Snowshoeing offers a unique connection to the winter landscape, where the soft crunch of snow beneath your feet is the soundtrack to a serene and picturesque adventure.
In this article, we’ll explore the top places to go snowshoeing in and around Vancouver, providing options for both seasoned snowshoers and beginners looking to embrace the snowy season.
So, prepare your gear and get ready to join us in this wintery exploration!
Dog Mountain on Mount Seymour
Snowshoeing on Dog Mountain, located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, is a wonderful choice due to its accessibility and stunning views.
This easy-to-moderate trail offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the North Shore mountains.
Halfway through the hike (easy hike), you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the summit. You’ll need one to two hours to make it up and back this 4.4 kilometre trail.
Pro tip: The name of the place says it – you can bring your dog along for the adventure, but be sure to keep them on a leash in accordance with park regulations.
Bowen Lookout Winter Trail
This trail on Cypress Mountain leads to the Bowen Lookout, promising a picturesque winter wonderland experience. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Howe Sound and Bowen Island.
The trail is well-marked and suitable for all levels, which makes it a great choice for beginners. The initial section of the trail is easy, then gradually transitioning into a steeper hill towards the end.
Access to the trail is free, but you will need to obtain a complimentary backcountry permit at the Black Mountain Lodge.
Pro-tip: Plan your visit early in the morning or on weekdays to avoid the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of the forest.
Blue Grouse Loop, Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain‘s Blue Grouse Loop offers an easy snowshoe trail, similar to the first two mentioned above. Many would argue that this one is even easier.
It’s a very short 1 to 1.5-kilometer loop, mostly flat and incredibly rewarding in terms of scenery. For a moderately fit person, completing this trail will typically take just 30 to 45 minutes.
Pro-tip: It shares the same starting and ending points as another Grouse Mountain trail called the Light Walk trail. Both start at the Light Tunnel, but make sure to head left to avoid following the longer route of the other trail.
First Peak on Mount Seymour
For a more challenging snowshoeing adventure, head to the First Peak on Mount Seymour.
This trail provides a longer hike (10 kilometres round trip) with higher elevation and breathtaking views. It’s perfect for those seeking a more strenuous workout and an opportunity to explore the winter wilderness.
It’s free to hike, but there’s a pass needed to access the trail.
Pro-tip: Dress in layers and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, as the climb can be demanding.
Hollyburn Peak on Cypress Mountain
Hollyburn Peak in Cypress Provincial Park ranks among the most popular winter trails in the Vancouver area. It provides an exceptional snowshoeing experience with its well-maintained trails and a round-trip route spanning 7 kilometers.
The panoramic views of the Cypress Bowl and the surrounding mountains from the peak are worth the effort. But before you get there, the trail takes you approximately 2.5 kilometers to the end of the Cypress Mountain Nordic ski area.
Pro-tip: Cypress Mountain Resort Nordic area, which runs alongside this trail, offers paid access. Snowshoeing on Hollyburn Peak is completely free.
Black Mountain Plateau Winter Trail
Located in Cypress Mountain, the Black Mountain Plateau Winter Trail is perfect for a peaceful snowshoeing outing.
The gently rolling terrain and well-groomed trails make it suitable for all skill levels. The challenge can be considered moderate, but it can take up to 3 hours for a moderately fit person to finish it.
Pro-tip: To get there, spot the lower terminal of the Eagle Express Quad Chairlift. Some 30 minutes west of that, you’ll see signposts pointing you to the trail.
Discovery Snowshoe Trails
Located on Grouse Mountain, the Discovery Snowshoe Trails provide a fantastic family-friendly snowshoeing experience.
The elevation gain in the trails is 50 metres, and it might take one to three hours depending on whether you’re doing loops. With multiple trail options, it’s an ideal spot for those new to the activity or for those who want to explore.
Pro-tip: The trails offer paid access. At the time of writing, it’s valued at CAD 17 – this includes the fee for parking in the upper lots.
Thunderbird Ridge offers a more remote snowshoeing adventure in the backcountry of Mount Seymour. With an elevation gain of about 200 meters and a moderate difficulty level, plan on 2-3 hours to complete this trail.
With varied terrain and fewer crowds, it’s perfect for those seeking solitude and unspoiled nature. From the top, you’ll get views of Grouse Mountain Resort set against downtown Vancouver and the nearby Mount Seymour.
Pro-tip: There’s a portion of the trail after the ski resort that cuts into a steep hill. Use caution, stay on the trail, and keep an eye out for small avalanches.