Kid-friendly Spring summit hikes on the North Shore

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If you have an older kid who likes “summits” or you yourself enjoy a bit of peak bagging, then Spring can be somewhat of a trying time: the weather is warming up and days are getting longer, but the mountains are usually still snow covered.  Fear not, as there are a few summit-bound snow hikes, tested by our kids, that can still be good till well into May.  For a baby or younger child, naturally use a carrier, but for older preschoolers and beyond, those could be well within reach of independent hiking (you know your kid best). And if you ask me, Spring is a great time to tackle those trails with kids since the days are longer and you can comfortably be out well into the evening.  

 

Note on gear: unless it’s been dumping snow, these hikes don’t really require snowshoes as the trails are trampled by what often seems like half of Vancouver daily and are typically well packed.  So we intentionally don’t call them snowshoe hikes.  Traction devices like microspikes are often useful.  Choose a safe part of the trail and the glissades down the snow can be fun for even the younger tots!  And as always, do your research on the trail, leave a trip plan, and be prepared with your ten essentials.  

 

Dog Mountain

Elevation gain: minimal, some small ups and downs

Length: ~5km round trip

 

Snow hiking to a summit doesn’t get any easier on the Lower Mainland than this gem of a trail on Mount Seymour.  If you’re looking to test out your preschooler’s hiking abilities, then this is the trail.  A fairly short meandering path, with little elevation leads to the “summit”: a wide plateau with great views of the city below.  The only downside is that the trail is usually very busy, and you have to park quite far from the trailhead when the ski resort is open.

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Black Mountain

Elevation gain: ~290m

Length: ~6km round trip

 

If you’re looking to move on from Dog Mountain, then this hike in Cypress Provincial Park is a step up in terms of elevation gain.  It’s a fairly steady, although short uphill climb to the wide plateau at Cabin Lake.  From there, you can go on a few more minutes and summit either the South or North peak of the mountain, with the latter being the officially higher one.  When Cypress Resort is in operation, you need to get a free backcountry pass from the resort, as the access trail passes by the ski runs.

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Dam Mountain

Elevation gain: ~260m

Length: ~5km

 

This hike begins in Grouse Mountain Resort, and is marked during the winter season as their Snowshoe Grind trail (no ticket needed, but do check the trail status for potential closures on Grouse Mountain web site after major snowfalls).  After the initial start on a wide road that hugs the side of the mountain, you’ll quickly start climbing up towards the flat plateau just under the summit of Dam.  The last bit to the top is the only truly steep part of the hike.  We usually have our “summit celebration” below the summit as the pointy top isn’t the friendliest terrain with a toddler or preschooler.  

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Hollyburn Mountain

Length: ~7km

Elevation gain: ~450m

 

This trail begins right next to the Cypress Nordic Centre,  This is worth doing even if you don’t think you’ll actually make it to the summit, as the terrain is generally safe and overall not strenuous until the very end, with opportunities to take a break and enjoy some snow play along the way or as a destination in itself.  A series of alternating short climbs and meadows bring you close to the top.  The last bit is a steep climb to the summit plateau.  Enjoy the gorgeous views!

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We are so lucky to have all these options right here in our backyard! We hope you enjoy these wonderful adventures with your families and loved ones.  See you out there!