Ah, long weekends: that precious commodity that we BC’ers get to enjoy just 10 times a year. The BC Day long weekend is one of the best in Vancouver, as the weather usually cooperates. And this year was no exception. With the sun out and not a cloud in the sky, we decided we had to get out and celebrate BC Day the proper way – in the great outdoors. And so, with our sneakers on and water bottles full, we headed over the bridge for a hike in North Vancouver.
Situated at the base of the North shore mountains, North Van really is the urban adventurer’s paradise – snowboarding all winter, and hiking and mountain biking galore in the sunny summer months. And best of all, it’s less than half an hour from the downtown core.
Our BC Day route started at the Pipeline Bridge (accessible from Riverside Drive). We jumped onto the Baden Powell trail, with the plan to head towards Lynn Canyon Park and the suspension bridge, up to Rice Lake, and back down the Twin Bridges trail.
After a difficult (but gorgeous) climb up on the Baden Powell trail, we crossed Lilloet Road and headed down the side of Lynn Canyon. The trail is quite steep in parts here, so tread carefully! At the bottom of the canyon, there are neat wooden walkways to keep your feet high and dry from the marshy ground. At this point, it’s hard to believe you’re only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver – moss-covered trees tower around you, and it’s wonderfully quiet, save for the sound of birds and running water. Although this was the toughest part of our hike, it was my favourite (and the least crowded). If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, I’d highly recommend it.
After we crossed the canyon (on a bridge over deep, rushing glacier water that was an amazing green colour), we climbed back up the other side of the canyon. At this point, the Baden Powell trail meets up with Lynn Canyon Park and the suspension bridge. Being a holiday Monday, it was very busy. But we got to enjoy some fresh blackberries from a farmer’s booth in the parking lot, so it was worth it
After we made our way across the suspension bridge (still gives me butterflies), we climbed up a bit further to the Rice Lake loop. We didn’t walk around the lake (just took a peek), but there is a nice easy trail around that takes under an hour.
At this point we got onto the Twin Bridges trail, which runs alongside the Seymour River. The gentle downward slope of this section was a nice break after the steep ups-and-downs of the Baden Powell trail earlier. We finally made our way back to the Pipeline Bridge entrance in just over 3 hours.
The great thing about the North Shore trails is that the trails are all inter-connected, and there are lots of points of access (many with parking), so you can adjust the length and difficulty of your route easily. For example, to cut about an hour and the heavy climbing off of the route we did, skip the Baden Powell section and park at Lynn Canyon Park. Here, cross the suspension bridge and walk up and around Rice Lake. Or, for a nice easy walk in the woods, you could park in the lot at the top of Lilloet Road and just do the loop around Rice Lake. Lots of options!
Hiking in North Vancouver