Snowshoeing in Vancouver: Cypress Mountain

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The local mountains surrounding downtown Vancouver, British Columbia offer a great variety of snowshoeing options. Fresh air, the company of good friends, no lift ticket prices (snowshoe trail tickets are only $10 at Cypress), and inexpensive equipment costs – what’s not to love?

So grab your warmest boots, and your furry friends if you’re so inclined, and head up to Cypress Mountain to enjoy the great outdoors.

Two people's boots in the snow

A dog

Cypress Mountain offers snowshoe rentals at a very reasonable price, but they can run out of gear on sunny days (and snowshoes cannot be reserved) so plan accordingly and arrive early. Alternatively, you can rent snowshoes from Mountain Equipment Co-op in downtown Vancouver, or purchase your own pair for many seasons of use.

The snow is deep in the main parking lot and often towers in walls above the nearby parked cars. The trails, however, are well-groomed and some are hard packed enough to hike without snowshoes (a great option if you find the rental shop has run out of snowshoes to rent).

A wall of snow

Three people walking in the snow

The nordic area at Cypress Mountain has a 10 km network of snowshoe trails, so there are a lot of routes to choose from. The trail network also provides access to the historic c.1926 Hollyburn Lodge where you can purchase a tasty lunch, hot chocolate, or “a variety of traditional nordic specialties.”

Of course, you can also pack your own treats and a ‘skin’ or two of hot drinks…

A woman drinking from a water skin

No matter what trail you choose, be sure to head for a viewpoint and catch a glimpse of the city of Vancouver far below. When the ‘magic hour’ hits in the afternoon, you’ll either be treated to the sight of the city sparkling like a jewel between the ocean and the snows of Cypress Mountain or the most magical-looking cloudscape. Both make for great photos.

A view above the clouds

We tend to pack a picnic lunch, find a hillock to set up camp on, visit with friends, tumble about at our chosen spot with a snowball fight or two, and then prepare for the truly fun bit!  Heading DOWN the mountain.

But first a practice hill…

People sliding down a small hill

On the main route back, some folks need a little push to get going (we’ve just repurposed garbage bags here, but if you’re well prepared bring a Crazy Carpet or similar light-weight sled).

A man sliding down a trail on his stomach

Other people rely on the general slipperiness of snowpants…

Two people sliding down a hill on their pants

All are great options – and so is simply snowshoeing out – somehow everyone makes it down the mountain in a riot of giggles, snowbank wrestling, and general good times.

A mere 30 minutes from Vancouver’s downtown core, be sure to include Cypress Mountain on your wish list of winter activities this year.  Did we mention they also offer guided “Cheese & Chocolate Fondue” snowshoe tours…?

A group of people walking though a snowy forest

This is the second in a series about snowshoeing Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains – see also Snowshoeing in Vancouver: Mount Seymour