Dog Mountain and Mount Seymour Loop

HARD 1 reviews

Dog Mountain and Mount Seymour Loop is a 13.0 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near North Vancouver District, British Columbia, Canada that features a great forest setting and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from August until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13 km
ELEVATION GAIN
926 m
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

rocky

scramble

hiking
19 days ago

Mount Seymour is a ski area located in North Vancouver. The figure 8 hike planned has several options for climbing peaks and returning early. It became a figure 9.
Starting from Mt Seymour road parking lot, head West on Dog Mountain Trail gradually traversing up and curving North around Dinky Peak. This whole section is littered with slippery rocks and roots. Walking poles recommended. Upon reaching to Boulder Creek and First Lake follow the trail West again, to the lookout point and after the forest trail, the trees opens up to show wonderful views of Vancouver. Doubling back, and joining the ominously named Suicide Bluffs Trail the path climbs. It’s marked as a rough trail and they are not kidding. Orange markers help keep travellers on the trail and ropes on some particularly steep but short climbs, easier. I hope suicide bluff is named for its potential rather than its history. The Samaritans offer advice. I’m not one to feel vertigo but the drop here is huge and straight down.
The plan was to join Mt. Seymour Trail, however it was closed and judging by the open ‘rough trail’, no additional deterrent was required.The service road ran parallel to the intended path. Hikers coming the other direction kindly shared that a mother bear and two cubs were just a short way ahead. My only previous bear encounter had been on a 3 day section of TRT and on this occasion, the animal was massive. Adrenaline started pumping. Shortly afterwards, a group of 4, plus small barking dog came into view corralling a small bear off the trail – potentially in my direction. This specimen was probably a little over a meter from snout to tail. I wondered where Mum and sibling were but decided it best to cross together with the other party – safety in numbers. Adrenaline still coursing, the centre crossing of the figure 8 was reached. The trail begins to get steeper to Pump Peak and Tim Jones Peak. Hiking becomes more like rock scrambling. On several occasions, I found myself searching for the next part of the trail. Surely it couldn’t be that way? Oh yes it was! This is the highest point on the hike and from here, the peak of Mount Seymour itself can be climbed. I’d not planned on going to the summit but fate played its hand. I missed my turn and by the time my error was confirmed by GPS I decided to keep going. The climb is hard but the reward is worth the effort. Although there were plenty of other hikers to ask (this was moderately busy on a week day) I’d recommend some GPS mapping tool. The main trail was very well marked but on the smaller ones, GPS with pre-downloaded maps provided security. Wireless signals were not to be relied upon and my phone was in airplane mode + bluetooth on to save batteries.
Climbing back down, eventually the Mount Elsay trail was located. It was about the width of my hand. Having lost the trail 3 times in the next half mile and judging the cliff traverse by compass, it was time to pause and assess. Plenty of light to follow a well marked trail over the terrain I’d experienced thus far. Not enough to have time to regain the trail every 10 minutes. Mount Seymour trail had had pretty regular orange markers. I’d seen no signage for this trail thus far. Hiking alone and the bear encounter also played on the mind. On the well trafficked trails, bears are more familiar with the foot traffic. The trail ahead seemed very rarely travelled. Combined, this swayed a decision towards safe and fun rather as opposed to tough and risky. No regrets.
The planned figure 8 was now a figure 9, with the tail being an out-and-back. Tracing back to the centre of the figure 9, the turn goes left and towards multiple ski lifts.
A maze of trails lead down to Mystery Lake and meditation time. Tracing around the lake and down to the ski signs, the trail becomes a dirt road back down to the car park.