Hiking in Vancouver, Whistler, Southwest British Columbia

Hiking Vancouver, Whistler, Southwest BC, Canada

Hiking the Vancouver, Whistler, Southwest British Columbia area

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  • Travel info for Vancouver & Area.     Trails in this area.

    The mountains and coastline meet and mingle creating fjord inlets up and down the west coast, here the mighty Fraser and other rivers make their way through green lush forests and pleasant valleys as they head to the Pacific Ocean. Within minutes of the hustle and bustle of the city and urban areas, you can be hiking the mountain and wilderness trails. This southwestern corner of British Columbia, called Vancouver, Coast and Mountains has a number of provincial parks and wilderness areas that are perfect spots for outdoor activities including hiking. Although all the provincial parks have mountains, alpine meadows, lakes and rivers, each one is different offering excellent outdoor recreation and facilities. Within their boundaries you will find everything from skiing, mountain climbing, fishing, swimming, to nature hikes. When in this region take time out and visit Garibaldi, Manning, Golden Ears, Cypress and Mount Seymour, just to name a few that offer excellent outdoor adventures. Whether looking for a good day hike or an extended backpacking trek, this region of British Columbia is able to meet your wants.

    Mount Seymour:

    One of the most popular hikes within a short distance of Vancouver, is Mount Seymour on the North Shore. From Vancouver, take Highway # 1 across the Second Narrows Bridge and take the Mount Seymour Parkway exit to Mount Seymour Road. When you enter Mount Seymour Provincial Park, the park office has brochures detailing the many hiking trails. One of the many hikes is the one to the mountain's three peaks, and of course, the third and highest peak offers the best views. This 9 km (5.5 mi.) return trip takes approximately five hours. On your return trip watch for the cairns and markers, its easy to get lost up here, and always be prepared for the weather changes that can happen in the mountains. A much longer and major 42 km (26 mi.) hike is the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail.

    Lynn Headwaters Regional Park:

    Lynn Headwaters Regional Park offers the experienced hiker wilderness day trips and there are well developed trails for the novice hiker and family excursions. Within the park is a western red cedar that is more than 600 years old and the free suspension bridge across the creek is worth a visit. From Vancouver take either the Lions Gate Bridge or the Second Narrows and follow Highway # 1 (the Trans-Canada) to Lynn Valley Road that takes you to the park entrance, where you will find trail brochures at the Information Board. The round trip to Lynn Lake/Hanes Valley Fork which is about 15 km (11 mi.) should take between six to seven hours.

    Cypress Provincial Park:

    Cypress Provincial Park offers a number of short day hikes. Or you can try the Howe Sound Crest Trail, which is a 30 km (19 mi.) loop hike for strong day hikers or backpackers. To reach Cypress Lookout, travel 8 km (5 mi.) north of West Vancouver on Highway # 1. The view from here is absolutely unsurpassed, as you look over the Strait of Georgia, Vancouver Island and Mount Baker with the city far below.

    Other excellent hikes that are a short distance from down town Vancouver include Historic Hollyburn on the North Shore, Black Mountain, a rather strenuous hike with great views of Howe Sound, the Binkert (Lions) Trail, and Lower Grouse Mountain Trails.

    Black Tusk:

    Black Tusk, in the Squamish area, can be done as a long day hike from Rubble Creek, but is more enjoyable from the campgrounds at Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake. From the campgrounds to the top of Black Tusk and back is 11 km (6.8 mi.) and will take from five to six hours. Once you reach the tusk, only equipped and experienced persons should attempted to climb this narrow chimney and beware of falling debris if climbers are ahead of you. To access the start of the trails that lead to Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk, Garibaldi Lake and other trips is north from Squamish on Highway 99. It's about a 37 km (23 mi.) drive to a right turn to the Black Tusk Recreation Area, head to the parking lot at Rubble Creek. From here the trail follows the creek upward to your destination.

    Stawamus Chief:

    Most everyone knows about the great rock mass that watches over Highway 99, just south of Squamish, the Stawamus Chief is over 700 metres (2261 feet) above sea level and is the second largest granite monolith in the world. The Chief, which measures approximately three square kilometres, has several summits separated by several deep gullies. Steep cliffs separate the summits from the forest floor in many places, especially the western faces. A number of other unique features add considerable interest to this highly impressive geological landform. This monolith alone provides some 280 climbing route, from novice climbs to the hardest rock climb in Canada. For the hiker, there are three different summits to climb, there's the main, the central and the south. You will find the trailhead behind the Chief, at the viewpoint north of Shannon Falls.

