Hiking in Tetrahedron Provincial Park, Sunshine Coast, British Columbia

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Edwards Lake, Tetrahedron Provincial Park—C.Helbig

Tetra where? As the crow flies, it’s only 50 km from Vancouver, but many folks have never heard of Tetrahedron Provincial Park and its great hiking trails. Perhaps we can thank geography for that. The park is located on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, accessed via a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver. Then, it’s another 75 minute drive, the last 35 minutes on a gravel, forestry road northeast of the town of Sechelt. With so much awesome hiking on Vancouver’s North Shore and Howe Sound, many of us don’t bother venturing further afield. Last weekend, a couple of my pals and I decided to give Tetrahedron a try. We liked what we saw, despite poor weather.

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Ominous sky at Edwards Lake, Tetrahedron Provincial Park—C.Helbig

Our plan had been to hike to Mt.Steele Cabin and stay overnight— 9.4 km (one-way) and about 800 m elevation gain from the lower parking lot. But, Saturday morning was so bleak we decided to postpone and do a full-day, roundtrip hike on Sunday. It took us about 7 hours with two good rest stops. Sadly, the weather wasn’t much better and the anticipated awesome views were not in the cards. On the positive side, the moisture-laden air played up the majesty of the Pacific Northwest rainforest and the remote feel of the park. It was just us, the forest, and loads of bear scat. For the last three km of the hike, it was just us and snow.

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Lots of pretty ponds and skunk cabbage at lower elevation—C.Helbig

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Capturing the mood of the Pacific Northwest rainforest, Tetrahedron Provincial Park—C.Helbig

The park has good hiking options for both day trips and overnight excursions. In winter, the trails are used for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. Besides the Mt. Steele Cabin, there are three other rustic cabins with wood stoves, communal tables, sleeping lofts for 12 overnight visitors, and outhouses. The photo below shows Edwards Cabin, a nice rest stop on the way to Mt. Steele.

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Edwards Cabin, Tetrahedron Provincial Park—C.Helbig

The trail is very easy going to Edwards Cabin (6ish km from our parking spot). The last 3 km to Mount Steele Cabin get significantly more gnarly and contain the majority of the elevation gain.

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Creek crossing just beyond Edwards Cabin—C.Helbig

We were surprised at the amount of snow over the last couple of kilometres. With the menacing sky, the scenery was beautiful in a rugged, scary, outdoor movie kind of way (can’t seem to get The Revenant out of my mind). Although the trail is well marked, it was comforting to see a few footprints, and no more bear scat.

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Making our way to the Mt. Steele Cabin—C.Helbig

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My friend Trish, swallowed up in snow and fog—C.Helbig

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A tiny bit of blue sky that doesn’t last as we approach Mt. Steele Cabin—C.Helbig

If you look carefully at the top of the slope in the photo above, you can just make out the red, A-frame roof of Mt. Steele Cabin. Had the weather cooperated, we would have trudged a little further to the top of Mt.Steele for views over the mighty Coast Mountains and Howe Sound. Next time! For now, we were content to get out of the damp and enjoy our lunch in the cabin.

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Mt. Steele Cabin, Tetrahedron Provincial Park—C.Helbig

We shaved off loads of time on the way back as we ran down the snowy slopes, our poles flailing at our sides. This activity never fails to produce massive giggling attacks as we watch each other slip, slide, and sometimes face plant—I’m convinced it’s good for the soul.

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Fun journey down from Mt. Steele Cabin—C.Helbig

In case you’re interested in seeing  Mt. Steele Cabin on a clear day (and to entice my hiking partners to come with me again) I’m including the photo below. It looks absolutely worth another trip to the Sunshine Coast to hike in Tetrahedron Provincial Park. Are you guys in?

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Mt. Steele Cabin view on a nice day—Credit:Dustan Sept

For more information about the park, detailed directions, and maps with hiking trails and cabin locations, check out websites for BC Parks and Tetrahedron Outdoor Club.

