancouver abruptly into the heights of Mount Seymour, Dog Mountain, and Suicide Bluffs beyond. There are amazing vantage points at many bends in the road and you will certainly need to stop at least once on the journey to take in the amazing views.
Goat Mountain is a beautiful mountain to hike from Grouse Mountain. It is challenging at times but fairly relaxing overall. It is just 4k from the Grouse Mountain Chalet and should only take 3-4 hours roundtrip from the top of the SkyRide. If you hike/run the Grouse Grind as well then add 2.9k to the journey there and 3.5k to the return (via the BCMC trail adjacent to the Grouse Grind) to get back to your car. From the Grouse Chalet on Grouse Mountain follow the path under the Peak Chair until you reach the trailhead and hiker check-in station. From here you follow the marked trail to Goat Mountain. You can either hike via Dam Mountain, or take the easier Alpine Trail. Both are roughly the same distance, but the Alpine Trail is a bit easier. The trail then leads to Little Goat Mountain and a fork in the trail. Straight goes to the huge Crown Mountain ahead, and right goes to Goat Mountain just .7k away. With the exception of the last, short climb to the summit of Goat Mountain, which is fairly steep, the trail is only moderately challenging. For a more challenging hike, try the nearby Crown Mountain.
The Goldie Lake trail in Mount Seymour Provincial Park is a cute, self-guided interpretive trail that runs around this small mountain lake. Although it is only 4 kilometres(roundtrip) for the normal loop trail, there are some side-trail variations that can lengthen and vary the route to almost 6k. Flower Lake is one of these trails and well worth the look. Certainly one of the more family friendly hikes on in Mount Seymour Park when compared to the more rigorous hikes like the nearby Mount Seymour and Mount Elsay hikes. If you are hoping for a swim in an alpine lake then Mystery Lake, also in Mount Seymour Park is the best bet and also family friendly at just 3 kilometres for the roundtrip hike. Mystery Lake is much nicer for swimming as it is crystal clear and surrounded by rock outcrops ideal for lounging in the sun.
Everyone knows the Grouse Grind as the fantastically popular 2.9k, workout in Vancouver. What is less known is that it is the gateway, or rather back door to some amazing hiking in the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. Dam Mountain, Goat Mountain, Crown Mountain, Norvan Falls, Coliseum Mountain, Lynn Peak and quite a lot more lay across the horizon from the top of the Grind. Whether you start at the base of the Grind or at the top of the SkyRide, the beautifully addictive Grouse Grind is, for many, just the beginning of the trail to so much more. Lynn Headwaters Regional Park begins several kilometres away at the Lynn Valley trailhead and beautiful trails follow Lynn Creek for 7k to Norvan Falls. The trail then turns into Hanes Valley, connecting to Crown Mountain, Goat Mountain, Dam Mountain and finally leading to Grouse Mountain. The trail from the Lynn Headwaters trailhead to Grouse is about 20k as it carves a giant arc through the valley.
Hollyburn Mountain, in Cypress Provincial Park, is an amazing place to snowshoe or go hiking. The Hollyburn trailhead is an astonishingly close, 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The 30 minute drive is quite something as well. From the always beautiful crossing of the beautiful Lions Gate Bridge, to the incredible views of Vancouver from the approach drive to Cypress Mountain and the Hollyburn Mountain trailhead. You would almost expect that there would be various fees for parking, trail use, etc. But the Hollyburn Mountain snowshoeing and hiking trail is completely free, and also quite convenient. You will likely be able to park withing a few metres of the hiking/snowshoeing trailhead and if you don't happen to own snowshoes, you can rent them at the trailhead for a very reasonable price. As if it couldn't get better, it does... the trail is so well marked that it can easily be done after dark, as many do. What a perfect escape from the city. Hollyburn Mountain is a perfect escape to a towering mountain paradise far above Vancouver below. The city lights are amazing. From the lights of the Lions Gate Bridge, to the beautifully bright tankers, to the wondrously glowing Vancouver towers.
