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My Vancouver #3: Two scenic hikes in BC’s Lower Mainland

My Vancouver #3: Two scenic hikes in BC's Lower Mainland
My Vancouver #3: Two scenic hikes in BC’s Lower Mainland

I love to explore new places in and around Vancouver, get lost on the trails, and eat my way through the city! In the My Vancouver series I’ll share the latest places I’ve explored, eaten at, and adventured to. I’d love to hear about your latest city discoveries!

2 Scenic Hikes in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland

Sea to Summit Hiking Trail: Squamish 

Distance: 7.5 km one-way | Time: 3-3.5 hours | Directions | Difficulty: intermediate | Bring $ for gondola ride down | Be prepared to scramble up rocks and use ropes and chains

My friends Nikki, Luke, and I made the 40 minute drive out to Squamish on a cloudy day to hike the relatively new Sea to Summit Trail. The trail begins near the base of the Sea to Summit Gondola and the trailhead is easy to find from the gondola parking lot. Arrive early: the parking lots fills up quickly especially in the summer or on nice days.

VancouverTrails.com is my go-to resource for hiking trail directions and reviews. Find the Sea to Summit Hike Trail Directions here.

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Hike Highlights:

  • It is a steady climb for the majority of the hike, with a few flatter sections and gently rolling hills scattered throughout. Be prepared for a workout and bring snacks.
  • The trail is well-marked. I never felt like we were going to get lost. It was also quite busy when we hiked it on a Sunday in May, so there are plenty of people to follow.
  • Early on in the hike, you are treated to views of the city of Squamish down below and also get to walk beside Shannon Falls. Don’t fall in!
  • Several times, you will have to scramble up rock faces, using ropes and chains (already put in place). I would not recommend bringing your dog.
  • When you reach the top, head over to the Sea to Summit Lodge. Grab a snack, enjoy the views of Squamish from the impressive patio, and walk over the free suspension bridge.
  • If you have enough energy, don’t miss the easy 1.6 km/20 minute Panorama Trail Loop, that takes you from the Sea to Summit Lodge out to views of the Stawamus Chief and Squamish and back.
  • Pay $10 and take the gondola back down to the parking lot. I would not recommend hiking down the Sea to Summit trail.

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Lynn Headwaters Regional Park: North Vancouver

Distance: 10-14 km | Time: 3.5-4 hours | Directions | Difficulty: easy | Transit accessible

This hike is a bit of a “choose your own adventure.” I took transit (input Lynn Headwaters Park as your destination) and got off at Ramsay Road and McNair Drive. Across the street from the bus stop, you can access the Baden Powell Trail. Follow the BP to Lynn Valley Road and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Find the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park Trail Map here.

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Once I arrived at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, I took the Varley Trail, Lynn Loop Trail, and Cedar Mills Trail to Third Debris Chute. It is 4 km one-way to the chute, as you walk through forest, well-maintained trails, and beside the rushing creek. At the chute, the area opens up and it is beautiful. Mountains are on either side of you and you can walk down and sit by the creek. You can continue on and hike to Norvan Falls (14 km round trip) or return to your starting point (8 km round trip).

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If you are looking for a longer hike: from your starting point, instead of going straight toward Third Debris Chute, take a right and go on the Lynn Headwaters Connector Trail. Follow the signs to Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and take the easy loop around beautiful Rice Lake. Alternatively, in the opposite direction of Lower Seymour, Lynn Headwaters also has trails connecting to Lynn Canyon and the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

Find the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve Area Trail Map here.

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After looping around Rice Lake, taking in the views and watching the people fishing, return to your starting point. Take the Baden Powell trail back to the bus stop or follow Lynn Valley Road out of the park and to a different bus stop at Underwood Avenue and Evelyn Street. Stop at the End of the Line General store for a cold drink or coffee and snack.

Have you gone on any fantastic hikes or explored a new place in your city lately?

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