Chris N. on Metal Dome:
“A trip to Metal Dome requires a drive up the Brandywine Forest Service Road to around the 5-km mark before turning right up the Brandywine Meadows Spur. We were stopped by snow at the 970-m mark on the latter road and conditions on both roads were similar – fairly rough. A 2wd will make it up the first road but probably have traction issues on the second – AWD is suggested. We walked the rest of the road and to a major fork at 3.5 km from the Brandywine FSR (1300 m) where we turned right up the Metal Dome spur. A cat ski cut leaves the end of this road and heads into the alpine. There was about 1-2 m of snow through the forest and 2-3 m in the alpine. From here, you can see the peak. The best route is to head directly to it instead of trying to gain the ridge first. It took about 4 hours to reach the summit where there are good views of Garibaldi, the Tusk, Brandywine, Fee, Cypress and Brew. The trip down took under 2 hours. Back where we parked 8 vehicles were parked all over the road. Half were sledders but they all seem to be headed into Brandywine meadows or further up the valley and we were the only party on Metal Dome. Though there is lots of snow, snowshoes aren’t needed and will only slow you down. You will encounter some random post-holing on the summit but that’s it. Gaiters and waterproof footwear will keep your feet dry given how slushy and wet the snow is.”
Andy G. on Brandywine Mountain:
“Brandywine has quickly become one of my favourite summits. It’s a great mix of easy hiking and more challenging boulder-hopping with some steep terrain and a bit of route-finding thrown in for good measure. And then there are the stunning views. Mountains, glaciers, meadows, lakes… Definitely a hike to save for a sunny day.
The new trail into the meadows still has a muddy spot or two but it’s a massive improvement on the old trail. We were in the upper meadows within an hour or so. Beyond that there is an intermittent trail and cairns for guidance up to the ridge. More cairns point the way up to the higher part of the ridge, although they run out a couple of hundred metres short of the summit, which is where the route-finding comes it as the summit can’t be seen at this point. The summit itself is a small bump on top of a bigger bump, big enough for our group to find (un)comfy rocks to sit on to enjoy lunch.
The road to the upper parking lot is very rough and steep in places: our CR-V struggled in a couple of spots with a full load of 5 hikers. A vehicle with some clearance is a good idea as the bumpy road causes the vehicle to bounce quite a bit. A Subaru Outback made it up OK though. Budget about half an hour for the logging road.
Car-to-car was almost exactly 8 hours (we were leaving the meadows just as the sun set). We finished the day with a quick bite at the Howe Sound Brew Pub before heading home. Thanks to Sarah, Simon, Anna, and Janavie for joining me and making it such a great day out.”
Chris M. on Brandywine Mountain:
“The combination of easy access and nice alpine makes Brandywine a good last-minute weekend destination. My Xterra made it to the 4wd parking area with no problems. The trail through the meadows has been upgraded and now there is very little mud. We left the valley before the end went south up to the ridge where we scouted out camping locations. From our vantage it was fun to watch different groups take various routes up the mountain. They all looked like coloured ants. In the evening we made a good firepit and soaked in the superb star show.
We didn’t rush in the morning but we were still easily the first people up to the summit on Sunday. We didn’t have to cross any snow and the views were fabulous. When we returned to camp we took a siesta before packing up and taking a slightly different route back down. Our travel time between parking and camping was around 2 hours, both ways,
Paul, Amy & Liam all had a similar desire for a relaxing but satisfying alpine trip, which made for a perfect group experience. The warm sunny weather was fantastic; especially for October.”
Jaime at Brandywine Meadows:
“Well, I did this callout with the wrong date on it, which made me very upset when I realized it that morning. Luckily Alena K somehow made the same mistake and also thought the trip was for that day so we actually did get to go! I was surprised to discover that since I had been there last, there is a 4×4 road that takes you basically right to the meadows. If you don’t have a 4×4 you can park at the lower lot and make the 3 km hike up to the meadows.
We had a fantastic day at Brandywine. It was 34.5 degrees that day and we couldn’t have chosen a better location for a hike in a heat wave. There are streams EVERYWHERE! So much splashing! I even had a swim in the tiny, icy lake half way up to the ridge. Also, the mega bug situation that occurs up there was pretty mild on this day. Our first attempt to gain the ridge was on the talus slopes to the north side of the headwaters. We found a beautiful area overlooking the meadows and great views of Garibaldi but to get to the ridge there was a snowfield crossing that looked like a death trap that we quickly decided against. We descended again to the headwaters to cross over to the western side and finally made it up to the ridge. The view from even just the ridge is breathtaking. We chose not to go to the summit of Brandywine in order to avoid a darkening drive down the FSR. No regrets though. That view was fantastic. I am eager to go back and do more exploring along those ridges up there and hit the summit. I loved this hike!
Thanks to the new road, Brandywine is a very accessible and gorgeous location. Full cell service and internet too. I suspect it’ll be a hopping place for families and school groups soon if it isn’t already.”