Explore To Do List - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

To Do List Map

Read Clare M's review, I screenshot it to use as a guide.

I did the loop and started on the east side (not marked well) I got lost a few times and had to backtrack. It was worth it to see the waterfall from both sides though.

Once I reached the West side it was much easier.

I probably took longer than most people with getting lost and taking my time.

Stick to the West side

I did this hike August 4th-5th, 2018 with my friend. We’re both in our 20’s, no significant pre-existing injuries and both physically active. It’s one of the most beautiful hikes with breathtaking views of the tops of the North Shore Mountains, but the most technically difficult, physically demanding hike I have ever done. (And I am avid hiker, have done the West Coast Trail, Tour du Mont Blanc, and most major hikes in the Vancouver and Whistler areas)

Advice and Safety Tips:
- Recommended (by us and everyone we met) as a 2 night, 3 day hike (Contrary to trail info and reviews that it can be a SINGLE overnight...Heck NO! Not if you want to be able to walk the next day!)
- Magnificent (but gruelling) first day ~9-11 hours
- VERY steep and technical ascents and descents *careful of your footing when wearing a heavy pack!*
- Would be extremely dangerous pre, post, or during a storm (DO NOT CONTINUE)
- On your first day, there is no water until you reach Magnesia Meadows (recommended to camp earlier) after you ascend and partially descend:
1. St. Mark’s Summit (1371m)
2. Unnecessary Mtn (South&North Peaks)(1548m)
3. The Lions Ridge (~1520m)
4. Thomas Peak (1430m)
5. Enchantment Pass (~1380m)
6. James Peak (1466m)
*We camped in the meadow after James Peak*
7. David Peak (1496m)
8. Harvey Pass (~1460m)
- PACK SNOW WHEN YOU SEE IT (treat snowmelt water with Aquatabs)
- James Peak signage is easy to miss (and many people did) *just before the top, look for markers to exit down to the LEFT to save yourself time and effort*
- As a single overnight, option to take Mount Brunswick Trail down to Lions Bay (as we did) 1480m down to 220m over 3-4hrs. Tough on the knees!

- North Shore Trail Map (SAVED US!)
- Bear Spray (hikers saw a black bear near our trail)
- Satellite Phone (would be VERY easy to slip and get injured and be in a dangerous spot fast)
- Hiking poles (NECESSARY for the knees on downhills)
- Hiking boots (especially to protect toes and ankles with weight of a camping pack)
- 5L of water (replenish at EVERY opportunity! Many groups had to hike 2-3 more hours in order to get water, when they were physically DONE)
- Bug spray/bug shirt/bug hat (very buggy in the shade)
- Trip plan! (Especially wherever you park your car: appropriate lot or leave a note!)
- 10 Essentials & proper food, clothing, etc

*In some areas the flagging is inconsistent and you have to keep your eyes peeled for the next marker (mostly after the Lions and on James Peak), for the most part the trail is obvious.
*I have e-mailed BC Parks to address the flagging issues.

6 days ago

Great little trail! Took me about 1.5 hours return trip. Wear appropriate shoes as there’s plenty of rocks and roots to get snagged on. It was quiet when I went as it was raining lightly - none the less it was very peaceful. Orange markers guide you along the trail.

13 days ago

Extremely confusing. Nice views at the top but there are better views in the city with less struggle. Climb was steep at times but closer to moderate difficulty overall.

14 days ago

Amazing views. Lots of bugs in certain places, so take some spray. Lots of berries along the way so we snacked all the way down. The first portion from the 2 bridges up Christmas gully at the base is very steep, lots of jagged rocks to climb, but once your up, enjoy the view, and the route down is pretty tame; compared to the start. Be prepared with proper footwear and lots of water. Coming down the trail is not well marked, so we relied on the gps to make sure we stick to the trail.

14 days ago

Wonderful area to hike! Some parts were steep, but it added to the adventure. Gorgeous trees and river.

Great wee trail. Easily doable for a half-day trip from Van. Worth checking out Bowen island after the hike. Would rate it moderate

nature trips
18 days ago

Basically, there are two trails to this lake. One begins from the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge, the other starts from the Seymour-Capitano filtration plant area. If you wanna sweat a little bit I recommend do it from the suspension bridge route, otherwise, start from the filteration place. Stunning and scenic lake. There are a couple of cycling trails which might be exciting to do

Completed Jul 28-29 with a short distance of manageable snow on one sketchy slope after the Lions. Challenging and absolutely beautiful. Must do but please be prepared for a hard hike.

