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Get some exercise and take in a gorgeous landscape or two.
Although many summits remain snow-covered in spring, big views await those who seek lower-elevation prospects in the Coast Mountains.
So lace up your boots, pull on your gaiters, and tackle these thigh-burning hikes with scenic benefits.
Here are four hikes near Vancouver for rewarding spring views.
Reminders: Check trail reports (and snow levels), bring the essentials, leave a trip plan with a responsible person, and leave no trace.
Photo: Stephen Hui
Round trip: 14 kmElevation gain: 625 mLocation: Stawamus Chief Provincial Park (Squamish)
Climb the three peaks of the Stawamus Chief for classic cliff-top views of Howe Sound and the Squamish River valley.
From the parking lot, stroll through the campground to the trailhead. The steep Chief Peaks Trail kicks off with lots of stairs, soon merging with the Sea to Summit Trail. After the Sea to Summit exits right, take a left fork, signed for the First and Second Peaks. Before long, the trail splits again. Go left and ascend to the bare rock of the First Peak.
Back at the fork, proceed north to the top of the South Gully. Ascend a ledge with a fixed chain, traverse a cleft covered by logs, and climb a short ladder to the Second Peak. Follow markers northeast to the North Gully. Stay left at the junction with the third backside trail to visit the Third Peak. Return to the last junction and plunge down the rough North Gully trail. Turn right and head back to the trailhead.
Round trip: 9 kmElevation gain: 780 mLocation: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park (North Vancouver)
Visit the Enchanted Forest and earn vantages over the Seymour River valley with your sweat.
From the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park entrance, cross the bridge over Lynn Creek. Head right on the Lynn Loop Trail, then follow it left at a junction. In 0.8 km, the signed start of the Lynn Peak Trail is on the right. A rocky path and switchbacks transport you up to the first viewpoint overlooking the Seymour River valley.
READ MORE: Remembering Steve Fonyo
READ MORE: Remembering Steve Fonyo
Up the ridge, the trail penetrates the Enchanted Forest, featuring old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. Then comes the Blimp Lookout, which offers a vista of Mount Seymour. Eventually, a “Lynn Peak” sign directs you right onto a rocky bluff with views of Metro Vancouver and the Salish Sea. Retrace your steps to the trailhead.
Round trip: 13 kmElevation gain: 460 mLocation: Buntzen Lake Recreation Area (Anmore)
Survey the fjord long known as Tsleil-Wat, before it was named Indian Arm, from multiple viewpoints on Buntzen Ridge.
Head to the southwest corner of Buntzen Lake’s main parking area to find the trailhead. Set off south on the Buntzen Lake Trail. Cross the floating bridge at the south end of the reservoir. Cross Pumphouse Road and grind up the Diez Vistas Trail. Cross a power-line corridor. Steep switchbacks lead to a fork, with your pick of viewpoints. The paths quickly rejoin.
Entering Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park, the trail rises to the first of 10 numbered vistas. Unfortunately, half of the vistas are overgrown or easy to miss. Past Vista No. 10, descend to Powerhouse Road. Keep right to get on the Buntzen Lake Trail. Head south, staying on the west side of the lake to return to the floating bridge and familiar ground.
Round trip: 10.5 kmElevation gain: 970 mLocation: Golden Ears Provincial Park (Maple Ridge)
Gain a new perspective on the twin summits of Golden Ears and their impressive neighbours from an inconspicuous ridge to the east.
Set off on the East Canyon Trail from the Gold Creek parking lot. After 15 minutes, look right to spot the signed start of the trail to the Mount Nutt viewpoints. Zigzag uphill to arrive at a muddy lake in a forested bowl. Continue up to a fork; the branches rejoin at the first viewpoint. Plod upward in a forest with mossy ground. An arrow points left for the second viewpoint on a rock high above Alouette Lake.
Continue steeply up to an open ridgetop, where the trail briefly splits once again. Pick one side of the loop, and save the other for later. Where the branches rejoin, the day’s best viewpoint lies off to the left. Five minutes farther north, find the end of the trail and take a gander at Mount Robie Reid and Mount Judge Howay. Turn around here.
Stephen Hui is the author of Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, coming to bookstores in May 2022.
His first two books, 105 Hikes and Destination Hikes, were #1 B.C. bestsellers.
Learn more: 105hikes.com