Visit the Ancient Giants – Cypress Mountain Snowshoe Trails


Photo: R. Weiss

I find it difficult to believe that it has been 6 years since Canada hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It seems like yesterday we were welcoming the world to Vancouver. I am and forever will be an “Olympic Junkie.” The Games, the athlete’s stories, the volunteerism and the incredible display of excellence in sport have a hold on me. Every four years I find myself captivated by the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. As my personal homage to the Winter Games, I felt compelled to grab my snowshoes and visit Cypress Mountain to reflect upon those wonderful moments of 2010.

I decided to sneak out of the office early and enjoy a mid-week afternoon adventure along the Ancient Giants Trail. Don’t let the snowdrops, crocuses and early blossoms fool you, there is still plenty of snow to be had! Naturally, the snowpack has been reduced due to the recent heavy rains but despite the balmy weather the trails are in decent shape. Now is certainly the time to take advantage of them.


Photo: R. Weiss

My trek began at the trailhead to Hollyburn Meadows. The interpretive signage notes that below the 10 to 20 feet of snow lies terrain so thick with blueberry bushes that during the summer months the route can be almost impassable. Following along the well-marked path I soon arrived at the western shore of First Lake and Hollyburn Lodge. Built in 1926, this historic building is rich in history and a popular destination for cross country skiers and hikers alike. Currently, the facility is closed as work on the Lodge renewal project continues. This restoration initiative is a testament to community spirit, pride and passion for the outdoors.


Photo: R. Weiss

My return route meandered along the Ancient Giants and Sitzmark Glade trails. To be alone in the forest with these magnificent trees is awe inspiring. Many of the old growth Mountain and Western Hemlock trees in the Sitzmark Glade are over 400 years old. Imagine the stories these Ancient Giants could tell. I took my time along this stretch, savouring the peace, quiet and solitude.
As dusk began to fall it seemed only fitting to head up to the Alpine Area, site of Alex Bilodeau and Ashleigh McIvor’s 2010 gold medal performances. I could not resist a quick visit to the Crazy Raven Bar & Grill to toast our athletes. Located in the Cypress Creek Lodge at the base of the alpine area, the bar features terrific views of the slopes, a cozy fireplace and some of the best nachos in town! Perfect end to a perfect day.


Photo: Flickr Larissa Sayer

Interested in trying snowshoes on for size?

Cypress offers rentals, guided trips and a delectable Chocolate Fondue Tour.

Beginners are welcome and strongly encouraged to visit the mountain! The self-guided trails are well-marked and rated by difficulty levels. Pick up your trail map and discover “Snowshoe Zen”.

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