The Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls hike was one that I had been wanting to tackle for a couple of years. Located in North Vancouver at the base of Mt. Fromme, this hike is considered an intermediate hike and at about 10 km round trip will take around 5 hours to complete. To find the parking lot follow Mountain Hwy to the very top…you will have to get here early especially on summer weekends as this lot is used by both hikers and mountain bikers. We actually ended up having to park down the road which added about a kilometre in each direction to the hike. Begin the hike to the left of the parking lot where the toilets and the gate are located.
Follow this wide road until you see the sign for the Cedar Tree Trail on your right. Mountain bikers will also be using this road so do stay to one side. Once you’ve turned off this trail you will follow a wooden fence and then there will be a switchback.
After about 10 minutes you will come across the next sign for Cedar Tree Trail. Head right again and read the advisory sign just ahead…be prepared for this hike! Although there is not a lot of elevation you will still find yourself challenged.
This trail can be muddy in sections and you will be crossing creek-beds along the way. Make sure you have good comfortable footwear…this is not a trail to be hiking in those brand new white runners (yes we saw this!)
The trail has orange markers on the trees as well as orange ribbon on branches…pay attention to these as it can get tricky when you cross the creek-beds, or where the trail bypasses fallen logs.
Although this is a bit of a tricky trail with the amount of exposed roots and rocks to navigate, don’t let it prevent you from stopping and enjoying the beautiful surroundings of this old growth forest.
Just when you think you have crossed as many creeks as you possibly can…there will be another one…
After about 1 1/2 hours you will reach the Big Cedar. Unfortunately because of erosion the tree has recently been surrounded by a fence. You can still get pictures by heading to the opening in the fence. This tree is about 600 years old and gives you an idea of the size that these giants can grow to.
You can turn back at this point, or continue on the trail found behind the tree. As the trail winds its way towards the falls you will see old logging ties and stumps of trees that were logged here during the 1920’s. From here you are about 1.5 km from Kennedy Falls. Continue to watch your step and where you are placing your feet!
Before you see the falls you will be able to hear them. The trail opens up towards the lower part of the falls and as you climb carefully up along the cliff-bank you will see the upper part of the falls come into view. You’ve earned a rest so find a spot to sit, have a bite to eat, and soak in this spectacular sight!
After snapping some pictures of the falls it’s time to head back. Take your time crossing back over those creeks and using the rope, which you would have used coming down an embankment on the way to the Big Cedar Tree.
Not only the trees, but also the ferns, seem to grow larger in this forest!
After gazing up one more time at those magnificent trees, leave the wooded trail behind and make your way back along the wide path to the parking lot.
A few thoughts on this trail…this trail did take a bit of a toll on our knees, not because of any real elevation gain, but because you do have to be very mindful of how you are stepping over and around rocks and roots, sometimes while also climbing up or down small gullies. Also, although we did see people with dogs, and it is a dog-friendly trail, I would be hesitant about doing this as the trail can be slippery and narrow, with loose rock in many areas.