Hollyburn Peak, in Cypress Provincial Park… 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, free, awesome view at the top, what more could you ask for?! I don’t know what it is with Cypress, but I’ve been there 3 times now, and every time the sky was spotless no matter how wet or gray Vancouver itself was.
The trail is not very long — it takes about one hour, one hour and a half to get to the top — but overall, it’s a fun one to try anyway. Its proximity to Vancouver makes it a popular snowshoeing destination for local residents. That also means that the trail has been amply trampled on and, for those without snowshoes, the ascent could still be attempted in winter boots.
Right from the start, there’s a steep climb waiting for us under some ugly power lines. But once we’re through this first test (about 15 minutes later, where a log cabin stands), we can swerve to the left a little, into the woods, in what seems to be the lone “official” trail leading to the top. The way is clearly marked and easy to follow and the snow-capped trees make for a beautiful setting! Some parts look as if we’re on a ski slope and are pretty casual too, until you come to a “wall” leading to the summit. Ok, so maybe it’s not that bad, but I you try it, I think you’ll agree with me that this final ascent is quite steep; maybe a 60 degree inclination, stretching around 100 meters — I make no claims as far as accuracy goes on that one! But that last ditch effort is definitely worth it — what a view!!!
Fearless — and hungry — Whiskey Jacks abound at the top
This being my first snowshoeing experience ever, I was surprised to learn about the “right” way to go down — on our butts! I had noticed some “lines” on the side of the larger portions of the trails, but only now did I understand how they came about — or “abutt”, hehe… I brought out the kid in me and slid down the whole “wall” on my butt, in about a minute. The way down is faster and loads of fun if you use this technique. ;)
Great experience… I was surprised how wet my boots were at the end of the day though… I don’t remember being covered in snow at any time… But anyway, what fun! If you love hiking, there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll love snowshoeing.