Heather Trail, 22 Jul 2017

Eugene Y. on the heather Trail:
“Our team went to check out the area around the Three Brothers mountain. The timing was perfect for this trip. The meadows were snow-free and blooming with wild flowers. Thanks to the SW wind, the skies stayed smoke-free despite on the proximity of BC fires, although we did see some smoke on the horizon.

Although the Heather Trail is the most popular route in the Manning park, it never felt too crowded, especially in the evening hours. However, due to the extremely dry weather, the portion of the trail from the parking lot to the First Brother junction was quite dusty. This might become a real issue on long weekends when more people hit the trail.

Unfortunately, the Kicking Horse wilderness campground was full when we arrived, so that we ended up camping in a crowded overflow area. We still had a good time over there. However, for late starters, it’s probably wiser to stay in the less popular Buckhorn campground half-way between the parking lot and the Brothers than take chances with the Kicking Horse.

The views from the First and the Second Brother were quite spectacular, although not as dramatic as those from the ridges in the southern part of the park. Some of us also bushwhacked to the Fourth Brother; however, there was practically no visibility there because of dense fog.

On the way back we stopped at the Lightning Lake for a good swim. That was a perfect way to complete the trip!

Please be aware that the statistics for this trail are somewhat misleading as it goes up and down all the time. In particular it descends almost 200 m to the either camp. The cumulative elevation gain for this trip is probably around 1000-1200 m.”

First Brother

Mt Elsay, 16 Jul 2017

Pooya attempting Mt Elsay:
“We started the early hike from Mount Seymour’s parking lot with some light rain and fog. After ascending for half an hour, we found the trail fully covered by snow, and poor visibility made it harder to follow trail markers. While we weren’t prepared for the mid-July snow cover of up to 1 metre at points, our trekking poles helped us avoid serious injury besides a couple of slide-and-scratches.

Even though the plan was to summit Mount Elsay, we decided to turn around at Mount Seymour and not risk injury or getting lost. Let this cautionary tale remind everyone that we’ve had a tough winter and the trail conditions are still spring-like at high altitudes.”

Skywalk Trail, 16 Jul 2017

Phil A. on the Skywalk Trail:
“When Vancouver is uber-hot, who can say no to a cool hike to a glacier? Certainly not the four intrepid souls who enjoyed fabulous mountain views, waterfalls, and winding forest trails. The Skywalk Trail to Iceberg Lake clocks in 16 km return with a manageable 1200 m of elevation gain and loss. The first two hours or so was a generally kind grade interrupted from time to time by some steeper sections. After that, we punched through to the alpine and enjoyed the meandering streams, a view of the glacier, and the frozen lake. We didn’t linger long on this day, as there was a wickedly cold wind coming down from the peaks. Total trip time was 5 hours or so, including some faffing time and photo sessions.”

It's still winter here. #skywalktrail #Whistler #wanderungca

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Metal Dome, 28 May 2017

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.”

Murrin Backcountry, 7 May 2017

Chris N. in Murrin Provincial Park:
“The Loop Trail leaves Browning Lake’s west side and heads up into the forest to ramble around many of the popular climbing routes. We followed it counter-clockwise though I don’t think it makes a difference. It’s marked with the standard orange metal squares (you will encounter may other faint access trails but most are unmarked). There is the occasional section of steep rock with fixed ropes but this is definitely a hiking route, not a climb. We decided to take a well-trod trail labelled “Jurassic Ridge” soon after the Quercus Viewpoint which featured more views and dropped us at the base of a wall. Going left 50 m returned us to the Loop Trail where we turned right and soon returned to the lake. Next, we crossed the road (best done at the entrance to the parking lot) and headed south past 2 rock walls to a faint trail about 15 m past the 2nd wall. Though faint, initially bushy and unyieldingly steep, it is well-flagged. This climbed to a gap in Riant Ridge called Quail’s Gate. We left the trail here to ramble south along the ridge for a bit. Returning to the trail, we descended very(!) steeply via an ancient rope into the Valley of the Shaddai. Here, the trail disappeared and we were left to our own devices in the narrow valley sandwiched between steep rock walls. We bushwhacked gradually northward up the valley until we intersected the Petgill Lake Trail and returned to Murrin.”

