Car Free Cycling on Vancouver’s North Shore

Discover Outdoors Seymour Demonstration Forest9

Car free cycling, Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve Photo: Rob Weiss

Imagine a 10 km paved roadway through a lush and scenic rainforest.  Now remove all vehicle traffic and add the majestic North Shore Mountains.  Voila! You have arrived at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, affectionately referred to by locals as the Seymour Demonstration forest.  Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages flock to the trail and employ all modes of transportation to explore this unique treasure.  Don’t be surprised to encounter sleek road racers, sturdy downhill mountain bikers, babies in strollers, inline skaters and tots on striders all sharing this unique North Shore experience.  A delightful mix of folk to be sure!

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Forest Trails Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve Photo: Rob Weiss

During summer heat waves, this is one of my favourite afternoon rides.  The shade of the rainforest keeps cyclists cool and protected from the searing summer sun.  You can almost feel the fresh, forest air kiss your face during the long downhill descents.  The pathway crosses numerous streams, now bone dry, but as you cycle past them, it’s easy to visualize the torrents of water that must cascade down the stream beds during spring run off.

Personally, the highlight of my recent outing to the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) was the Old Growth Trail.  Just past the 10km marker, signs point the way to this inspiring route.  This is home to one of the Lower Mainland’s last stands of old growth Sitka Spruce trees, an enchanted forest so to speak.  Certainly, worth hopping off the bike and exploring. Moss covered trees tower over the path as you meander along the Seymour river.  The pace of life slows as you absorb the sights and sounds of the forest around you and time seems to almost stand still.

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Old Growth Trail Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve Photo: Rob Weiss

Open 365 days a year, the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is 5,668 hectares of amazing!  Remember, you are in the mountains, so the undulating terrain should come as no surprise.  However, the heart pounding, leg pumping uphills are rewarded with long, spectacular descents, and a treat awaits for those hardy enough to pedal, hike, or roll to the end of the path.  At the end of the road lies the Seymour Reservoir and Seymour River Fish Hatchery, an ideal location for a rest and picnic break.

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Seymour Reservoir Photo: Rob Weiss

For those wanting more of a challenge and an opportunity to get off the beaten path, the park also features a diverse network of cycling and hiking trails.  Interested in fishing?  Plan a stop at Rice Lake.  Each year the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia stocks the lake with Rainbow Trout.

Discover Outdoors Seymour Demonstration Forest

Fishing in Rice Lake Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There:

The calm, forest oasis known as the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is on the North Shore, only twenty minutes from the frantic pace of the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.

Map and Route Tips:

There are several picnic areas, complete with outhouses, along the trail.  Bring your own snacks and drinks as there are no services along the route.  Washroom facilities and water are located at the main parking area and trailhead.

Have you explored the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve?  Share your favourite trail in the comment section below:

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