FYI This hike is inaccurately described - the entire HSCT is 29km and continues over Unnecessary, over the Lions, over the saddle of Mount Harvey, around Brunswick, and descends past several beautiful lakes spitting you out in Porteau Cove. The elevation change is 3400m or 14500ft. Only the beginning section to St Mark’s is busy. This gps map cuts out the most isolated and challenging part of the hike so please be prepared and do your research on other hiking sites. Best done as an overnighter, camping in Magnesia Meadows after Mt Harvey, which will be your first source of water. (Or if you could push through to Brunswick, that would be gorgeous too.) Most first-timers who are recreational hikers complete the first day in a gruelling 11-12 hours - repeatedly cresting mountains (hence the name of the hike?). The second day is more relaxed, mostly downhill and with lots of water sources. Even with deet, we were eaten alive. A bug net would help if you don’t the mental fortitude to do battle with thousands of black flies and mozzies.

Easy “hike” with many viewpoints...almost too easy for all the amazing lookouts you are rewarded with!

21 days ago

Gorgeous swimming lake (late July). Even in late July we found a patch of snow around the corner. Views down to Vancouver centre.

23 days ago

Probably my favourite park around Vancouver. Here you get to enjoy both the majestic west coast forest in its original state and beautiful ocean vistas. Highly recommended,

More people than a mall at Christmas

Trail had some narrow and steep parts and lots of uphill but the view at the top was worth it. Would highly recommend

Good workout and great views. Trail can be a little confusing at times but the gps worked well and most of it was well marked. The track that is featured here was closer to 14km, not the 9.8 listed in the description.

This is a no dog zone, because it’s part of the city water reservoir, therefore we couldn’t walk there.

The hike was basically a 15 min walk, so if you are expecting to hike for a good hour or two, this is not the one for you.The view is very pretty though.

Best trail for a quick walk in the woods! Quieter then many of north van trails! No views but still awesome!

1 month ago

The view at the top is breathtaking. A full 360degree panoramic view, with The Lions up close is a can’t miss opportunity. Please bring BUG SPRAY! I couldn’t enjoy the view to the fullest as the amount flies was overwhelming. Hiking up in July comes with muddy and snowy conditions as well so something to keep in mind. If you see « christmas gully » on your map, this portion is not easy! Trail is not clear, lots of snow, and the lack of markers makes it difficult not to be lost. The view made it all worth it.

on Mount Strachan

1 month ago

A nice hike. Hard to find trail markers in some areas.

1 month ago

Will be great once the bridge is open again, but until then it’s not worth it - awkward, not well marked detour.

Beautiful views BUT too early in the year. I did it last week (last week of June) and there is still too much snow. Up until the Lions is okay, but after that steep snow gullies and snow bridges need proper snow hiking gear (ice pick, crampons, etc).
Also, this is not really a loop...you can leave a car at Porteau Cove and then come back to start the hike from Cypress Mountain, it's 28km one way and hard, not moderate.

1 month ago

Very nice park, enjoyed looking in tide pools.
Also did a geocache in the park!

1 month ago

Take a beautiful afternoon/ evening and bring a picnic and enjoy the view.

I did the trail today with my friend, we did three round of the trail, we ran totally 8.4km. Very easy trail and it took us 15-18 minutes for one loop about 2.7km.

Beautiful trail and definitely challenging at times but not as difficult as it's made it to be. Would recommend a map since it's not always clearly labeled.

2 months ago

The hike started off smoothly until the first stream crossing via the Old Strachan Trail. Once we crossed over, we kinda lost the trail. There were many blow downs obscuring the path. On top of that, we had to deal with the snow, which further made it harder to discern the correct path to take. The orange markers were few and difficult to find. We basically followed a previously recorded track and manage to come across a part of a plane wreckage. After arriving at the south peak, we contemplated whether we should continue to make a return loop via Christmas Gully and Howe Sound Crest Trail. We could hear water rushing thru the gully. It was then decided that the best return route was to take T-33 which switches back down to the parking lot. Overall, this hike would be better experienced if there werent as many blow downs and ice. Its a good thing we had our microspikes and poles with us. As for the views, they are one of the best.

2 months ago

2 months ago

Nice falls

Great little hike to get the season started.

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