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Vancouver Hiking in November - The Lions

Hike in Whistler & Garibaldi Provincial ParkHike in Squamish & Garibaldi Provincial ParkHike in VancouverHike in Tofino & ClayoquotHike in Victoria & Vancouver IslandHike the West Coast Trail WCT

Best Hiking in November

Elfin Lakes Snowshoeing in Garibaldi ParkNovember is when the temperature in Vancouver falls and snow begins to fall as well in the mountains.  The hiking trails turn into snowshoeing trails.  One amazing trail to snowshoe in November is up in Squamish, the Elfin Lakes trail.  You can do it in a long day snowshoeing trip, though it is long, 22k return.  A better option is to stay in the beautiful Elfin Lakes Hut at Elfin Lakes, 11k from the trailhead.  The area is amazing and halfway up the trail you reach an amazing ridge, where the snowshoeing is very relaxed and the views amazing all the way to the hut.  There is a usage charge, $15, which seems Best Easy Hiking Trails in Vancouver - Stanley Parkvery high, but it is a beautiful hut, solar powered and heated by propane.  If you are adventurous and have lots of stamina the Wedgemount Lake hut and the Russet Lake hut are free, though definitely a good workout to reach in November.  If you do though, you will almost certainly have them to yourself and there is no charge to use. Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver is a beautiful and astoundingly huge network of hiking/walking/biking trails.  An estimated 8 million hikers, walkers, rollerbladers and cyclists visit the park yearly.  The wonderful spider web of trails throughout the park Best Easy Hiking Trails in Vancouver - Lighthouse Parkadd up to a staggering 200 kilometres, which explains how the park generally feels serene and relatively quiet most days despite its phenomenal popularity.  Stanley Park can be walked or biked in any number of routes and lengths.  Certainly one of the popular, and most straight forward routes is by a large, 10k circle, paved trail that runs around the perimeter.  Some trees stand over 70 metres (249 ft) and are centuries old.  The Best Easy Hiking Trails in Vancouver - Burnaby Mountainmore impressive trees include Douglas-fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Sitka Spruce.  The trees are numerous and the forest so thick that you would certainly get lost if not for the excellent and well organized trail layout in the park. 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.  Best Easy Hiking Trails in Vancouver - Pacific Spirit ParkWhen 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.   Pacific Spirit Park surrounds the University of British Columbia on the shores of Georgia Straight.  The park has a beautiful array of trails, 73 kilometres in total, that run along beaches, some old growth forest and even a bog.  The network of trails interconnects so often Lynn Canyon Park - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trailsthat you can do small 15 minute sections if that is all you are after.  Pacific Spirit Park is one of Vancouver's most popular parks and located in the wonderful and expensive neighbourhood, Point Grey.  You can wander the park for hours if you want as there are an endless number of trails heading in all directions. The park is open during daylight hours and there are plenty of washrooms and food stands.  Most trails are hard packed gravel and only the occasional elevation change.  More than 50 of the 73 kilometres of trails are designated as multi-use, allowing for biking and horseback riding as Cypress Falls - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trailswell as hiking/walking.  Much of the park is in deep forest, however, stairs lead to various beaches along the ocean.  Steep stairs descend through thick forest to finally open up at these unexpectedly beautiful beaches.  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 Deep Cove Lookout - Hiking in Vancouverthroughout 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 Stawamus Chief Provincial Parkbreathtaking ocean viewpoints.  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 Shannon Falls Provincial Parkmainland.  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 restaurantsUpper Shannon Falls as well as a nice pier and marina to wander around in.  Even though the snow begins in November there are some good hiking options early in the month.  Cheakamus Lake in Whistler is amazing in the fall with the golden leaves all along the trail and the incredibly serene lake.  In Squamish the Stawamus Chief is usually free of snow, and if not, usually still hike-able without snowshoes because of the steepness and popularity of the trail.  The Brandywine Falls Provincial ParkUpper Shannon Falls Trail is similarly great in November, however fairly tricky when the snow gets deep.  The regular Shannon Falls trail to the main view point is accessible year-round no matter the weather.  Alice Lake Park is another easy trail open year-round and just minutes from Squamish.  Other waterfalls that can be seen in November include Brandywine Falls, 20 minutes north of Squamish and Alexander Falls about 40 minutes north.  Nairn Falls is a nice, half hour hike to see, and they are located 1 hour north of Squamish near Pemberton.  Hikes in the Garibaldi Lake area are pretty enticing in November.  More than you would think.  The trailheads such as the Rubble Creek trailhead and the Cheakamus Lake trailhead are still free of snow enough to drive to which they are not the rest of the winter.  So you save a couple kilometres of steep and boring hiking that you have to do in the following few months.  And the snow is thin and the trail easy to follow for at least part of the hike.  A summit attempt on Black Tusk may be too ambitious in November, but a circle route of Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake is relatively easy to do.  Take a look at the the best hiking and snowshoeing trails in Vancouver here..

