Vancouver Hidden Gems is a series that will highlight some of my favourite Vancouver spots for food, drinks, entertainment and more.
Every week my friend Hailey and I try to go on at least one new adventure. One of our latest favourites was the Bowen Island Lookout Trail. This trail is located on Cypress mountain. I hadn’t been to Cypress since the winter and forgot how long it takes to drive up the mountain. Though the drive takes a while, it is incredibly scenic and definitely pumped me up for the hike!
I parked in the parking lot closest to the ski chalet. I was shocked to see so much snow. I had expected we might come across some snow while hiking, but not at the base. Hailey and I were both wearing shorts but luckily despite the snow, it was really warm. It was definitely a weird feeling to be dressed for summer and trudging through snow. We wore running shoes and our feet were quickly soaked!
We spent a solid half an hour trying to find the trail. We had googled instructions, but with so much snow they were useless. We could not see any of the trails and my sense of direction is pretty awful . We finally ran into a hiker who regularly visited the lookout and she pointed us in the right direction.
Walking in snow feels a bit like walking in sand. There is added traction, making it a harder workout. There were a few steep portions of the trail near the top but overall it was an easy hike. It was also quite a short hike though the snow did slow us down. We didn’t time ourselves but I would estimate it took us an hour and a half round trip.
We considered bringing snowshoes but decided against it. Though the snow was quite heavy near the base, farther along the trail does become gravel and snowshoes might have been more annoying than wet feet. As the season continues to progress, I would 100% recommend running shoes or hiking boots over snowshoes.
The view at the top is absolutely stunning. I have done St. Mark’s Summit and would argue the view is very comparable if not better because of the large viewing platform. It truly takes your breath away. I love nature for that. You can be having a horrible day and seeing a view like this really puts your problems into perspective. A problem you are facing may seem huge and insurmountable, but in relation to the universe it is really nothing. I find it very humbling.
I highly recommend trying this hike if you have not already. You don’t need to be in tip top shape or commit a whole day to the endeavour. It can also be a great option after work if you bring a headlamp and proper gear. If you decide to try the hike, here are some directions to help you find the trail in the snow:
- After parking, walk past the ski chalet and turn right. You will past a sign post with a map and trail information. Continue walking up towards the green chairlift. There is a little wood cabin beside it. When you are in line with the base of the chairlift, turn left. There is also a light post right here.
- You will walk up a hill directly on a ski run (do not cut through the trees). As you continue up the hill, you will see the path gets wider as you are on the left side of a fork and now the left and right sides have converged. Continue up the main path.
- You will notice a substantial trail on the left of the main path. Take the trail. You will quickly reach a green water tower.
- Continue straight on the trail. It will initially be flat and when you near the top, the trail will climb in elevation.
- Arrive at the top, get your next Instagram picture and enjoy the view!