Be Prepared – Hiking the Baden-Powell Trail

Deep Cove Photo: Rob Weiss

Be Prepared. Long recognized as the mantra for the Boy Scouts, these two simple words have come to represent the legendary spirit of the scouting movement. Fortunately for Vancouverites, we have the opportunity to honour Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the Founder of Scouting, by tackling the wonderous Baden-Powell (BP) Trail located on Vancouver’s North Shore.  Connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove, winding over 40 km through fantastic, rugged coastal rain forest this scenic trail offers some of the best hiking in the region.

Don’t be discouraged by the overall distance of the trail. In fact, few people tackle the route in its entirety.  Fortunately, numerous access points are available along the way, allowing outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore shorter sections. One of my favourite day hikes is the segment from Lynn Canyon to Deep Cove, with a celebratory summit of Quarry Rock.

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge Photo: Rob Weiss

During our recent hike, we enthusiastically began our day by crossing the enticing Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Silently we stood together on the 50-metre high bridge, gazing at the rushing water below, each of us lost in thought. Personally, I could have stayed for hours on that bridge savouring the view, but the BP trail beckoned. Well marked and well maintained the Baden Powell trail is relatively easy to follow, although intersecting trails along the way can sometimes cause confusion. Just another reason to travel with a topographical map and GPS or compass.

Forest Bathing on the Baden Powell Trail Photo: Rob Weiss

Navigating the trail from west to east means a relatively flat and downhill day, music to the ears for those not enamoured with elevation gain. As we made our way deeper into the lush west coast forest, rich in Douglas Fir and Western Cedar, I reflected on a recent article I had read about the healing ways of “Forest Bathing.”  In Japan, known as “shinrin-yoku,” forest bathing is the practice of immersing yourself in nature to improve health and well-being.  As I hiked along, stumbling over rocks and roots, surrounded by friends and the forest, I realized I did feel better. I wasn’t prepared for that!

Roots and Rocks along the Baden Powell Trail Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There:

Numerous access points are available for those wanting to hike shorter sections of the trail.  Several trailheads are accessible by transit including Lynn Canyon and Deep Cove.

Lynn Canyon Trail Head:  Access the trail via Lynn Canyon Park.  By car, travel along Highway 1 to the Lynn Valley Road exit.  Transit users can access the Translink Route Planner to plan their trip.

Quarry Rock Trail Head: The trailhead is located on Panorama Drive in Deep Cove, just north of the parking lot.

Follow the BP Trail Markers Photo: Rob Weiss

Be Prepared:

Spring conditions are temperamental at best. Expect rapidly changing weather conditions, flushing creeks and MUD! Remember to pack the ten essentials for safe, back-country travel and enjoy your day on the trail.

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