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Hiking in Tetrahedron Provincial Park, Sunshine Coast, British Columbia

  1. It’s going on the (ever growing) list!

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  2. Pingback: Hiking in Tetrahedron Park: Another Attempt at the Elusive Views | Writes of Passage

  3. As one of your other readers mentioned I never hear of bear scat as well and so I Googled it and selected “images” because I thought that’d be great to get a visual haha. Even though it looks cold and isolated the pictures are amazing. Does noise really frighten bears? I’ve not seen one in the wild and not crazy about the idea of running into one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caroline H Helbig

      Haha…nice visual indeed! I’m beginning to think this is a rather local term known more in bear country. In general, bears in the wild want nothing to do with humans and will avoid them. Making noise alerts them and gives them time to move away. If you’re a regular hiker in this area, the likelihood of seeing a bear at some point is fairly high. I see at least 2 or 3 per season. My heart pounds madly every time, and my first reaction is to run…wrong reaction. A part of me is also thrilled. They are incredibly beautiful animals. Thanks for stopping by Steph, I know you’ve been really busy (don’t know how you fit it all in)!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the link to the New Jersey bear story. Poor guy, bears weren’t built to be walking on two legs all the time! I must admit, I had to look at the video twice, wondering whether it was real. It does look very much like a human walk. Amazing how adaptable animals (and humans) are.

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  4. Oh this looks positively beautiful. Love the little cabins and the rivers… Looks like you guys are pros at skiing. Impressive. Does look cold though… especially for summer!

    Great that you have this so close by.

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    • Yes we are lucky to have this at our doorstep. I’m hoping to do it again next week under sunnier/warmer conditions and will post again. Cheers!

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  5. That’s an amazing place!
    it’s so important to be prepared for different temperatures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caroline H Helbig

      Absolutely I always carry my rain gear and warm layer, especially in this region where you’re going from coastal rainforest to alpine. Hope to go back soon, when it’s sunny.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Alison Wilson

    Thanks for the info Caroline, we have been meaning to visit there for awhile and great to know it’s beautiful in summer or winter….although snow in June is not really summer! Thanks and enjoyed your blog as always.

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    • Thanks Alison. I think you’d enjoy it. Be careful on the access road, it is quite rutted (probably from all the rain). In winter it is not maintained and from what I’ve read you should have chains. It looks absolutely spectacular as a snowshoeing destination. I hope to get back again this summer. Send me a note if you want more details.

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  7. Hi Caroline, Never heard the word scat but I can guess that one. I am with Alison -Bear country, no way. It looks stunning country, the mountains are magnificent and the snow downhill run does look like fun. I have had other priorities the last few weeks and haven’t had a chance to read much in the reader but am looking forward to coming back to read your Mexican pots soon. Enjoy your coffee with Alison I love her blog. Her photos and info packed posts are great.Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Louise, glad you learned a new word (perhaps not a term used in your parts). I thought maybe it was slang, but it shows up in respectable dictionaries. It’s only used for animal droppings. When you live here and want to go hiking, bears are part of the deal. I’ve seen lots, and am always scared, but so far (fingers crossed) they seem to be more scared of me and run away or mind their own business. There are very few incidents, but bad stuff does happen on rare occasion. They’ve got great hearing and they’d hear us chatty ladies miles away! I think I’d be more scared where you are…don’t you have big snakes and scorpions and spiders!!! Nice to get your comments as always!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved the lower elevation pics…upper ones…a bit chilly! Odd park name:)

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    • Yes rather blustery. Perhaps tetrahedron is the shape of highest peak (which shares the name). Of course we didn’t see the peak so I have no idea!

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  9. Jackie Frioud

    Thanks for the info on Tetrahedron, Caroline! Sounds like fun!

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  10. Brrrrrrrrr. Hasn’t the weather been crap! What happened to summer? Except for the bears it sounds like a beautiful hike – on a sunny day. For all the wilderness hiking I’ve done in BC, and I’ve done a lot, I never have gotten used to the idea of hiking in bear country.
    We’re back in Van until the end of October. Wanna get together for coffee?
    Alison

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    • Thanks Alison. I’m with you on the bears. With the amount of droppings we saw I am absolutely amazed that we didn’t encounter one. The three of us are quite chatty though and probably scared them off! I would love to get together for coffee with my traveling and blogging idol!!! You can reach me through my contact page and I can share my email address.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I would hike this trail again, cloudy or not. Passing through the trees, marshes and lakes was spectacular. The trail was well maintained and the markings were obvious. Sliding back down in the snow was an absolute bonus. Count me in on the next trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to hear it! You’re right—there was something very special about the trees, marshes and lakes (maybe because we had them all to ourselves). Isn’t the view spectacular though…and apparently even better from the top of Mt. Steele.

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