    There are three main summit areas:
    * First Peak or the South Summit (610 m)
    * Second Peak or the Centre Summit (655 m)
    * Third Peak or the North Summit (702 m)

    Sunshine Coast:

    The Sunshine Coast, is great hiking country and one of the treks you should try is the 13 km (8 mi.) round trip to Mount Hallowell, where from the top you can see the Jervis, Sechelt and Narrows Inlets, Georgia Strait and Pender Harbour. Another interesting hike is Mount Steele, north of Sechelt.

    Pemberton Area:

    After you leave Whistler and make your way into the Pemberton area, the hiking opportunities are almost endless. There's Tenquille Lake, a very scenic trip that's off the Gold Bridge Road. As you leave Pemberton on the Hurley Road (heading for Gold Bridge) watch for the trailhead to this alpine lake, from here there are a number of hiking chances. The Joffre Lakes hike takes you past three lovely lakes with a glacier at trails end. To reach the trailhead, as you approach Pemberton, take the Mount Currie Road, from here go right on the road to Duffey Lake till you reach the BC Parks Joffre Lake Recreation Area. Here you will find a large map with information about the trail. This round trip of 11 km (7 mi.) will take about six to seven hours of hiking and is well worth your effort. Other hikes in the Pemberton region are Blowdown Creek, Place Creek Trail and Lizzie Lake.

    Fraser Valley:

    Once back down in the Fraser Valley, there are numerous hiking opportunities. On the north side of the Fraser you will enjoy trails such as Diez Vistas Trail, the hike into Lindsay Lake, Eagle Peak, Alouette Mountain and Golden Ears.

    Sumas Mountain:

    When travelling on Highway 1, heading east of Vancouver just past Abbotsford is Sumas Mountain and the familiar BC Centennial Trail with access points on both the western and eastern side. The round trip, from the west is 13.5 km (8.5 mi.) and should take about six to seven hours to hike, while the round trip from the east is 16 km (10 mi.) and is approximately an 8 to 9 hour hike. From the peak of Sumas Mountain you have a great view of the Fraser River.

    Chilliwack River:

    Once your reach the Chilliwack River region, you'll find it difficult to make a decision and what trail to hike first. Located in BC's Cascade Mountains is International Ridge and Mount Amadis. After a four to five hour hike you will reach the summit and see Mount Baker to the south, the Fraser River valley to the west.

    Mount MacFarland:

    Mount MacFarland, is a 21 km (13 mi.) round hike, so either make it a long ten to eleven hour day trip or an easy overnight hike. Part of your reward is Pierce Lake and a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains.

    Mount Cheam:

    Between the cities of Chilliwack and Hope, over shadowing the Fraser Valley is Mount Cheam. Reaching the trailhead to Cheam Peak, is difficult and confusing, so get good directions. Once you reach the top, the view is unbelievable. Other hikes you can take in this area is the Mount Ford hike, a trek of 13 km ( 8 mi.) to Williamson Lake that's surrounded by the Lucky Four Mountain Group. A hike into Radium Lake takes you into high wilderness country, as does the trip into Flora Lake.

    Skagit Valley Recreation Area:

    Bordering Manning Park on the west side, is Skagit Valley Provincial Recreation Area. Twenty-Six Mile Bridge is the trailhead for the hike to the Rhododendron Flat on the Hope-Princeton Highway. Continuing on to km 55 ( mile 35) is the trailhead for a 16 km (10 mi.) hike one-way to Galene Lakes, so be prepared for an over night hike. Along the way there are excellent views to the mountains that are east of Ross Lake and south into the Cascades. The alpine flowers here are well worth the trip, so is the view of this remote lake.

    Manning Provincial Park:

    Manning Provincial Park is located in the Cascade Mountains and is well known for its hiking. In all, there are 276 km (166 mi.) of trails to choose from. Popular hikes include the Skyline Trail which is a great over night hike, while the Heather Trail is best hiked in July and August when all the wildflowers are in bloom. Fall hikers will enjoy the Frost Mountain Loop, a 24 km (15 mi) hike that takes a full day, with an excellent view of the North Cascades.

    First Brigades Trail:

    For a hike into the past, the First Brigades Trail in the Fraser Canyon is the one for you to take. This 13 km (8 mi.) round trip takes you over part of the original trail, that was established by the Hudson's Bay Company to move horses from Fort Yale to Kamloops and the Cariboo, in the year 1848. Heading north on Highway # 1, go by the Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park, and the historic Alexandra Lodge, where the original trail started. But now it begins some 300 metres (1000 feet) north of the lodge at a small stream and soon joins the original trail from the lodge.

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    Hiking in Vancouver, Whistler, Southwest British Columbia