Eagle Bluffs, 6 May 2017

Chris N. at Eagle Bluffs:
“Both the 250 and 257 buses will take you close to the Baden Powell trailhead near Horseshoe Bay. The 250 will get you closer but is slower and the route is windy (not good if you get car-sick easily). The 257 drops you at the ferry. From here, walk towards the long-term parking lot and follow the sidewalk around to the right. This turns into a trail which takes you to an overpass. Cross over and walk 200 m south to the trailhead. With a fast group of hikers, we made it to the Donut Rock fork in an hour. This trail isn’t as clear as the main one but the only tricky spot is crossing Nelson Creek before the serious climbing starts. Stay low and look for the trail heading straight up after the second branch of the stream. The trail is well marked from here and steep. We encountered snow patches at 920 m and continuous snow at 980 m. The snow was reasonably firm and neither snowshoes or microspikes were needed. Donut Rock was reached in 2.5 hours from the trailhead. From here, we continued up to reach the junction with the main trail and headed south to Eagle Bluffs (much better views than Donut Rock). There’s no snow from the bluffs all the way down the main trail. Flagging on the boulder field was patchy – just head straight down. Return time to the ferry was under 7 hours including 2 hours of lounging at viewpoints.”

High Falls Creek, 29 Apr 2017

Chris N. at High Falls Creek:
“Last Saturday was a reminder that spring weather is changeable. What was initially forecasted to be sunny morphed into 40% chance of showers and was actually drizzle turning to steady rain. Parking at the trailhead is now a small pullout that would accommodate 4-5 vehicles. The trail itself is marked by an indecipherable sign nailed to a tree and starts as what looks like a very overgrown minor road and quickly becomes a trail. I would describe the trail as “scrambling light” as opposed to a hike with a fair number of scramble-y bits with a couple ropes and chains in the first half of the trail. It sticks very close to the precipitous creek gorge – perhaps not ideal for an acrophobe. At one point, we veered off on a minor route to the left which petered out and we bushwhacked 50 m back to the main trail. Higher up, there appears to be a fork at a fallen tree – the main trail goes right. If you follow sporadic flagging left, you will end up in 15 mins at a small recent clearcut. A 20-m bushwhack towards the creek takes you back to the main trail. This used to be the most beautiful part of the forested section of the trail but now the trail borders two clearcuts. We crossed two creeks – one in a mossy grove and another with some logs in it. The snow starts almost immediately after the second crossing and we made this our turn-around point as we were close to the trail end anyways.”

BCMC trail, 25 Apr 2017

Chris M. on the BCMC Trail:
“Two of us earned our 20% pack weight badges on Tuesday evening. The BCMC trail up Grouse was easy to follow and somewhat busy. We saw around 20 people in total and our microspikes were helpful once we reached the snow towards the end. The added weight really engaged my leg muscles which made for a fun workout. Sylvia thought ‘like’ was too positive a word. It took us 1 hour & 40 minutes to reach the chalet, where we took the blue gondola back down.”

Skyline Loop, 9 Apr 2017

Chris N. on the Skyline Loop Trail:
“The Skyline Loop trail has been a spring classic for me for years. Some info on it can be found at https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/levette-lake-loop/. I would suggest following the loop clockwise and, unless you are keen, leaving out the 45 minute road walk up to Levette Lake and back.

The road was a bit pothole-y but easily do-able in a low-slung Honda Civic. From the parking area (at the fork to Evans Lake camp), walk 200m up the road and turn left onto a wide path that skirts the camp property. A well-used trail from the camp soon joins in from the left and leads to a communal firepit and benches. Cross 2 bridges and immediately turn right. Later, when you emerge onto an old road with a sign, turn left. Two view-points and a lot of salal-wading later, you will come back to the main road. Turn right and walk a couple hundred metres until you see a pair of red flags and a footbridge on your left. This is the second half of the loop. After the junction to Copperbush Pond, you will come to another old road. Right returns to the cars but the side trail to Silver Summit is worth it. Turn left, cross the creek and then turn right after 20m. This climbs to the best view of the hike and a great place to relax in the afternoon sun for a while. Returning to the cars from here takes 10-15 mins. This trail doesn’t seem to get many visitors these days and there was some minor windfall.”

Whyte Lake, 8 Apr 2017

Perry K. at Whyte Lake:
“Seven of us enjoyed a 3 hour hike in the drizzle on April 8th doing the Whyte Lake Circuit in West Vancouver. We had lunch at Whyte Lake and then continued down the Baden Powell Trail eventually getting back to our cars at the Glen Eagles Community Centre. Much disappointment ensued when we discovered the hot chocolate cafe at the Community Centre was closed. We made up for it though by finding a very good cafe on Lonsdale in North Vancouver.”