Hiking the Baden Powell Trail - North Vancouver
Activity:I’m no expert in psychology, but then I don’t need to be to figure this one out: when the going gets tough it brings people together and builds character. You’re probably wondering what on earth this has to do with anything—let me explain—hiking one part of the Baden Powell Trail with your children could turn out to be one of the great accomplishments your family does and set this summer apart from every other.
Before I go any further, let me tell you about the Baden Powell Trail. It stretches all the way from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay, a total of 48 kilometers. The Baden Powell Trail was originally built by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Canada in 1971 to commemorate B.C.’s 100 year anniversary as a province in Canada. The trail is made up of four sections: Deep Cove to Lynn Valley, Lynn Valley to Grouse Mountain, Grouse Mountain to Cypress Mountain, and Cypress Mountain to Horseshoe Bay. Each one of these take about 3 ½ to 4 hours to hike.
If your children are coming along, I recommend you do the Lynn Valley to Grouse Mountain segment. Your kids will see so much en route, they won’t even think about how sore their feet are getting. You’ll start off by crossing the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, a sure-fired way to get their adrenalin pumping. If you’ve never been, it is true that the bridge jiggles every time a person gets on or off. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for mountain bikers in and around Fromme Mountain. You might see one bouncing down a skinny ladder or launching off a ginormous rock.
If your kids look bored, play a game to see who can spot the most animals. I’ve seen deer, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, raccoons, butterflies, but so far no bears (although they do live in the forest). We used to look for holes in trees and imagine who might live there. There’s also lots of water: trickling out of rocks, cascading down canyons, dripping from leaves, oozing from under your feet. Speaking of which, some parts can get muddy. I wouldn’t recommend going on a day after we’ve had several days of rain. Bring along a plant book, and see how many different types of plants you can name. A small container could come in handy for picking berries. Just what berries will be ripe depends on when you go. Usually the salmon berries are early summer, followed by huckleberries, blackberries, and finally blueberries.
I’m probably telling you too much. It can seem overwhelming at first glance. That’s why it’s important you follow the Boy Scout motto and “Be Prepared.” First of all, don’t count on washrooms along the way. Secondly, think of how you’ll get back to your car when you’ve finished hiking. I know buses go to each start and stop point--but ask yourself-- do I want to catch a bus at the end of a four hour hike with my kids? You may want to do what my husband and I did, take two cars. And, I have to be honest, we did not bring our children. Our kids are not big hikers and they would’ve been miserable, which would have inevitably made us miserable. I suggest taking children who are attending elementary school and are reasonably athletic. A positive attitude goes a long way also. Good shoes (not flip flops), layers of clothing, snacks, and lots of water are essentials. It’s also a good idea to bring a small first-aid kit. It’s amazing how easily kids can hurt themselves—running along a trail, turning over a rock, breaking off a stick is all it can take.
This could be a grand adventure for your family to try. Bring along a camera (maybe even one for the kids to take their own pictures) so you have plenty of memories to bring back the day.
Details:The Baden Powell trail stretches 42-km/25mi from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Deep Cove in North Vancouver. Unless you're incredibly physically fit, it's not a good idea to attempt the entire length all in one day. We walked the trail in 3 days: 1st day Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon, 2nd day Lynn Canyon to Grouse Mountain Skyride, and the 3rd day from Cleveland Dam to the top of Cypress Mountain. (We've still haven't completed the final section from the top of Cypress Mountain to Horseshoe Bay.) For more information on the Baden Powell trail can be found at these websites: Vancouver Trails, Baden Powell Photos, TrailPeak.
Area:North and West Vancouver
Season:Spring, Summer, Fall