The Kitsilano beaches begin as soon as you cross the Burrard Bridge and enter the residential paradise of Kitsilano. Though only this first beach is named Kitsilano Beach, you can walk from one beach to the next via some short and scenic residential detours. So you can connect the beautiful Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach, then Locarno Beach then Spanish Bank Beach. Walking them all will add up to about 8k (one way) of wonderfully varied beaches, parks, marinas, the enormous Kits Pool and endless vantage points to English Bay and Burrard Inlet. This is not a hiking route but rather a fantastic beach walk anytime of the year. With the changing weather and seasons change the wonderful feel you get walking around Vancouver. There are plenty of places to park near all of the various parks and beaches as well as the large pay parking lot on Arbutus Street next to the beach. Kitsilano is a wonderful place to go for a coffee or dinner and there are endless restaurants just a few blocks from the beach.
Lighthouse Park is an extraordinarily little known piece of paradise, so close to to Vancouver as to see its tall buildings, yet immersed into a dramatically beautiful coastal rainforest. A wonderful network of hiking trails winds throughout massive Douglas-fir trees and Western Red Cedars as well as golden Arbutus trees stretching toward the ocean. There are so many great aspects of this hike. The first is the beautiful drive to get there. Marine Drive spectacularly hugs the rugged and steep coast of West Vancouver. This beautiful stretch of road is a great attraction to Lighthouse Park as it takes you along an easily overlooked, yet beautiful area of Vancouver. Another great attraction to the park is the wonderful variation of trails. They stretch out in several directions in the thick forest, each leading to breathtaking ocean viewpoints. Another is the variety of wildlife. Along with the majestic trees there are the occasional bald eagles, oystercatchers, seagulls, shore crabs, hermit crabs and starfish, among quite a lot else. Another is the seemingly endless array of picnic tables and even better, rock outcrops at the edge of the Georgia Strait and Pacific Ocean beyond.
Lynn Canyon Park is an easy and strikingly beautiful park and yet another locals favourite. So close to downtown Vancouver at only 30 minutes away, yet you feel as if you are in a remote forest. There are a few different routes to take and this park is also connected to the Baden Powell Trail which adds to the hiking possibilities. Lynn Canyon Park is its own rainforest world deep in the forest of North Van. Part of the temperate rainforest that stretches from Alaska to Northern California. Lynn Canyon is filled with second growth, though still impressive, Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedars. The suspension bridge is much smaller than the popular and expensive Capilano Suspension Bridge, though still impressive.. and free. There are in fact, several trails in Lynn Canyon Park. The Twin Falls Loop Trail is a beautiful, 30 minute trail that takes you across the suspension bridge, then Lynn Creek at Twin Falls Bridge and over two waterfalls. The Thirty Foot Pool Trail is a quick trail across the suspension bridge to the impressive Thirty Foot Pool. The Beaver Trail leads away from the suspension bridge and Twin Falls area of Lynn Canyon and follows the Baden Powell Trail to Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.
Lynn Peak is a beautifully forested hiking trail is a local favourite running route comparable to the Grouse Grind. In 4.5k the trail rises 730 metres and hardly ever in a straight line. There are a few good viewpoints on the hike to Lynn Peak. It is convenient hiking trail, close to downtown Vancouver as it is only about a 30 minute drive away into the magnificent rainforest of North Van. From the trailhead at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park you will see a sign for the Lynn Loop Trail, there are maps here or click on the map to the right and print it out from the Lynn Headwaters Regional Parks site. You don't really need a map for Lynn Peak. You simply get on the Lynn Loop Trail and look for the sign for Lynn Peak shortly after the trailhead. The trail winds and ascends quickly from here for the 4k to the summit and the fantastic views.
Mount Elsay is a tough 16k roundtrip hike that takes you beyond Mount Seymour and the crowds into the desolate backcountry of Mount Seymour Provincial Park. To get to the marked Mount Elsay trail you have to follow the trail to Mount Seymour. Mount Elsay is a difficult and dangerous trail to hike if you are unprepared or poorly equipped. The trail is often very difficult and losing the trail is very possible even in good weather. The trailhead for Mount Seymour (which leads to the Mount Elsay trail) is easy to find once you have reached the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Resort. To get to the main parking lot simply drive until you come to the end of the road and the end of the final parking lot (you will see ski lifts). Looking towards the end of this long parking lot you will see a large, round wooden map board (indicated on the map below by the red marker). Walk along the trees (directly up on the map below). From here on there are frequent tree markers and signs directing you to Mount Seymour. Follow this route until you get to the col between Second Peak and Third Peak where the Elsay trail starts.
