It’s Thanksgiving (Canadian), and I’ve just had the perfect day with good friends on North Vancouver’s Mount Seymour trail. Vancouver’s North Shore is home to me, and while many of my posts are from further afield, it feels right that my Thanksgiving post is about a local gem.
Locals: if you like to hike and have not done this trail, do it. Visitors: if you want to experience the jaw-dropping natural beauty surrounding Vancouver, do it. I have done many North Shore hikes and this one is my current favourite. Why?
First of all, unlike many other local hikes, you don’t need to complete the entire trail (8 km return) for panoramic pay-off. Views come early and often. The hike has three peaks, and even if you only have the time or energy to make it to the first (about 1.5 km), you will be rewarded with gorgeous city and mountain views.
Secondly, while this is an uphill hike (elevation gain 450 m over 4 km), the steep uphill grunts are punctuated with gentle, undulating terrain that passes through beautiful alpine meadows with pretty creeks and ponds. The colours are incredible right now: glowing russets and oranges contrasting with deep green mosses and cool, granite boulders. Fall is a great season to do this hike but be careful; the cold nights bring icy patches that form on the smooth rocks. I learned the hard way.
Finally, if you can push on to the second and third peaks, the 360 degree views are WOW: north over the Coast Mountains, east over Indian Arm, West to Grouse and Cypress Mountains, and south over Vancouver with views as far as Mount Baker in Washington. Take a long well-deserved break, and drink in the beauty. It’s hard to believe that you’re only about 25 km from a city of over two million people. I’m so thankful to have this in my backyard. Happy Thanksgiving!
Details & Planning Tips
- Distance: 8 km return
- Elevation Gain: 450 m
- High Point: 1455 m
- Time Needed: 4-5 hours including rest/photo stops
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Season: July-October (do not attempt in poor weather)
- Trailhead: Mount Seymour Provincial Park (west end of downhill skiing parking lot) 40 minutes from downtown.
- Tips: Hiking poles can be handy especially on the downhill as the terrain is steep and gnarly. Beware of more difficult terrain after the second peak. There are some narrow sections with steep drop offs. I’d be hesitant to do this part with small children.