Vancouver’s North Shore mountains are a hiker’s paradise in summer, but when the winter snow sets in you can still get out on the trails – just grab a pair of snowshoes. You don’t need any special skills to get started. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! There are lots of snowshoe trails to explore on the North Shore, but here are a few beginner friendly ones, perfect for your first trip on snowshoes.

Grouse Mountain Trails

Take the gondola up to Grouse Mountain for easy access to a winter wonderland. Access to the network of snowshoe trails is included with your gondola ticket. The flat and easy Blue Grouse Loop takes about 30 minutes. Try to go at night to experience the beautiful light displays, complete with a light up tunnel!

If you want something a bit more challenging, take on the Snowshoe Grind. This is the winter counterpart to the famous Grouse Grind hike, but thankfully its not quite as steep or difficult. This moderate trail takes about 1.5 hours to complete as it climbs up to a viewpoint above the ski hill.

 

Dog Mountain

This trail is located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park right next to the Mount Seymour ski hill. There are no fees for this snowshoe trail – it’s totally free. You can find the trailhead at the end of the parking lot just to the left of the ski run. It will take you 2-2.5 hours to snowshoe this trail through rolling terrain with a couple of short hills. When you pass tiny First Lake, you’ve reached the halfway point. Your turnaround point is open summit of Dog Mountain with great views of downtown Vancouver. It’s a great spot for photos. On a clear day you can see all the way to Vancouver Island.

 

Discovery Snowshoe Trails at Mount Seymour

Mount Seymour resorts maintains a network of trails just down the hill from the lodge. You’ll need to pick up and pay for a trail pass before you head out. There are a few different routes to choose from and they all loop around a set of pretty little lakes. Depending on what route you choose, it will take you 1-3 hours to snowshoe the trails. It’s a downhill hike to the lakes, and then the loops around the lakes are flat and easy. But remember to save some energy for the end since you’ll have to hike back up the hill to the lodge at the end!

 

Bowen Lookout

Bowen Lookout

Most of the North Shore trails take you to views over the city, but this one gives you something a bit different: a view over the ocean fjord of Howe Sound. The trail is in Cypress Provincial Park and is free to snowshoe, but you’ll start from the downhill ski base at Cypress Mountain resort. Pick up a free backcountry pass at the old day lodge in the parking lot to get permission to snowshoe through the resort. Once you cross the ski run, the trail it meanders through meadows next to frozen Yew Lake. Next, it climbs steeply up a few switchbacks before a short descent to the lookout. You’ll get a great view over to the Sunshine Coast, Bowen Island and the deep waters of Howe Sound. It’s especially beautiful at sunset, but make sure to bring a flashlight (and extra batteries) for the trip down. This trail will take 1.5-2 hours to complete.

 

Nordic Area Trails at Cypress Mountain

Cypress Mountain has an extensive network of cross-country ski trails and interwoven into that network is a set of snowshoe trails. Head to the Nordic parking area at Cypress to pick up and pay for a trail pass. Be sure to grab a map too since there are lots of trails to choose from and it can be easy to get turned around. There are a few flat trails near the parking area and the Hollyburn Lodge, but many of the trails are a bit hillier. Depending on the route you choose, it will take you 1-5 hours to snowshoe these trails. Be sure to stop in at the new Hollyburn Lodge for a hot chocolate break.

 

Snowshoeing Cypress Mountain

Tips for Beginner Snowshoers

Before you head out on your first snowshoe trip, make sure you are prepared. Tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. This info could save your life if you get into trouble! Find an adventure buddy to go with, since there’s safety in numbers. And if you want a friendly introduction to the sport, all three of the North Shore ski resorts offer guided snowshoe outings and tours.

Wear warm and waterproof clothing since it’s chilly in the mountains. (Here’s a complete guide on what to wear snowshoeing from hats to coats to boots). You’ll also need some gear to keep you safe. North Shore Rescue (our local Search and Rescue team) recommends that you bring the 10 essentials on every trip, so bring along a backpack to carry your safety gear. I also like to bring a thermos with some hot chocolate for a summit celebration.

And of course, you’ll need snowshoes. You can rent them at the three North Shore ski resorts or at local gear shops like MEC. Some rentals also come with ski poles, which can be helpful for balance.

