The snow is falling on Vancouver's surrounding mountains, making the entire area look like an idyllic winter wonderland! There are tons of great hikes to take advantage of these wintry scenes, here are a few of our favourites…
The festive season is here and Vancouver’s surrounding snow-capped mountains are an inviting winter wonderland. Here are a few of our favourite wintry hikes and trails in BC for all the family to enjoy. Get your snowshoes ready!
Just a 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver, Dog Mountain Trail on Mount Seymour offers a beautiful vista of both the city and Mount Baker. One of the most accessible snowshoe routes for novice hikers is Dog Mountain trail, a 2-3hour 5km round trip. Dogs are welcome and the trail is family-friendly, with some tree roots but a gentle incline and abundant opportunity to interact with and appreciate wildlife, such as whiskey jacks. The trail itself and parking are free, so check out Dog Mountain Trail for a nice alternative to the Grouse Grind with beautiful vantage points for all the family to enjoy.
Garibaldi Provincial Park is located just north of Squamish and home to the beautiful Garibaldi Lake. In winter the lake transforms into an ethereal and majestic frozen valley, and the route through Taylor Meadows and back across the lake offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. With backcountry camping available, this is a difficult, but accessible snowshoe trail for hikers with lots of experience, so wrap up and remember to bring flashlights and a GPS to take advantage of those crisp winter days!
Golden Ears Provincial Park is a spectacular mountainous park, offering backcountry lookouts, mountaintops and waterfalls and a diverse range of trails for every outdoors adventure. Gold Creek Campground offers winter camping and is the perfect destination for family adventures, whether you fancy an overnight challenge or a pleasant stroll around Mike Lake Trail or Alouette Lake. Experience some festive enchantment in Maple Ridge’s brilliant outdoor destination.
Only a 15 minute drive from Whistler Village, Rainbow Falls Trail is gentle and well-marked. It is a popular trail in winter, so the snow is often packed down by other adventurers, so snowshoes aren’t always necessary. The trailhead is the same as that of Rainbow Lake, located on Alta Lake Road, a challenging hike for those seeking out even more adventure. The trail can take less than an hour round trip over 2km, offering beautiful vantage points as well as the Rainbow Falls themselves, which in winter are a gorgeous glacial cascade. Offering free parking with many connecting trails that meander around the forest, Rainbow Falls Trail is a perfect winter family jaunt just outside of Whistler.
A very popular and free snowshoe trail in the winter, Hollyburn Mountain is located just 30 minutes outside of Vancouver in Cypress Provincial Park. Boasting free parking and one of BC’s many dog-friendly trails, Hollyburn Peak (often referred to as Mountain) is well-marked and a perfect getaway from the city. The Hollyburn Mountain trail is well signed with high-visibility orange 6ft tall marker poles, usually a few meters apart across the trail. Whilst the trail is fairly steep, it’s a relatively short trail and it’s possible to reach the peak a few hours from the trailhead. A 7km roundtrip, the trail can easily be done in a half day trip from Vancouver. Experiencing the sunset over Vancouver and the dazzling city lights is a splendid winter sight for those of all ages.
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Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s beloved outdoor playgrounds, rising majestically just a short drive from North Vancouver. Dam Mountain is a well-marked and easily accessible via The Ridge Trail or The Alpine Trail on Grouse Mountain. With views of the surrounding mountains and spectacular nature such as the Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound, this is a great trail to keep you warm whilst exploring the landscape. Often fondly referred to as the ‘Snowshoe Grouse Grind’, Dam Mountain Trail is just over 4km and accessible either by taking the gondola or hiking up the Grouse Grind or BCMC Trails. It’s possible to complete the route in a couple of hours, and there are plenty of connecting and alternate trails such as the gentler Alpine Trail to continue the adventure. There’s free parking along Nancy Green Way, so leave the pets at home and let the kids burn off some energy with an outdoor winter romp.
A short jaunt in North Vancouver, Lynn Loop is a nice and easy trail which traverses Lynn Headwater Regional Park and takes just under 2 hours covering just over 5km of ground. Accessible by public transit and just Lynn Loop connects with plenty of alternate trails ranging in length in difficulty to meander along and extend your trip. Lynn Loop offers chances to spot plenty of wildlife, and admire the beauty of Mount Fromme and other nature wonders. Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre and Suspension Bridge are close to the trail and a wonderful opportunity to learn about the surrounding area’s history and ecosystem, offering insightful and interactive activities and exhibitions for the kids. This is a great winter hike to get the whole family out of the city and into the ice-kissed forest.