Putting one foot in front of the other…
Hiking is the core activity of Wanderung. As an activity it is accessible to all, requires no special training, and asks the least up-front expense to get started.
If you are new to hiking, though user uploaded trail guides can be helpful, a guidebook is usually more reliable, and tested, so we feel it is the best place to start to give yourself a sense of the hiking options available in the Lower Mainland. A good guidebook and some of the links below should be a great starting point.
Club Tread trail database
103 Hikes in Southwestern BC by Jack Bryceland
First written in 1973 by Mary and David Macaree, this guidebook is one of the old standards. Each trail description has basic hike statistics, photographs, and points of interest. The latest edition is out now with updated maps and trail information as well as an index that sorts hikes according to season, estimated hiking time, and level of fitness.
Best Hikes and Walks of Southwestern British Columbia by Dawn Hanna
This guidebook contains lengthy trail descriptions, as well as information about the local history, flora, and fauna. Each trail description has an elevation profile, as well as basic hike statistics. An index at the back of the book sorts hikes by duration, difficulty, and recommended months. It is possible to do every hike in this book.
Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia by Matt Gunn
This guidebook describes scrambles in the local mountains. Each route description has basic statistics, vehicle requirements, and detailed driving, approach, and route descriptions. As well, each scramble route is shown with a line superimposed onto a photograph.
109 Walks in BC’s Lower Mainland by Mary & David Macaree
This guidebook describes trails and walkways for those who enjoy being outdoors but don’t necessarily crave a lot of elevation gain. Like 103 Hikes, this book contains an index that sorts trails according to season, estimated walking time, and fitness level.
“Don’t Waste Your Time in the BC Coast Mountains” by Kathy and Craig Copeland
This guidebook is highly opinionated, with hikes sorted into four categories: Premier, Outstanding, Worthwhile, and Don’t Do. Day hikes, backpacking trips, and shoulder season hikes are listed in three separate chapters. Each trail description has basic hike statistics, a lengthy opinion of the trail, and a succinct route description. Note this book is long out of print, and may not be up-to-date but keep your eyes open at used book stores!
BC Car-Free by Brian Glover
This guidebook aims to fill the gap for those without a vehicle of their own, but has a reputation as being one of the best resources regardless of that. Also including kayak and cycle trips, Glover’s book is must have and, best of all, is freely available online. The budget hiker need only print the maps and guide pages.
Hiking the Gulf Islands: An Outdoor Guide to BC’s Enchanted Isles by Charles Kahn
“If you enjoy visiting (or living on) the largest of BC’s southern Gulf Islands, you’ll like this entertaining mix of history, anecdotes and tidbits. Kahn. . . has obviously done his research and generously illustrates the book with interesting old photographs.” – Vancouver Sun
“A detailed, thorough history of the island . . .” – BC Studies
- Buntzen Lake – minimal elevation gain, near Port Moody
- Baden Powell (Deep Cove end) – a one-way hike with views and a suspension bridge, considered moderate
- Mt. Gardner – moderate hike on Bowen Island with some some steep parts, unique views
- Diez Vistas – moderate day hike with 10 viewpoints overlooking Indian Arm (see if you can find them all!)
- The Stawamus Chief – steep but rewarding and not too long, with great views over Squamish
- Mt. Seymour – North Shore-based hike with stunning views, considered moderate
- Elfin Lakes – longish but not steep, takes you into some stunning areas and doubles as a winter trip – please note that chains and snow tires are mandatory for this road in winter
- The Lions – considered quite difficult but very rewarding, leaves from Lions Bay. Please note, Wanderung does NOT recommend climbing to the summit of the West Lion!
And as always, never leave home without the 10 essentials.
An excellent store for topo maps and charts is International Travel Maps and Books (ITMB) at 530 W. Broadway, Vancouver. The most popular BC 1:50,000 scale topo maps are also available at MEC.
Trail Ventures BC strives to produce accurate and detailed recreational trail maps for Chilliwack, South Chilcotin and the North Shore.
One of the best electronic topographic map products is E-Topo CD-ROM Topographic Maps of BC – E70003 Southwest British Columbia ($99.95), available at MEC and ITMB.
The Canadian Government offers the “GeoGratis – Search, Discover and Download Free Maps, Data and Publications” (NTS topo maps) free of charge. However, note that many of these are quite old (contours are frequently marked in feet) and may not be a reliable source for logging roads.
A helpful directory guide is as follows for the 1:50,000 scale series:
- 092 g Sunshine Coast, North Shore, Squamish, Garibaldi Park, Buntzen Lake, Golden Ears
- 092 h Chilliwack, Hope, Manning Park, Cathedral Provincial Park
- 092 j Whistler, Pemberton, D’Arcy, Duffey Lake
- 092 f Tofino, Strathcona Park
The BC government has its own online mapping service called iMapBC and can display pretty much anything you want to know about land and water in BC. Since it is the official map of BC, it is the definitive source for names of creeks, mountains etc.
An alternative (and simplified) front-end to this service has been developed by Bas Rijniersce and is available at http://trail.brijn.nu/showmap.php.
Finally give Google Earth a try! High-resolution imagery is available for much of the Lower Mainland and is a great way to visualize the terrain defined by a topo map. If you have a Google account, you can create and save your own Google maps. There is also a topographical overlay option available, and the “terrain view” gives a nice alternative to Google Earth.
- Plan ahead and prepare;
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces;
- Dispose of waste properly;
- Leave what you find;
- Minimize campfire impacts;
- Respect wildlife;
- Be considerate of other visitors.
If you observe others not adhering to these, please consider educating them (politely!).
- Keep to the trail. Shortcuts contribute to erosion and can destroy sensitive growth.
- Slow your pace and announce your presence/intentions when approaching other users.
- Share the trail. Downhill yields to uphill. Hikers yield to horseback riders.
- BC Hydro Areas – includes Buntzen and Hayward Lakes along with the Stave, Jones, and the Ruskin Dam areas
- Garibaldi Park – information about Garibaldi Provincial Park, from Wedgemount Lake to Elfin Lakes and everything in between
- Manning Park – camping and hiking information for the entire Manning Park area
- West Coast Trail – in Pacific Rim National Park, includes links to other nearby areas
The above only covers a fraction of the pages dedicated to specific location. Check the general BC Parks page for a huge selection of additional options.
Disclaimer: The information provided in these pages should not be taken as accurate, complete or up-to-date. You should check this information yourself. The reader is warned that it is unreasonable to rely solely upon the information contained in these pages. By providing this information, Wanderung does not assume any liability for the use of this information by our readers. Terms & Conditions