 

Vancouver Hiking in December - Lighthouse Park

Best Hiking and Snowshoeing in December

Stawamus Chief Provincial ParkDecember hiking in and around Vancouver is of course often done on snowshoes.  With the exception of the Stawamus Chief, Shannon Falls and Alice Lake up in Squamish (45 minutes drive north of Downtown Vancouver), and various hikes in Vancouver such as Lighthouse Park, the Lynn Valley trails.  Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC.  The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old growth forest to get to the base of the falls.  From your car to the viewpoint takes only about four minutes, however the trail continues a bit further Shannon Falls Provincial Parkto a higher viewpoint (five minutes higher).  You can even continue along the trail and join with the Stawamus Chief trail which goes to the three summits of the Chief.  The trail to the Chiefs peaks are very steep and almost constant stairs to be prepared for quite a workout comparable to the Grouse Grind in Vancouver.  The trailhead is just south of the Stawamus Chief trailhead, south of Squamish.  The Chief is the mammoth rock face that towers over Squamish. Though hardly believable from looking at, the summit is only a one hour hike.  In fact there are three peaks, South (First),Upper Shannon Falls Centre (Second), and North (Third). Each accessible from the single trailhead.  The wonderful Upper Shannon Falls trail goes almost completely unnoticed, branching off from the chaotically popular Stawamus Chief trail.  About 15 minutes along the Stawamus Chief trail you will see a well marked trail branch off to the right into the forest.  This is the Upper Shannon Falls Trail and is remarkably unused.  This is a wonderful fact though Rice Lake - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trailsas hundreds hike the Chief on any given weekend day, though only a handful hike this trail.  The Upper Shannon Falls trail, the Stawamus Chief trail and Shannon Falls Provincial Park are all connected by trails.  Other Vancouver area hiking possibilities, that is without snowshoes, are the various waterfalls around the Squamish area in addition to Shannon Falls.  Such as Brandywine Falls and Nairn Falls.  You can still easily get to both of these despite snow, though both parking lots will be closed by gates and a wall of snow, so you will have to park outside the gates.  Both will have areasBurnaby Lake - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trails plowed to park though and depending on the deepness of the snow, snowshoes might possibly be needed.  Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the way to or from Whistler.  The falls drop from a 66 metre, unnaturally abrupt cliff to the valley below.  It is such a popular and beautiful sight that it is a Provincial Park complete with a large and elaborate viewing platform directly opposite the falls.  Located Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistlerjust 20 minutes south of Whistler, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is just off of the Sea to Sky Highway.  Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the deep and angular channels of rock.  Snowshoeing possibilities are almost endless around Vancouver.  From the brutally difficult, though unbelievably rewarding Wedgemount Lake in Whistler to the very easy and astonishingly beautiful Train Wreck in Whistler.  Check out the WhistlerWhistler Train Wreck list of best places to snowshoe here... and the best easy places to snowshoe here...  It is hard to say enough about the Whistler Train Wreck.  It is fantastic for so many reasons.  First, its location.  Just a short 10 minute drive gets you to the trailhead parking, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway in Function Junction on Alpha Lake Road.  The hike begins by walking south on the Flank Trail and within ten minutes you arrive at some amazing Joffre Lakes Provincial Park Snowshoeingviews of the Cheakamus River.  The trail then runs along the river to more amazing river viewpoints before heading around a bend in the river and into the deep forest that is now home to the decades old train wreck.  Once again phenomenal views of the crashing river and then the amazing train wrecks come into view.  Graffiti style paint brings the dingy wreckage to life with shockingly beautiful colours.  The huge wrecks are enormous up close and mangled.  Some on their sides, some upside down.  Each one (there are several) is an interesting adventure to explore.  A sort of wilderness art exhibit.  The wreckage stretchesHollyburn Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park for almost a kilometre and can bring out the kid in anyone.  The area is very kid friendly as the trails are wide and generally flat.  There are several extraordinarily surreal places to put up a tent or, as many often do, sleep on the edge of the incredible river or even in a wrecked car.  Without a doubt the two best places to snowshoe in December are Elfin Lakes in Squamish and Joffre Lakes north of Pemberton.  Elfin Lakes is beautiful and relaxing, though long at 11k Cheakamus River in Whistlerone way and ends at an amazing hut.  Joffre Lakes is a bit tougher as the trail is obscured in the snow, but can be reliably navigated by following ski tracks.  Joffre Lakes is quite a deep snow, wilderness hike past or across two frozen lakes and reaching the third Joffre Lakes frozen and surrounded by mountains.  Some other amazing snowshoeing hikes in Vancouver are ones such as Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park.  The trailhead is located at the cross country skiing area of the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort.  Parking and trail use is free and the trail is amazingly well marked.  So well markedLighthouse Park - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trails than many snowshoe the trail to Hollyburn Mountain after dark, though with the help of headlights.  Further south at another ski resort, Seymour Ski Resort, you will find a beautiful snowshoeing trail to Dog Mountain & Suicide Bluffs.  This trail is also well marked and free to use by anyone.  Both of these trails have amazing views of Vancouver far below, so if you can try to do them at sunset or sunrise.  If you don't want to snowshoe then Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver is both amazing and snow free year-round.  And conveniently located just minutes from the Sea to Sky Highway on the way to or from Vancouver.  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.   Take a look at the the best hiking and snowshoeing trails in Vancouver here..

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