Hollyburn Peak in Vancouver
Hollyburn Mountain is a fantastic snowshoeing trail in Cypress Provincial Park in Vancouver. The Hollyburn trailhead is an astonishingly close, 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver. The approach drive up to the Cypress Mountain Resort to get to the Hollyburn Mountain trailhead has wonderful views of the distant and strikingly beautiful Vancouver below.
Arriving at the trailhead you would expect to encounter various fees for parking, trail use, etc. But the Hollyburn Mountain snowshoeing and hiking trail is completely free... parking as well.
You will likely be able to park just metres from the trailhead and if you don't happen to own snowshoes, you can rent them at the trailhead for an unexpectedly reasonable price. As if it couldn't get better, it does... the trail is so well marked that it can easily be done after dark, as many do. What a perfect escape from the city. A perfect mountain escape to a towering mountain paradise far above the big city below.
The city lights are amazingly vivid. Blue from the ocean, white street lights cut the city into sections and the city's skyline of skyscrapers look toy-like from this height. From the lights of the Lions Gate Bridge, to the beautifully bright tankers, to the wondrously glowing Vancouver towers, you can see it all from this amazing trail.
Great views, fairly easy snowshoeing, convenient times to use, and of course free. Snowshoeing to Hollyburn Peak is yet another spectacular piece of the whole amazing Vancouver experience. Hollyburn Mountain is easily done in a day trip from Whistler as it is quite close and quite a short snowshoeing route, at only 7k roundtrip. Go early for the amazing sunrise, or late in the day for the unbelievable sunset. From Whistler, expect to take about two hours to drive to the trailhead on Cypress Mountain.
The Hollyburn Mountain trail is very well marked with light reflecting, neon orange, 6 foot tall marker poles, only a few metres apart most of the way. Though the trail is a fairly constant uphill it is a relatively short trail. Most make it to the summit of Hollyburn in an hour from the trailhead. Coming down is quite a bit faster and you will see people using crazy carpets on the trail in the winter.
In the summer with no snow, your downward pace will be quite fast as compared to uphill. If you plan to hike or snowshoe Hollyburn Mountain after dark, make sure you have a light and a backup light. The trail marker poles only reflect light, so you could easily lose the trail without lights after dark.
The amazing views from the summit of Hollyburn Mountain include, the Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, West Vancouver, Howe Sound and Georgia Straight, The Lions, and quite a lot else. Hollyburn Mountain is one of the highest around and the view is a breathtaking, wonderfully panoramic 360.
Dog Mountain - Vancouver Snowshoeing
Dog Mountain is a fantastic snowshoeing trail close to Vancouver and starting from the parking lot of Mount Seymour Resort. Just 2.2k gets you from your car to breathtaking views of the big city below. This area is popular all year-round and there are plenty of trails to choose from. In the summer the trails include, Mount Elsay, a beautiful and very challenging 16k roundtrip hike to a beautiful mountain peak. Mount Seymour, a moderately challenging 8k roundtrip to the top of Seymour and amazing panoramic views. And Goldie Lake and Mystery Lake, which have their own comparatively easy, family friendly trails. Dog Mountain, in terms of difficulty and distance, is in the middle of this local group, moderately easy.
Dogs are welcome on Dog Mountain and you will quickly realize this when you notice the dog to human ratio is about even, everywhere you look. Even in the middle of winter, with metres of snow, you will see plenty of ecstatic, frolicking dogs, pouncing into snowbanks everywhere to turn.
Dog Mountain is fairly popular, so even in the depths of winter you will find the trail in the snow well packed down and easily followed. It is also a favourite evening hike to catch the sun setting over Vancouver. If you are new to Vancouver snowshoeing, you will learn that anytime of the year, catching the sun setting over Vancouver from Dog Mountain is a cherished habit for many locals.
Dog Mountain is a fantastic snowshoe trail for many reasons, but unexpectedly, partly because of the drive to the trailhead. The trailhead is located at the far end of the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Ski Resort.
