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Vancouver Hiking Trails - Howe Sound Crest Trail

Joffre Lakes Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsLighthouse Park Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsLogger's Lake Aerial Video - Vancouver Trails

 

Deep Cove - Vancouver Hiking TrailsAt 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.

Why should you hike the Deep Cove Lookout trail in Vancouver?

Deep Cove Lookout is a wonderful, relatively easy, yet beautifully varied trail through the wilderness of Deep Cove.  The lookout viewpoint is always sun facing and on a sunny day you will not want to leave.  There always seems to be something going on down on the water.  Boats cruising back and forth and sometimes people crab fishing off the dock.  Deep Cove is one of many places in Vancouver that an astounding number of locals have not ventured to see, and Deep Cove Lookout has got to be the best way to see it.

More Info & Directions to the Deep Cove Lookout Trail >>

Dog Mountain - Vancouver Hiking TrailsDog 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.

Why should you hike to Dog Mountain in Mt Seymour Provincial Park?

Beautiful trail, dog friendly and great views at the end make this a locals favourite.  You can even grab a beer before or after at the rustic restaurant/cafeteria/pub at the trailhead.  Mount Seymour Provincial Park is amazing.. and the cost?  Parking - free, trails - free, snowshoeing trails in the winter - free, backcountry camping (where permitted) - free.  BC Parks are great!

More Hiking Info & Directions to Dog Mountain in Seymour Park, Vancouver >>

Black Mountain - Vancouver Hiking TrailsBlack 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.  Hollyburn Mountain is a short and easy hike that begins near the Cypress Mountain cross country skiing area.  The Howe Sound Crest Trail extends from the Grouse Mountain Resort parking leading to several amazing mountains.  Mount Strachan, St Mark's Summit, Mount Unnecessary and The Lions are all within hiking distance from here.

Why should you hike to Black Mountain via Cypress?

Black Mountain has great views of Howe Sound from a fairly relaxing and short trail.  Starting from Cypress Resort means you have less elevation to deal with then if you hike from the original trailhead.  The drive to Cypress is beautiful and scenic making the drive to the trailhead half the fun.

More Info on the Black Mountain Hiking Trail in Vancouver >>

Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial ParkElfin Lakes is a wonderfully accessible mountain hiking paradise at the southern end of the mighty Garibaldi Park in Squamish (just an hours drive north of Vancouver).  An amazing hiking or snowshoeing destination on its own, Elfin Lakes is also part of a gateway to so much more.  The Gargoyles, Little Diamond Head, Opal Cone... There is a wonderful, extremely well equipped hut and campsites as well as a ranger station at the lakes. Staying at the amazing hut costs $15, cash only.  Which sounds expensive until you see it.  It looks more like a ski lodge than a mountain hut.  Complete with solar powered lights, heat, propane stoves and room for 33 to sleep.  You will find envelopes to pay at the trailhead.  Camping away from the hut costs $10.  Once again that seem expensive, but the area is very beautiful and popular so park rangers are nearly always around to keep things nice and functional.  The 11 kilometres hiking or snowshoeing route to the Elfin Lakes Hut is well marked and well used.  Unlike most other Garibaldi Park trails, this one can be safely navigated in the dark if needed with a flashlight.  You will often find people on the trail in the dark on the lower section from the Red Heather Hut to the parking lot in Squamish.

Why should you snowshoe to Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park?

Located in Squamish, the Diamond Head trailhead to Garibaldi Provincial Park is fairly convenient from Vancouver.  Just an hours drive from downtown Vancouver gets you into the deep wilderness of this beautiful park.  For several kilometres the Elfin Lakes trail has incredible views in several directions.

More Hiking Info & Directions to  Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park >>

Hollyburn MountainHollyburn 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.

Why should you hike to Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Park?

This hike has it all.  Great views, easy hike, convenient times to use, and of course free.  Hiking or snowshoeing Hollyburn Mountain is yet another spectacular piece of the whole amazing Vancouver experienceHollyburn Mountain is easily done in a half day trip from Vancouver as it is quite close and quite a short hike/snowshoe.  Go early for the amazing sunrise, or late in the day for the unbelievable sunset.

