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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?