We got to the trailhead a bit before noon – the main parking lot area was around half full.
The first 6km of the trail is very well maintained switchbacks in the forest – so even on hot days, you’ll be sheltered. The first 3km was completely snow-free and the snow became consistent enough around 4.5km for us to put our microspikes on.
After your 6km of switchbacks, the trail levels off a bit – there’s a pretty lookout where you can see the Barrier. Unfortunately when we visited, there was a couple smoking, so we quickly took a couple pictures and then got back en route to Garibaldi Lake.
We quickly hit the first Lesser Garibaldi Lake which was clearly melting with a pretty pale turquoise ring around the lake. The trail around the lake is pretty exposed and the snow was soft and slippery. Continuing onto the main lake, we had to cross a couple potentially sketchy snow bridges – I think one of them had an actual bridge under it? The normal summer route/bridge across the outlet of Garibaldi Lake was non-existent, instead, the packed trail went directly across the outlet. The rest of the trail to the camping area continued on the melting ice/water. I tried to cut a line higher up along the actual banks but ended up post-holing up to my waist and getting a bit stuck.
The lake itself was still completely blanketed in snow. We checked out the cooking shelters and were pleasantly surprised to see how clean they were! There was still a bit of trash and an empty bottle of rum, but we managed to pack everything out in a small garbage bag. They’ve also installed some really nice composting toilets since I last visited!
After exploring the shelters, we laid out the z-lite and ate our lunch in the sun. While we were eating we were impressed/horrified to see several groups arrive wearing runners (like these, not these), jeans and very inadequate looking bags.
The way back down was nice and quick – we got to see a proposal! There were also a few groups that looked to be planning to stay the night. We picked up part of a broken trekking pole, a water bottle and lots of pieces of wrappers on our way back to the car. Overall it took us just over 6 hours – pretty decent for 18km, about half of which was on snow and including a 30 min break at the lake.
We went snowshoeing up Dog Mountain on December 23 with some friends.
The day was beautiful!
It was a bit busy; it was apparent when we showed up the parking was filling up.
Once we parked and geared up we hiked. It was quite pretty out. When we reached the fork in the trail for First Lake and Dog Mountain the signage was a little confusing and caused us to delay for about 5 or 10 minutes while we sorted it out. The signs state to go right for Dog Mountain, but what is not clear is that you are supposed to loop around the lake on the right and veer left.
Once we got past that the snow held up on the trail a while but eventually thinned out and got rocky and full of roots. Not the best snowshoeing conditions – just not enough snow!
The trail was fairly busy throughout. At least most of the fellow hikers were babies and dogs, so we had good company!
We got to the top in roughly 1.5 hours. We ate snacks, basked in the sun, then packed up and headed down.
It took us much less time heading down than up. We finished the return in 50 minutes.
Overall a good day but less than ideal snow on the trail. I don’t think I am excited to return again this season unless we get a lot more snow fall.
We went out to Grouse Mountain for the first time this year on December 3rd in order to start the season off. We had not gone out snowshoeing yet this season, and were not sure how the snow would be so we decided to take a chance.
When we got to the mountain the line for the gondola was getting long, but because we have passes we were able to skip most of the line and head straight up. Overall it wasn’t incredibly busy, but it seemed like we got there before the rush.
It was a warm, sunny day. The rain let off and there was enough snow on the mountain to make for good snowshoeing.
At the top of the gondola we hit up the restrooms, put on some sunscreen and geared up.
The mountain (at least once we got up the gondola) was not that busy. As we headed towards the trail head it was pretty clear that it was going to be a pretty quiet day.
The plan was to head to Dam Mountain, and maybe further if we felt up to it. The sign on the trail head said that only the “Light Walk” was open, but oddly enough the website and other signage said the trails were all open. So we cautiously kept going until we could get closer to our trail. As we approached the trail it was pretty clear the sign was mis-posted and the trail was open.
The trail up was not busy at all. There were a few others hiking up like we were, but there were no crowds and no children. Best of all there was nobody sliding down at our ankles!
We made pretty good time, and we were able to stop and take some photo breaks on the way up.
The snow was almost untouched – I don’t think we will get a chance to go on such pristine snow for the rest of the season!
We got to Dam Mountain in under an hour, and there was only one other couple up there with us. We spent a few minutes up there, took some photos, and decided to turn around and get some other things done in the afternoon.
We made good time on the way down again. More people were coming up but it was still a pretty quiet hike.
However.. when we got to the gondola line.. it was starting to get a bit busy. It wasn’t the busiest we have seen it (although usually when it’s really busy there is someone handing out free hot chocolate.. this time not so much). We were probably in the line for 40-60 minutes.
Despite the long wait to get back down, it was a pretty good way to start the season off!
With April now underway, it’s officially hiking season! To mark the occasion, we decided to hike Mount Fromme. The hike takes 4-5 hours round trip – we took about 2.5 hours to reach the top and then just over 2 hours to get back down again.