More Hiking Info & Directions to Hollyburn Mountain in Vancouver >>

Lighthouse Park in VancouverLighthouse 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.

Why should you go to Lighthouse Park in Vancouver?

Lighthouse Park is perfectly positioned for wonderful sunsets over Vancouver.  The big city buildings and the strikingly beautiful Lions Gate Bridge dominate the view along with massive shipping tankers.  The park itself is has a beautiful array of trails leading through a wonderful forest and one ocean viewpoint after another.

More Hiking Info & Directions to Lighthouse Park in Vancouver >>

St Mark's Summit View of Howe Sound in VancouverSt Mark's Summit is a relatively easy way to get hiking deep into Vancouver's amazing mountains.  Starting this hike at Cypress means you drive most of the elevation.  Even though you still have another 460 metres in 5.5k to hike, the beautiful forest and frequent Howe Sound views make it seem quick and easy.  It takes about 1.5 hours to reach St Mark's Summit and the views are fantastic.  Not only because of the incredible vantage point over Howe Sound, but the abruptness of St Mark's Summit.  The cliffs below you are frighteningly vertical, making the views fantastically majestic.  Also the sheer drop off makes Howe Sound and the speck sized boats seem so surreal.  The third and possibly the best feature of the St Mark's Summit hike is the intricately huge and varied terrain on the summit.  You stand and marvel at one viewpoint, then moments later your friend appears at an extraordinarily improbable, and worryingly dangerous rock outcrop a few dozen metres away.  This hilarious game of hide and seek, seemingly can go on forever.  As one leads to another, then another.  Over and over, the St Mark's Summit reveals one breathtaking vantage point after another, until you are exhausted more with the views than the hike that got you there.  When you estimate your hiking time for St Mark's Summit, but sure to include an hour at least at the top.  And before you begin your hike back to Cypress, take a moment to glance back at the distant Lions.  This incredible trail continues to them and beyond, you've just done 5.5k of the 29k, phenomenal Howe Sound Crest Trail.  St Mark's Summit is part of the amazing Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park and is one of the many beautiful peaks to be climbed if desired on the 29k trail.

Why should you hike to St Mark's Summit?

One stunning vantage point after another at the end of a relatively easy hike.  The 5.5 kilometres are steadily uphill, but not terribly strenuous.  Once you reach St Mark's Summit, the places to explore are everywhere.  The startlingly abrupt cliff overlooks Howe Sound and on a sunny day the world is filled with blue sky, blue ocean and lush, green forests covering all the islands.

More Hiking Info & Directions to St Mark's Summit in Vancouver >>

The Lions West Lion Summit TrailThe Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, about one hour from downtown Vancouver.  The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver and astoundingly are possible to climb.  Though very difficult to climb view from the top is spectacular.  The West Lion (pictured below) is possible to climb.  The East Lion is in Vancouver's watershed area and off limits to public use.  The first half of the hike is very easy as you follow a disused and overgrown logging road gently uphill.  After the first 30 minutes of hiking you come to a Y junction, take the path on the right and continue as the path eventually narrows and beautiful views of Howe Sound become visible.  You will pass two waterfalls, then come to a sign that blocks another old, very overgrown logging road and points to a narrow path to the right.  You will cross Harvey Creek over a beautiful little bridge with wonderful views, then the first significant uphill hiking starts.  From this point on the trail is very well marked with flagging tape, tree markers and paint indicators on the rock faces.  There are two plateaus before the final, very difficult ascent to the summit of the West Lion.  Both plateaus have incredible views and most make the second plateau their final destination.  It is at the base of the West Lion.  There are not really any suitable places to put up a tent, but if you had to choose, somewhere in the vicinity of these two plateaus would be the place to do it...

Why should you hike the West Lion(Binkert) Trail to the West Lion?

The trail to the Lions is through a beautiful forest with occasional views of Howe Sound.  Closer to the West Lion you get amazing, almost 360 degree views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains.  If you are brave enough to summit the West Lion you get a full 360 degree view and the satisfaction of conquering this very challenging Vancouver icon.

More Hiking Info, Maps & Directions to The Lions >>

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