Mount Fromme is the thickly forested Mountain next to Grouse Mountain. If looking from the direction of downtown Vancouver, Fromme is just to the right. It is infrequently hiked, at least partly due to the high number of amazing hikes surrounding it. Fromme gets a bit lost in mix. Recent years have brought an amazing array of mountain biking trails on the mountain and you are far more likely to encounter mountain bikers than hikers on the mountain. There are at least three ways to reach the summit of Fromme, though the Per Gynt trail is a good route. The trail is often steep however well marked through a well established bike trail network. From the end of St Georges street walk the trail and turn right then left onto St Georges trail that rises steeply eventually leading to the Per Gynt Trail.
Mount Hanover is another amazing and accessible peak in the North Shore mountains. Located in the beautiful Cypress Provincial Park, Mount Hanover is among several other prominent summits on the amazing Howe Sound Crest Trail. You can reach Mount Hanover from the Howe Sound Crest Trail if you begin your hike from the Cypress Mountain Resort, however reaching it from the trailhead in Lions Bay is much shorter. This trailhead is also used to reach The Lions, Mount Harvey and Brunswick Mountain. There is no established route to Hanover after you leave the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Fortunately Hanover towers visibly in the distance at all times, so the best method to reach the summit is to route find your way as you go. This of course makes Mount Hanover a potentially dangerous hike if you are unprepared or unlucky with the weather. Be sure to have a GPS and topo map with you and know what you are doing. The route to the Howe Sound Crest Trail from the Lions Bay trailhead (Lions Binkert trailhead) is the same as the route you would take to Brunswick Mountain so it is well marked with flagging tape though there are few written signs. The trail is challenging as you gain considerable elevation in a short distance, 1550 metres in just 7.3k.
Mount Harvey is one of the huge, visible and hikeable summits in the North Shore mountains. It is located on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park near The Lions. Reachable via the Howe Sound Crest Trail or by its own trailhead in Lions Bay. The same trailhead used for The Lions, Brunswick Mountain and Mount Hanover. There are no trail use fees, parking fees or camping fees from this trailhead. The trail is challenging, though not out of technical skill but due to its steepness of the trail. You gain 1400 metres in just 6.5k. The final scramble to the summit can be dangerous in poor weather, but generally not too difficult. The trail to Mount Harvey is well worn, but poorly marked for the first half of the hike. From the trailhead continue up the old, overgrown logging road. Bear right at the first intersection. The second intersection you come to, bear right again (left goes to Mt Brunswick). The third junction you come to bear right again. Finally at the fourth intersection you will see a sign for The Lions pointing to the right. You want to take the trail to the left here. This is the crucial trail marker not to miss and therefore it is very visible. From here the trail is easy to follow.
The busy Mount Seymour trail in Seymour Provincial Park is a locals favourite. It is challenging and an excellent workout at 4k from the trailhead to the summit. The views are phenomenal. On a clear day you can see as far as Vancouver Island as well as amazing views of Vancouver, the lower mainland and the Gulf Islands. Located in the beautiful Mount Seymour Provincial Park there are several hikes in the area. There are a few easy lake trails like Mystery Lake and Goldie Lake. These are family friendly hikes. Another, relatively easy hike branches off shortly after the start of the trail to Mount Seymour. Dog Mountain, easy and also family friendly and very popular in the winter as a snowshoeing trail. Mount Seymour Provincial Park is very dog friendly and backcountry camping is welcome in several areas. Usually beyond Mount Seymour in the Elsay Lake part of the park.
Mount Strachan is part of the trio of mountains, also Black Mountain and Hollyburn Mountain that form a bowl, or Cypress Bowl that give the resort its name. The Cypress part of the name comes from the Cypress or Yellow Cedar that fills the valley. Both Strachan and Hollyburn are easy hikes from the Cypress Resort parking lot. For Strachan you can start near the main lodge walk directly up the gravel road past the chairlift and bear left. The route is boring and uneventful as you are following ski runs, however the summit has amazing views. Strachan is part of the 29k Howe Sound Crest Trail as it lays at the one end of this span at the Cypress Trailhead. It can be reached by the Howe Sound Crest Trail, however, the route is not yet marked and a bit difficult to find. Among the hiker friendly mountains (from Cypress north) on the Howe Sound Crest Trail are: Mount Strachan, St Mark`s Summit, Mount Unnecessary, The Lions, Mount Harvey, Mount Hanover, Brunswick Mountain and finally Deeks Peak.