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Best Moderately Challenging Hiking Trails in Vancouver

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There are plenty of moderately challenging Vancouver hiking trails to choose from.  These are five trails that stand out from the rest.  Not too difficult, yet all have sensational views.  Hollyburn, Dog Mountain and Seymour are at the end of beautiful drives to reach the trailheads.  Lynn Peak is in the beautiful Lynn Valley.  Goat Mountain is usually reached via Grouse Mountain so you will either have to run the Grind or pay to ride up to Grouse.

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.

Best Moderate Vancouver Hiking Trails - Hollyburn Mountain >>

Mount Seymour - Vancouver Hiking TrailsThe 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.

Why should you hike to Mount Seymour in Vancouver?

Right from the parking lot you get some amazing views of Vancouver and surrounding areas.  Immediately on the trail you come to various trail junctions.  Dog Mountain is a short and nice hike that heads off to the left.  On the right a trail disappears into the forest heading to Goldie Lake.  Partway up Mount Seymour and you come to the tranquil and idyllic Mystery Lake, perfect for swimming.  From Mystery Lake to the top of Mount Seymour the views get progressively more sweeping.  Finally at the summit you can sit in the sun and squint into the distance in all directions to snow capped mountains, deep blue ocean and of course Vancouver far below.

Best Moderate Vancouver Hiking Trails - Mount Seymour >>

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.

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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 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!

Best Moderate Vancouver Hiking Trails - Dog Mountain in Seymour Park >>

Lynn Peak in VancouverLynn 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.

Why should you hike to Lynn Peak in Vancouver?

Lynn Peak is a steady climb and excellent workout.  A popular trail running route for lots of Vancouver trail runners.  A nice, relaxing retreat from the big city.

Best Moderate Vancouver Hiking Trails - Lynn Peak >>

Goat Mountain at Grouse - Vancouver Hiking TrailsGoat 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.

Why should you hike to Goat Mountain in Vancouver?

Goat Mountain is a great way to escape the crowds at Grouse Mountain.  Just a short hike takes you up into the wilderness beyond Grouse.  Nice views and only moderately challenging.

Best Moderate Vancouver Hiking Trails - Goat Mountain via Grouse Mountain >>

More Moderately Challenging Trails


Black Mountain View of Mount Baker in the United StatesBlack 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 Mount Fromme - Moderate Vancouver Hiking Trailsvariety.  Black Mountain is a short side trail off this circle route.  Allow yourself 3-4 hours for the 8k return trip.  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 Mount Strachan - Moderate Vancouver Hiking TrailsFromme, though the Per Gynt trail is a good route.  The trail is often steep however well marked through a well established bike trail network.  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 St Mark's Summit - Moderate to Challenging Vancouver Hiking Trailsroad past the chairlift and bear left.  The route is boring and uneventful as you are following ski runs, however the summit has amazing views.  St Mark's Summit is a borderline moderate to challenging trail.  It 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.

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