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Vancouver Hiking Guide May 2017

May Vancouver Hiking Trails Guide


May Vancouver Hiking Trails Guide - Lighthouse ParkBest Easy Trails in VancouverMay is a wonderful month to hike in and around Vancouver.  The long, warm summer days finally arrive and the true hiking season begins.  However, summer holidays for many haven't started yet so May is a great time to take advantage of fairly quiet hiking trails.  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 Deep Cove Lookout - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trailsocean.  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, Pacific Spirit Park - Easy Vancouver Hiking Trailsoystercatchers, 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.  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 Upper Shannon FallsDeep 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 Shannon Falls Provincial Parkthen 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.  The Upper Shannon Falls Trail in Squamish, just Stawamus Chief Provincial Park45 minutes from Vancouver is an amazing example of this.  It is a branching trail from the now hugely popular Stawamus Chief Trail.  Because it is a branching trail it goes almost completely unnoticed.  This is astounding.  And wonderful.  Any weekend you go hiking the Chief you will be amazed at how many people had the same idea you did.  It's never too crowded as to be bad, but the Chief does get very busy.  You will see probably a hundred people by the time you get to the sign, 15 minutes into the Stawamus Chief Trail, that points to the right and says, "Upper Shannon Falls Trail".  Once you take this trail an astounding thing happens.  Silence.  It's uncanny.  No matter The Lions - Vancouver Hiking Trailshow crowded the trail is just metres away, this one is always deserted.  Such a shame, as it's beautiful.  It runs through a beautiful forest with streams, small canyons, bridges and a massive, grass covered mountain top with amazing views Dog Mountain - Vancouver Hiking Trailsdown to Howe Sound.  If you continue further, you come to a mountain top cliff, similar to the Chief, though not as impressive.  From these peaks you have incredible views down to Squamish and across to the now distant Chief's peaks.  And of course along the way, the Upper Shannon Falls which are beautiful as well.  If you are wanting an exciting and challenging hike, The Lions, just a short drive north of Vancouver in Lions Bay is a very rewarding hike.  If you don't manage to summit the West Lion, as many don't, you will still take in some breathtaking views from this wonderful trail.  Give yourself lots of time though as it's 8k, one way and consistently uphill, though only moderately.  of the many beautiful peaks to be climbed if desired onHollyburn Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park the 29k trail. The Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, about one hour from downtown Vancouver.  The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver.  The view from the top is spectacular.  Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance.  A tough Black Mountain View of Mount Baker in the United Statesbut wonderful hiking trail.The first half of the hike is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully overgrown logging road gently uphill.  The trail after this road 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.  Take a look at some of the many other beautiful hiking trails in Vancouver.  From the easy and scenic Lighthouse Park trails, Dog Mountain on Seymour, or the Two Canyon Loop in North Van.  To the more challenging and spectacular hikes like Black Mountain, Hollyburn Mountain or St Mark's Summit, all in Cypress Provincial Park and all very unique hiking experiences.  You will probably encounter some snow in May on the higher elevations as it often takes until June to melt enough to hike without getting bogged down in slush and snow.  In the summertime, Whistler, 1.5 hours north of Vancouver is a hiking paradise.  Whistler is located right in the middle of the fabulous Garibaldi Park.  For a list of the best hikes in and around Whistler take a look here.. Take a look at the the overall best hiking trails in Vancouver here..

Lighthouse Park hiking trails in Vancouver

Lighthouse Park - Vancouver Trails Guide May 2016


Lighthouse Park in VancouverLighthouse Park Hiking Trails in VancouverLighthouse Park is an extraordinarily little know 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 trails winds throughout massive Douglas-fir trees and Western Red Cedars as well as golden Arbutus trees stretching toward the ocean.

It is surprisingly convenient on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.  The detour will only add an hour to your trip but the drive alone is well worth doing.

Marine Drive runs parallel to the Sea to Sky Highway to or from Whistler, and is a wonderfully beautiful ocean hugging road that is alive with the beauty of Vancouver.  If you are driving to Whistler from downtown Vancouver, finding Marine Drive is easy.

After you cross the Lions Gate Bridge, continue straight as if going to Whistler(Highway 99) and you will almost immediately be on Marine Drive.  Instead of making the right turn to keep on 99, continue straight as you will be on your way to Lighthouse Park via the very scenic Marine Drive.  Wildly Lighthouse Park Aerial Viewovergrown with all kinds of plants and trees, the narrow, Marine Drive hugs the coast in the midst of this evidently wealthy part of Vancouver.  You will have amazing views across to Vancouver as you drive this beautiful road.

After stopping at Lighthouse Park, Marine Drive continues parallel to the Sea to Sky for a few kilometres before signs show you where to rejoin Highway 99 to Whistler.  The driveways you pass are windy and steep, and alarmingly close to the road.  Oncoming cars you pass slow down, Marine Drive is that narrow.  You are now in the real Vancouver.  The houses are old and beautifully immersed in the deep, dark rainforest that once blanketed the land where skyscrapers of the city now stand.

This is where you can look across to the high rise building crammed metropolis of Vancouver and feel in another world.  Quiet, serene, immersed in deep forest, and contrast beautifully to the beauty across the water.  Lighthouse Park is located at a beautiful piece of land in the edge of this.

Lighthouse Park in VancouverLighthouse Park is a beautiful Vancouver park, nestled inside a wonderful example of British Columbia's coastal rainforest.  The trees are huge, the forest thick and the ocean views are amazing.  Rain or shine, this park is a must see on any drive between Vancouver and Whistler.  Marine Drive is another aspect that makes this a beautiful detour.  This part of Vancouver is a great representation of Vancouver.  Deep forest, beautiful ocean and rugged coastline.

The first lighthouse was built at Point Atkinson in 1874.  The land around it that was to become Lighthouse Park was set aside to provide a dark backdrop for the new lighthouse.  The lighthouse you now see was built in 1912.  During World War II, search lights and gun emplacements were installed at Point Atkinson to watch over Burrard Inlet.  Some buildings from that ere remain along with interesting photos depicting the area during that time.

Lighthouse Park Aerial Video 2

Over 5 kilometres of trails wind through the forest and to various ocean views.  Even on a busy, sunny day, you can often find an quite rocky outcrop far from the noise of the big city.  The rocky shoreline has several amazing, flat and ocean smoothed areas to stretch out in the sun.  Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge way off in the distance and enormous tankers sit in Burrard Inlet.  Sailboats, fishing boats and motor boats silently cruise by, their motors drowned out by the crashing waves just below you.

Lighthouse Park Aerial Video 3

The trails are easy and wide paths with excellent directional signs at each junction.  If you want to get straight to the ocean, the Juniper Point Trail is a good start.  5 minutes from the parking lot and you find yourself on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean.  If you would rather head straight for the lighthouse, then Beacon Lane is the most direct route.  It is actually a wide, gravel access road and takes you directly to the lighthouse, washrooms, the WWII buildings as well as plenty of huge, sunny rocky outcrops to explore.

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