Now that the snow has arrived on the north-shore mountains of Vancouver, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the local trails. Strap on some snowshoes and head out for a walk in a winter wonderland.
There are three mountains within an hour of the city that have snowshoe trails…Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Seymour Mountain. With a pricey skyride needed to get to the top of Grouse Mountain, I’ll stick to sharing some photos from the trails of the other two mountains.
Let’s start with Cypress Mountain. The two snowshoe trails mentioned below can be accessed from the cross-country ski area.
First is the free Hollyburn Mountain trail which starts with a fairly steep climb and then continues to a lookout point with a spectacular view of the city. This trail is only 3.5 km each way and so won’t take too long. Check here for more information.
The other trails on Cypress Mountain take you through beautifully forested areas where snow clings to the branches of trees creating an enchanted and peaceful place.
These trails cost around $14 at the time of this post and include over 10 km of groomed trails that meander through meadows and forests. It’s well worth the price and perfect on cloudy or sunny days. Because of the large area that these trails cover it’s possible to find your own quiet spot where the silence is truly blissful.
One piece of advice…get up to this mountain early, especially on the weekends and holidays, as parking is very limited.
My other recommendation for snowshoeing is Seymour Mountain. This fantastic, but yes crowded at times mountain, also has both free and paid snowshoe trails.
There are two free trails here. One will lead you up to First Peak. This is a challenging 10 km round trip hike with some challenging sections. You can cut off partway up this trail and backtrack through the forest to the Dog Mountain trail I mention next, however watch carefully for signs here as it’s easy to lose your way. The other free trail is a much easier trail to Dog Mountain. This is a 5 km return path winding along a fairly narrow trail through the forest, past frozen lakes…
and then to a clearing with an amazing view of the city. This trail is much better in clear weather as the ultimate goal is that stunning view of Vancouver below you.
Both of these free trails start at the signboard at the far end of the parking lot beneath the Mystery Peak Chair.
The paid trails on Seymour Mountain are $11.00 if you have your own snowshoes and this gives you access to 12 trails, depending on which ones are open. These trails, called the Discovery Snowshoe Trails, take you through the forest and around 2 lakes.
These are easy trails and great for families. They are best right after a snowfall when the evergreen trees look as though icing sugar has been sprinkled onto each branch. Mount Seymour also offers some fantastic snowshoe tours that you can join in with.
All the local mountains offer rentals of equipment for snowshoeing but do come prepared for the weather and the trails. Wear moisture wicking clothing in layers (avoid cotton), wear a hat to prevent heat loss, gloves and non-cotton socks, a waterproof jacket, and comfortable hiking boots. You should carry extra food and water with you, a small first aid kit, a whistle, a flashlight, and sunscreen.
Whichever mountain or trail you decide to check out you’ll be wanting to return soon! Enjoy!