Took some time out today to head up into North Vancouver’s Lynn Headwaters Regional Park to tackle over 16km of linked trails (see map) that led us from the park entrance on Lynn Valley Road, to the top of Grouse Mountain, an elevation gain of around 1130m.
Joining me for parts of the hike were my work mates Scott (Scooter) and his two schnauzer pups Wally and Tuppy, who accompanied us for roughly the first 5.5km along the edge of Lynn Creek via Varley Trail (1.5km), a section of the Lynn Loop Trail (1.8km) and the picturesque Cedars Mill Trail (2.1km).
From there, the terrain became a little more complicated to negotiate, so Scott and the dogs turned back leaving myself and another of my workmates, Dirk, to continue along the start of the intermediate Headwaters Trail (2km) alone. Passing through a magnificent pine forest rich with moss covered tree trunks and a huge assortment of wild mushrooms, we crossed a number of both calm and raging creeks, eventually coming out into more open landscape as we traveled along the Hanes Valley Trail (2.5km) to the base of Crown Mountain.
It was here that we were faced with the most challenging portion of the trail – a 1.5km scramble up a steep rocky slope to Crown Pass. We were making really good time up until this point, but the pure steepness and loose footings of the climb slowed us down quite a bit. From the top of the pass, we continued onto the start of a number of mountain crossings (Goat Mountain, Little Goat Mountain and Dam Mountain – 2.3km) which took us above the snow line for the back side of the Grouse Alpine Area. It was wet and slippery and really not what we needed for the last few kilometers of the trail, but we made it through ok and eventually descended down into the Grouse Mountain Ski Resort.
Dirk was still looking pretty fresh at the end of it all, but there was no way that either of us were going to attempt the Grouse Grind as a means of returning back to the base of the mountain. Instead, we took a well-earned gondola ride down for a measly $5 and rewarded ourselves with a coffee while waiting for the bus to take us back to Lonsdale Quay.
I’m so glad that Dirk asked me along on the Lynn Headwaters/Hanes Valley Trail today. While challenging in sections, the trail took me through some truly beautiful country and allowed me to tally up another Grouse Mountain ascent, this time from a completely different route to the infamous Grind.
It’s getting pretty late in the season, as indicated by the snow on the higher sections of the trail already, but I can highly recommend the trail system to any outdoors enthusiast of decent fitness and ability. It’s regarded as a 7 hour hike, but Dirk and I completed it fairly comfortably in 5.5 hours. Here’s a few pics from the day’s adventure: