If there's one thing that makes Vancouverites true Vancouverites, it's their ability to continue living the PNW life in spite of months upon months of rainy day drudgery. Perhaps it's our west coast identity as the 'outdoorsy' Canadians, but we don't let ourselves get cabin fever when the weather takes a nasty turn.
'Beautiful British Columbia' is hardly an undeserved moniker; each hike or day spent outdoors reminds us just how absurdly gorgeous our province really is. With the North Shore mountains just a stone's throw from downtown, there's an incredible outdoors playground at our fingertips, with a number of trails staying open year-round.
So whether or not you own a pair of snowshoes, or want to brave the trails in your best hiking boots, here are some of the loveliest winter hikes to take this season:
Dog Mountain Trail // Mount Seymour
Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Seymour offers amazing views of the city and Mount Baker. One of the best routes for novice hikers is the Dog Mountain trail, a 5km round-trip hike that takes around 2hrs. The trail is fairly flat, insanely beautiful, and will gently lead you from Seymour's ski runs into thick forest and stunning winter scenery.
Taylor Meadows // Garbaldi Provincial Park
One of the most beautiful snowshoe trails in BC is right in Squamish. Garibaldi Lake is beautiful year-round but come winter transforms into an ethereal majestic valley. Not for beginners, this hike is best attempted with some experience under your belt, but the route to Taylor Meadows is highly recommended. Snowshoe through Taylor Meadows on the way up and then across the lake on the way back, but be sure to come prepared with layers, lights and GPS!
Golden Ears Trail // Golden Ears Provincial Park
With winter camping available at Gold Creek Campground, Golden Ears is a great choice for a winter outdoors adventure. Golden Ears Provincial Park has a number of different trails ranging in difficulty. So whether you're in it for an overnight challenge or simply want to stroll around Alouette Lake, you're bound to find a dose of winter magic in Maple Ridge's finest outdoor destination.
Rainbow Falls Trail // Whistler
A short jaunt from Whistler Village, the Rainbow Falls trailhead is easily accessible from Alta Lake Road and an awesome option for those of you wanting to test out your snowshoeing skills this season - the trail is relatively short, easy to follow, and absurdly beautiful. While the path is very zig-zaggy, at just 0.8km anyone should be up to the challenge. Wanting a longer adventure? Afterwards, you can also take the Rainbow Lake trail or the Flank trail, which all connect at different junctions. Either way, the spot is a fantastic way to take in some winter wonderland vibes and get a good little workout in while you're at it.
Hollyburn Mountain // Cypress
7km of thigh-burning climbing might sound exhausting but when you catch a glimpse of our pretty city down below you'll be glad you made the trip. This dog-friendly trail takes around 3 hours and offers beautiful views of both the city and surrounding snowy mountains.
Dam Mountain Trail // Grouse Mountain
Dam Mountain is a Vancouverite favourite. It is easily accessible via The Alpine Trail or The Ridge Trail on Grouse Mountain (or by both trails, creating a partial loop), and is well-defined and marked. The Upper Grouse backcountry offers views of the Howe Sound and glimpses of the Cypress Mountain area. Often referred to in the winter as "the Snowshoe Grouse Grind," the route is 4.3 km long with an elevation gain of 215 m. Dam Mountain is just hard enough to help you stay fit over the winter, while taking you into snowy white landscapes that make the wait till next summer a little more bearable.
Lynn Loop // North Vancouver
An easy-peasy trail in North Van, Lynn Loop is a nice option when you have a spare few hours in the morning and you're not looking for a major expedition. The wide trail takes you around Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and takes less than 2hrs. Keep an eye open for other trails leading off the main loop if you're up for a longer hike, and enjoy getting away from the city and into the lush wintery forest.
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