The beautifully winding and always scenic drive takes you from the astonishing rainforest that engulfs North Vancouver abruptly into the heights of Mount Seymour, Dog Mountain, and Suicide Bluffs beyond. There are amazing vantage points at many bends in the road and you will certainly need to stop at least once on the journey to take in the amazing views.
You can even grab a beer before or after at the rustic restaurant/cafeteria/pub at the trailhead. Mount Seymour Provincial Park is amazing.. and the cost? Parking - free, trails - free, snowshoeing trails in the winter - free, backcountry camping (where permitted) - free. BC Parks are great!
Walking Trails & Parks Around Whistler Village
January is an amazing time of year to head out on foot for a beautiful walk to Whistler's beautiful parks. You can reach all these parks by car or better yet by walking to them along the wide, paved and plowed, Valley Trail. There are plenty of signs to direct you. Click on each image here to see maps on how to walk or drive to each park from Whistler Village. Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village. Located partway along Lake Placid Road just past the Husky and Nita Lake Lodge. This quiet residential street leads to this park that is home to tennis courts, a basketball court, beach volleyball, dog park, a kids play park, a floating dock, a pier and biking/walking/running trails everywhere you look. Blueberry Park is a very scenic and somewhat hidden park on Alta Lake just two kilometres from Whistler Village. If you have been to Rainbow Park you would have noticed three piers across Alta Lake surrounded by forest. These public piers sit at the edge of Blueberry Park, with the Blueberry Trail running from one side of the forest to the other. The park covers most of the hill beyond these piers and stretches between and connects the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay and Alta Vista(see map below). The beautiful, deep forest trail runs from the shores of Alta Lake in Alta Vista, up and across Blueberry Hill and descends again to reach Whistler Cay. Along the trail there are several beautiful viewpoints of Alta Lake in the foreground and the enormous Mount Sproatt beyond. Lakeside Park at Alta Lake in Whistler is a beautiful beach park just a short distance from Whistler Village. Located on the Valley Trail, it is just 2 kilometres or a 30 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride away. Similar to Rainbow Park across the lake, Lakeside has a concession stand for food and drinks, picnic tables, BBQ stands, canoe and kayak rentals a huge grass field, pier, a sandy beach and an elaborate little kids play are. Swimming and relaxing are the main draws to Lakeside Park, but fishing off the piers is a common sight as well. Wayside Park sits near the bottom end of Alta Lake and at just 3 kilometres from Whistler Village is just an hours walk or 10 minute bike ride away. In the summer months, swimming and relaxing in the sun are the main attractions to Wayside Park. The piers are a fantastic way to view Alta Lake as it stretches north, edged by forest, hills and mountains in the distance. Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding are all popular from Wayside Park and Whistler Eco Tours has a popular rental area here in the summertime. They also do canoe rentals where you can start canoeing at Wayside Park and finish at Green Lake. This 7 kilometre route takes you the length of Alta Lake then down the River of Golden Dreams to Green Lake. The current moves with you the entire journey making it a very relaxing route to paddle. Nita Lake is a tranquil little lake located in Creekside, just 4 kilometres south of Whistler Village. Whistler's beautiful Valley Trail runs right along the edge of Nita Lake and continues past the beautiful Nita Lake Lodge. A small gravel beach with a creek flowing through it gives the park consistently good fishing. Two picnic tables sit in a forest clearing next to the creek. At the end of the lake there are two piers. One is a public pier and the other is for Nita Lake Lodge guests. Nita Lake is comparatively quiet as compared to other Whistler lakes and parks. The main reason is that it lacks a sizable beach and facilities to go along with it. Though this may seem like a drawback, it is also an attraction. Rainbow Park is one of Whistler's most popular swimming, relaxing, soccer playing and socializing beaches and for good reason. The beach is south facing so every morning the sun rises from behind Wedge Mountain and the whole park seems to glow. From the dazzling reflecting from the snow off of Wedge, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, to the amazing blue glow from Alta Lake. All this framed in the dazzling green of the forest all around. Though there are many great places to watch the sun rise in Whistler, Rainbow Park is one of the best.