There may be snow on the mountains, but at lower altitudes there are still great year-round hiking options.
There are some great lower elevation hikes in North and West Vancouver that stay snow-free a lot longer than some of the classic mountain trails.
Some trails in Lynn Headwaters head into the back-country and are inaccessible until June or July when the snow finally melts, but others like the shorter Lynn Loop (5 km) usually won’t receive snow unless the rest of the city does. This easy trail is suitable for beginners, joggers and dogs and is a great way to get some exercise.
If the loop is too short, venture further up the Cedars Mill Trail instead of looping back and you’ll pass the debris chute (an open area next to Lynn Creek that offers a great view of the surrounding mountains).
Further up the Lynn Headwaters trail is Norvan Falls, a great waterfall and a nice place to stop for a bite to eat (14km round trip). Hikers are a bit more likely to find snow in around the falls, but it’s still a fun destination for warmer days. Next to the falls is a swinging suspended bridge across Norvan Creek where the trail heads into Hanes Valley and eventually loops back to Grouse Mountain. The valley is snow-locked during the winter and the trail is closed until things thaw out.
The British Properties (West Vancouver)
Another fun winter option for a walk in the woods is the Brothers Creek loop in West Vancouver.
This hike is even enjoyable on rainy days, because the thick canopy of the coniferous trees shelters the forest floor from a lot of the precipitation.
Located at the top of the British Properties, the hike has some interesting historical elements as well. Remnants of old logging equipment can be seen along the way, and the beautiful old candelabra fir is only a short detour from the main trail. For history buffs, the West Vancouver Historical Society runs heritage hikes led by a knowledgeable guide who lectures about the logging activity that took place between 1870 and 1950 in the area.
The terrain can be a bit rough in places, with loose rocks that can become slippery in damp weather, but at 7km and an elevation gain of only 350m, the hike is still suitable for first-timers.
Caulfeild area (West Vancouver)
A scenic, leisurely hiking destination that’s fun year-round is Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.
Trails wind through smooth-skinned arbutus trees and emerge onto craggy rocks that drop into the ocean. It’s a great family destination for that very reason – seaside playtime can be incorporated into the hike.
Pack a picnic, bring your pet, and enjoy a leisurely walk in the woods. There are a variety of trails that wind through the forest, and your hike can be as short as 1km or as long as 6km.
- The Baden Powell trail, Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon (12km, intermediate difficulty).
- Cypress Falls (3km, an easy “forest and waterfall” hike)
Did I miss your favourite? Tell me about other great off-season hikes!