I love to be alone in nature. The quiet solitude of a hiking trail is a welcome respite from life in the city. My husband and I can hike for hours together in total silence. Not the uncomfortable, stone cold silence of a marital spat. Instead a warm, comfortable silence created from our shared love of the outdoors. Mother Nature often rewards those who tread lightly. Sounds of the wind, a thundering waterfall, a babble of a brook or the call of a bird come to those who are patient. One of my favourite places to connect with nature is Lynn Canyon Park on Vancouver’s North Shore.
Many of the trails in Lynn Canyon Park are short, gentle hikes, making the park an ideal destination for those new to hiking and outdoor exploration. The park offers both leisurely strolls, brisk climbs, waterfalls, and all the natural beauty of our coastal rainforest. Of course, the suspension bridge swinging 50 meters over the canyon below, is a highlight of the hike and an instagrammer’s dream! Look carefully at the old Douglas fir and western red cedar stumps along the paths. You will notice springboard notches, used by loggers in the 1800’s. A reminder of our past.
Last week I eagerly ventured out on a section of the Baden Powell Trail in Lynn Canyon Park. My sights were set on the 30 foot pool. As I crossed the suspension bridge the sounds of the cascading water were muffled by the sounds of laughter and excitement. Spring break had arrived and the trails were teaming with kids. My initial plan for peace, quiet and contemplation was in ruins. Ah, the exuberance of youth! Seeing the trails and forest through the eyes of a child was enlightening. Each rock, tree, mud puddle and stream proved to be a source of excitement and discovery. Bird calls were few and far between, replaced by sounds of joy and excitement.
Popular in the summer as one of Vancouver’s favourite swimming holes, the 30 foot pool is also a year round hot spot for picnics and snack breaks. Emerald green in colour the pool beckons you to stop, reflect and skim a rock or two. It’s quite easy to lose track of time here. Beyond the pool, a large set of stairs leads to the Pipe Bridge and for those wanting a longer trip the trail continues on to Rice Lake. As I sat by the pool looking at the stairs, Led Zeppelin’s famous song ‘Stairway to Heaven” came to mind, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was our own stairway to heaven.
Lynn Canyon Park is located in North Vancouver and easily accessible by public transit. Parking is available at the entrance to the park. Arrive early, as the parking lots fill quickly.
Be Wilderness Safe:
Despite the proximity to all the comforts of the City, the trails on the North Shore are mountainous. Conditions can change rapidly, temperatures might dip suddenly and storms come up quickly. Dress in layers, be prepared and enjoy your day on the trail!
Interested in learning about the flora, fauna, wildlife and local history? Include a visit to the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre.