Snowshoes, Sunsets and the Grind


Scenic views from the Snowshoe Grind Photo: D Coo Badger Photography

Missing your fitness fix on the Grouse Grind?  Resolved to up your fitness level in 2017? With epic snow on our North Shore Mountains if you have not yet traded your hiking boots for snowshoes, now might be the time to challenge the Snowshoe Grind!

Access to the Snowshoe Grind trailhead begins with an exhilarating Skyride on North America’s largest aerial tramway to The Peak of Vancouver.  No matter how many times I ride the Gondola, I always feel a thrill when ascending the mountain.  Views of the city, Gulf Islands and beyond take my breath away, and I find the excitement for the day ahead always builds as the tram car inches its way to the top.

Grinding the SSG on Grouse Mountain Photo: Rob Weiss

The Snowshoe Grind, affectionately known as the SSG, is a well marked and popular trail, approximately 4.3 km long. Be warned, the route climbs 215 metres up towards the top of Dam Mountain.  Passionate regulars are often seen activating the SSG timer in a quest to monitor their progress and beat last week’s trekking time.  Personally, I prefer a long, slow trudge full of peace and contemplation.  For me, there is something magical about snowshoeing.  Noise is dampened, except for the crunching sounds underfoot.  Crisp winter air nips at my face and my heart pounds with every step.  Snow covered trees line the trail, their unique shapes stir my imagination.  The slow pace of snowshoeing fosters deep thinking. Quickly, I become lost in the breathtaking landscape and my passion for the outdoors always deepens.

Icicles on the Snowshoe Grind Photo: Rob Weiss

Naturally, there is a thrill in the accomplishment of completing the Snow Shoe Grind, but personally, the reward on Grouse Mountain is always the sunset.  On those perfect, clear winter days, I carefully plan to arrive on the Dam Plateau as the sun begins to go down.  City lights begin to sparkle, as snowshoers and photographers gather on the ridge line to savour the last few moments of light.  Words are seldom spoken, yet there is a shared camaraderie amongst folk on the SSG – both Mother Nature and snowshoers are at their best!

Sunsets from the Snowshoe Grind Trail Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There

Located on the top of Grouse Mountain, the Snow Shoe Grind is only a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.  Visit the Grouse Mountain website for directions, hours and trail conditions.

No Shoeshoes? No Problem!

Snowshoe rentals are available at the Fireside Hut, located adjacent to the outdoor skating rink.

Family fun on the Snowshoe Grind Photo: Rob Weiss

Trail Map

Interested in extending the route?  Check out the Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park Trail Map for a view of the Dam Mountain Loop and Discovery Loop.

Be Prepared

The grass may be greener, or in this case, the snow may be deeper on the other side of the fence, but keep in mind ski hill, and trail boundaries are in place for a reason.  Stay in bounds, on designated trails and enjoy the Winter Wonderland we know as our North Shore!

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