Have fun out there! Snowshoeing is an easy way to get into the mountains in the winter and I’m sure you’ll love it. Once you’ve ticked these beginner snowshoe trails off your list, check out the Ultimate Guide to Snowshoeing in Vancouver for a list of all the local trails on the North Shore.

 

Taryn - Happiest OutdoorsBio: Taryn Eyton is a Vancouver-based hiker, adventure traveller and blogger. You can find her on the trails of Vancouver’s North Shore on weeknights and camping in the backcountry of Southwestern B.C. on weekends. Follow Taryn’s adventures at HappiestOutdoors.ca.

december, 2019

18octAll Day12janExhibition: Wael Shawky: Al Araba Al Madfuna

05novAll Day24decWinter Gift Gallery

22nov(nov 22)4:00 pm26jan(jan 26)9:00 pmCanyon Lights

30novAll Day21decDundarave Festival of Lights

07decAll Day28Dundarave Festival of Lights

12decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

12dec11:00 am12:00 pmLive Music with St. Helens Choir

13decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

13dec4:00 pmA Traditional Christmas with the VSO

13dec(dec 13)4:00 pm24(dec 24)7:00 pmSpirit of the Season at The Shipyards

13dec5:30 pm6:30 pmSax A La Mode at The Market

13dec7:00 pm8:30 pmFriday Night Films: The Grinch

13dec7:30 pmA Traditional Christmas with the VSO

14decAll Day04janDundarave Festival of Lights

14decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

14dec(dec 14)10:00 am15(dec 15)6:00 pmShipyards Christmas Market

14dec11:00 am3:00 pmHoliday Crafts at the Market

14dec11:00 am3:00 pmLive Candy Demonstration at Olde World Convections

14dec11:00 am1:00 pmSanta at The Market

14dec11:30 am12:30 pmLive Music with String Orchestra

14dec2:00 pm3:00 pmChristmas Dance Performance by Perform Art Studio

14dec2:30 pm4:30 pmMovie Matinées: The Polar Express

14dec(dec 14)5:00 pm15(dec 15)6:00 pmWinter's Series Presented by Small Stage

14dec5:45 pm6:45 pmLive Music with North Vancouver Community Band

14dec7:30 pm9:00 pmCarol Ships Shoreside Celebration

15decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

15dec12:00 pm1:30 pmFun Bun Decorating & Hot Chocolate with Cobs Bread

15dec1:30 pm2:30 pmLive Music with Liam Sturgess at The Market

16decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

16dec(dec 16)4:00 pm23(dec 23)6:00 pmLonsdale Quay Market: Mulled Wine, Apple Cider & Non-Alcoholic Apple Cider

17decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

17dec5:45 pm6:45 pmLive Entertainment: Caminando Carolers

17dec7:00 pm8:30 pmVICO Presents Music of the Whole World: Winter Solstice

18decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

18dec6:00 pm7:30 pmLive Music with Liam Sturgess at The Market

19decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

19dec5:45 pm6:45 pmLive Music with Miriam Davidson at the Market

20decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

20dec5:30 pm7:00 pmMichael Babor at The Market

21decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

21decAll Day11janDundarave Festival of Lights

21dec(dec 21)11:00 am22(dec 22)3:00 pmSpot Santa at Cypress Mountain

21dec1:00 pmRoyal City Youth Ballet - The Nutcracker

21dec1:00 pm3:00 pmSkate with Santa

21dec2:30 pm4:30 pmMovie Matinées: Home Alone

21dec4:30 pmRoyal City Youth Ballet - The Nutcracker

21dec6:00 pm7:00 pmLive Entertainment with North Shore Alliance Choir at The Market

22decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

23decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

23dec5:45 pm6:45 pmLive Music with Marc Rivest at The Market

23dec6:30 pm8:30 pmMonday Night at the Movies: The Man Who Invented Christmas

23dec6:30 pm8:30 pmDine Out at The Market

24decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

25decAll DayBreakfast with Santa on Grouse Mountain

31decAll DayNew Year's Eve at Seaside Provisions

31dec5:00 pmFamily New Year's Eve Celebration at Grouse Mountain

31dec5:30 pm8:30 pmFamily First Night at Mt. Seymour

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