Vancouver Trails Guide June - West Lion Summit
Hiking in Vancouver in June is phenomenal. The number of trails are staggering. If you had to pick one hike to do in June you couldn't go wrong with Joffre Lakes. Though it's a 3 hour drive north of Vancouver, the hike is well worth the drive. The hike past the lower, middle and upper Joffre Lakes is only 5k and you only gain 400m of elevation, which is not terribly strenuous. It's just an all round beautiful hike from start to finish. June in particularly nice at Joffre Lakes as there will still be some lingering snow to make the place look that much more menacing contrasted with the impossibly turquoise coloured lakes. Make sure you pick a sunny day to see Joffre Lakes as the sunshine brings the colours to life that much more. Closer to home, hiking in Vancouver in June is amazing. If you have never been to Lighthouse Park take the beautiful drive along the ocean to West Vancouver and hike the beautiful 2k to 10k network of trails through the beautiful forest to the many beautiful ocean views and of course an impressive lighthouse. Lighthouse Park is a beautiful half day hike conveniently close to downtown Vancouver. If you make the beautiful drive from Vancouver to Joffre try to see some of the many great sights on the way. Here is a great list of must see sights between Vancouver and Whistler. You may not have time for them all, but try to see at least one! Best sights on the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler here.. is a beautiful little stop on the way to or from Whistler. You will notice the lack of washroom stops on the way to or from Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway, and if nothing else, makes Porteau Cove a perfect rest stop. Aside from washrooms there is a wonderful pier with viewing platforms that hover high above the ocean of this majestic and enormous Canadian fjord - the most southerly fjord in North America. There is a nice campground that extends down the shore towards Vancouver. 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 to 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. Brandywine Falls is a beautiful stop on the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler. It's about 11 kilometres south of Whistler. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. Of all the waterfalls around Whistler, Brandywine is the most impressive. There is a wonderful viewing platform across from the waterfalls that juts out over the edge of the enormous chasm the falls empty into. There is another fantastic place to view the falls that most people miss. There is a great viewpoint from above the falls where you can stand above the Cheakamus River just metres before it falls over the cliff. 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 on Alpha Lake Road in Function Junction. The hike begins on the Flank Trail then quickly branches off to the Train Wreck Trail through deep forest. The trail leads first to the Cheakamus River and some amazing viewpoints then continues through deep forest along this amazing river. Around a bend in the Cheakamus, the forest reveals the first of seven, fantastic train wrecks. There are several beautiful hikes in Vancouver, take a look here at a list of the best hikes around the Vancouver area.. These include the amazing and relatively easy Dog Mountain and Suicide Bluffs 4.4k roundtrip hike at the Seymour Ski Resort just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The views from this hike are amazing of the Vancouver and you should make an effort to catch this trail near dawn or dusk on a clear day for a sunrise or sunset you will never forget. Elfin Lakes is included in this list as well. This is the southernmost tip of and an amazing 22k, not to difficult, though long hike among a staggering array of snowy mountains in all directions. The trailhead is only an hour from downtown Vancouver in Squamish. Hollyburn Mountain makes this best of Vancouver hiking list as well. A bit of a steep hike, though still relatively easy, and short too at just 7k roundtrip. The views of Vancouver are even more amazing than from Dog Mountain. This hike is located at Cypress Mountain Ski Resort, and just 30 minutes from Vancouver as well. Lynn Peak in North Vancouver is also one of the best hikes around. This hike differs from the previous ones as it is more of a rainforest type of hike. Rivers and deep forest with massive trees in Lynn Valley are the highlights of this hike, and the view at the top is not bad either. The West Lion Summit Trail is a great trail located just an hours drive from Vancouver in the beautiful Lions Bay community in between Vancouver and Squamish. The trail is consistently uphill, but not too steep. It's well marked as it rises to views of Howe Sound far below. The trail eventually leads to the very difficult, class 3 scramble to the summit of the West Lion, but this final hike is by no means necessary. The views from the relatively easy plateau before the summit are amazing and that is the end of the trail for the vast majority of hikers on this trail. If you are unfamiliar with The Lions, they are the unmistakable twin mountain peaks visible from all around Vancouver. They inspired the name for Vancouver's football team, the BC Lions as well as the iconic Lions Gate Bridge. 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. 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. For a tremendous variety of hiking trails, Whistler is the place to go. One of the greatest ski resorts in the world, and more recently a world renowned mountain biking resort, is now evolving into a world class hiking destination as well. With the recent addition of the Peak to Peak Gondola, Whistler has had to open quite an amazing array of hiking trails on both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains for summer hiking. Of course there is a charge for the gondola to access these trails, the price is reasonable considering the mystifying spider web of trails on both mountains connected as they are with the astoundingly breathtaking Peak to Peak Gondola. And as if it could possibly get better both mountains lead to some incredible hikes on connecting mountains, trails and traverses, such as Russet Lake and the Spearhead Traverse among quite a few more. If you haven't included Whistler in your hiking itinerary, you might want to now. Take a look at some of the best of the best hikes here.. Take a look at the the best hiking trails in Vancouver here..
Binkert Trail & West Lion Summit - Vancouver Guide June
The Lions are the two two distinct, rocky peaks, visible from downtown . The one on the left, the one pictured above, can be climbed. You don't have to, however, as the plateau before this difficult summit has amazing views. In fact, most finish their hike to The Lions here at this wonderful(second) plateau with the towering West Lion so close. It is beautiful enough, tough, and very rewarding to get to this plateau. To get to the West Lions summit is considerably more challenging and comparatively more rewarding.
The view from the top of the West Lion is spectacular. Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance. A tough but wonderful hike in easy conditions. In wet, cold, or snowy weather, a summit attempt is very treacherous. Not only is cold, snowy, icy or wet weather a consideration due to the slippery footing and hand holds, but also cloudy and foggy weather.
Fog can reduce visibility enough to make finding your way, and more importantly, finding your return route, difficult to find. Losing your way from the top of the West Lion has proven fatal in the past.
The first half of the Lions Binkert Trail is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully 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 (The Lions>>) that blocks the old, very overgrown logging road and points to a narrow path to the right. You will cross Harvey Creek over a nice 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 or marked 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.