Depending on when you do the trail, there may just be snow at the very top or there might be a significant amount of snow on the trail. Last year – an effectively zero-snow year – we did this hike in February and there was only patches of snow at the very top. This year there was a significant amount of snow starting around 900m elevation and for an hour of hiking. The snow was for the most part packed in, but myself and Kyle probably post-holed half a dozen times. I’d say snowshoes aren’t required, but microspikes might be nice to minimize slipping when coming back down right now. Earlier on in the season snowshoes would be a must.
Other than the snow, the trail is a pretty standard Vancouver area trail with pretty steady climbing for the majority of the trail. At the beginning of the trail, it would be possible to accidentally get onto one of the mountain biking trails or Baden-Powell, but once you are past the Old Grouse Mountain Highway, the trail is straightforward to follow. We did notice that the trail has more trail markers on the way down than going up, so if you ever find yourself lost, try turning around the see if there’s a trail marker behind you.
On a clear day the view from the top is of the surrounding mountains – views of the city are blocked by the trees. When we were at the top there were around 5 eagles/hawks circling around and there were a couple hanging out in a nearby tree. On a cloudy day, you won’t probably won’t be able to see much.
It’s a fairly quiet trail – definitely less popular than the nearby Grouse Grind/BCMC and the easier Baden-Powell, both times we’ve done the trail we’ve only encountered 1 other group going to the top. On Saturday there were a pair of trail runners heading up in shorts.
I’d highly recommend this trail – it’s a bit steeper than the usual trails around, but not unreasonably so and it’s not as busy as most other trails in the area.
This past month has been quite busy for both Kyle & I at work, so unfortunately we haven’t had any opportunities or energy to go hiking on the weekends. This past Sunday we finally managed to get out for a hike though.
We took the bus to Grouse Mountain – this is one of the more straightforward hikes to access via transit in North Vancouver. The simplest way to reach Grouse from downtown Vancouver is to take the Seabus and then the 136 to Grouse. Alternatively, you can take one of the buses that goes to either Phibbs Exchange or across the Lion’s Gate and then catch the 132 to Grouse.
The BCMC is a slightly less challenging and much less busy alternative to the Grouse Grind. Personally, I find the Grouse Grind to be overrated and not enjoyable – I like hiking to be outside and enjoy the outdoors, I don’t find I can do that when I’m climbing a mountain with dozens of other people trying to pass me and/or getting in my way. The BCMC starts at the same location as the Grind, but take the right trail towards the Baden-Powell rather than left. Shortly after there is another marked trail junction (ignore all the other “trails” made by people going off-trail), left will take you up Grouse on the BCMC, right will take you towards Lynn Canyon on the Baden-Powell.
We left our hiking poles at home and shortly after starting on the trail, I was wishing we hadn’t. The trail isn’t extremely difficult, but it definitely is steep and as I’m on the short side, having poles would have made it much easier. Overall it is a great trail though – good workout, but doesn’t feel never-ending like some trails do. It took us close to 1.5 hours to reach the chalet.
Once we reached the chalet, it was extremely foggy – the hardest part of the hike was finding our way to the Goat Mountain trailhead. We wound up taking a few accidental loops of the grizzly bear enclosure, but once you find the trail it is straightforward. There is a board with maps of the surrounding trails and a registration/permit box. I’d highly recommend filling out a permit since the trail is very steep in sections and a fall/slip could be treacherous.
Thankfully once we started ascending on the trail, the fog/clouds dissipated and the trail was clear again. We took the Alpine route, but the Alpine & Ridge routes run roughly parallel and intersect occasionally, so you could take either trail (or both!) up until the junction to Hanes Valley/Crown Mountain. The trail is fairly well-marked with orange tape & markers.
Again hiking poles would have been nice along here as it is quite steep in sections. Overall this is not a difficult trail, but there are some short scrambling sections that push this into a more advanced category.
Near the peak of Goat Mountain, there are some chains that mark the beginning of the end and then it’s only another five minutes or so of hiking/scrambling to the top. Again although I wouldn’t consider this difficult, scrambling and really anytime that you use your hands when hiking push this into a more advanced category.
Once we reached the peak, there were two other groups, but they left within a few minutes and we had the entire mountain to ourselves. The peak was slightly above the clouds causing the extreme fog at Grouse so we didn’t get much of a view, but the clouds themselves were pretty and the sun was very nice. We spent a few minutes sitting in the sun and eating snacks before heading back down.
There was a surprising amount of trash at the peak – we collected four bottles on our way back. It took us less than 3 hours to complete the Goat Mountain hike including a few breaks for snacks. If you do fill out a permit – remember to drop off the slip in the box when you return.
Once we got back to the chalet, we grabbed some hot chocolate and cookies and took the gondola back down. If you want to take the gondola down, it costs $10, or alternatively you could hike back down the BCMC. From the time we started the BCMC to when we got back to the bottom of Grouse was less than 6 hours – I’d estimate we were actually hiking for around 4.5 hours and the rest of the time was spent on breaks/at the chalet/getting lost around the grizzly bear enclosure/taking the gondola down.
I would definitely recommend this hike and we are planning on returning to do the Crown Mountain & Hanes Valley hike later this summer.