Winter Fun: Free Snowshoeing Trails Near Vancouver

Hollyburn Mountain. Photo credit: Taraneh Jerven

We decided to get the family snowshoes this winter. Over the Christmas holiday, my husband and I, plus our  three-month-old, joined the hordes of snowshoeing enthusiasts on Vancouver’s nearby mountains: Grouse, Cypress and Seymour.

Snowshoeing, the most rapidly growing winter sport, attracts all kinds: the super fit, casual day trippers, athletic families, sledders who hike up and slide down…

It’s a simple sport; if you can walk, you can snowshoe. The benefits – stunning winter wonderland scenery and healthy exertion – are addictive.

Our adventures are only just beginning, but here are two great snowshoeing treks we’ve tried near Vancouver which are free if you bring your own gear.

Vancouver’s local resorts, Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour, all have tidy, dedicated snowshoeing trails which require purchasing a day pass and are a great option for those who intend to rent snowshoes. They’re also fun if you’re celebrating something – i.e. the Chocolate Fondue Snowshoe Tour.

If you’ve already invested in gear, B.C. Parks has well-marked trails that double up as both summer hiking excursions and winter snowshoeing adventures. Vancouvertrails.com is a great resource to help you plan your B.C. Parks trip.

Hollyburn summit. Photo credit: Taraneh Jerven

Free Snowshoeing Trails Near Vancouver

On Cypress, check out Hollyburn Mountain.
This thigh-burning, 450-metre ascent is well worth the glittering views of Vancouver and the Burrard Inlet. It’s 7km. Vancouver Trails estimates it will take 3.5 hours but we found it took slightly less. Once at the viewpoint, bust out the water and the trail mix. The mischievous whiskey jacks (birds) are keen to steal a snack and will land on your hand, if you extend it. Just beware of the mountain top ravens – a heftier build than the fellows down below. Here’s more info including driving directions. Yes, the trail is dog-friendly.

Gentle ascent. Photo credit: Taraneh Jerven

On Seymour, try Dog Mountain.
Shorter and significantly easier than Hollyburn, Dog Mountain offers a slight yet scenic ascent with all the Dr. Seuss-style, snow-covered, curling trees and a pleasant view of the Burrard Inlet, if the day is clear. The total trip is 5km and should take less than 2 hours. Here’s more info including driving directions. Yes, the trail is dog-friendly.

Friendly whiskey jacks on Mt. Seymour. Photo credit: T. Jerven

Want another option? Try the free trail up Black Mountain on Cypress. Read about Remy’s journey up here.

Note: The resort parking lots fill up fast. So head over early (before 9am) or prepare to wait in a queue leading up the mountain to the parking lot.

Want more updates on Vancouver fun? Follow me on Twitter @TJerven

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