I just got back from spending a few days in Vancouver where I was visiting a friend. What a pleasure to be back on the west coast! As it was sunny and warm, my friend suggested we go hiking in the mountains and we headed to Mount Seymour Provincial Park, intending to summit Dog Mountain.
Why Dog Mountain? Because it is a hike that is neither too difficult nor too technical (the elevation gain is rather minimal) which offers a magnificent view of Vancouver. In addition, the trailhead is about a thirty-minute drive from the city centre, which makes it an easily accessible (and popular) hike.
It was sunny when we left Vancouver, but as we drove higher in the mountains towards the trailhead, we suddenly found ourselves in a heavy fog. And if, in town, the cherry trees were all blossoming, in the mountains there was still lots and lots of snow.
The trailhead for the Dog Mountain Trail is located near the Mount Seymour Ski Resort parking lot. Despite the fog and snow, it wasn’t terribly cold, and the trail was relatively well-trodden and well-marked.
Despite the fog, I was so happy to find myself under the tall trees of the mountain! Mount Seymour Provincial Park lies within the coastal western hemlock and mountain hemlock bioclimatic zones. The trail first climbs gently through a dense old-growth subalpine fir forest, where there were magnificent Douglas firs.
As my friend told me, the hike was not very physically demanding. The trail winds gently between tall trees and big rocks, and the climb was very gradual. It seems that in the summer, the trail is covered with large slippery roots, which adds a little difficulty, but for me, everything was covered with a thick layer of snow.
After more than a kilometre, we arrived at First Lake, also covered in snow and fog.
The climb was a little more sustained after that, but nothing too challenging. After another kilometre the trees started to clear and we reached the rocky summit of Dog Mountain.
At 1,054 metres above sea level, Dog Mountain is said to offer one of the best views in the Vancouver area. On a clear day, it is possible to see Vancouver, Stanley Park, the Fraser Valley and the Strait of Georgia. Unfortunately for me, I was not there on a clear day. Absolutely, definitely not.
But you have to enjoy a hike for the experience, not for the view, right? So I put my disappointment aside and tried to enjoy every minute of my descent. After all, as was the case at Mount Ulia in Spain, the foggy forest was simply magical! And that gives me one more reason to come back and enjoy the trail when the weather is nicer!
Elevation gain: 196m
Distance (return) : 5.7 kilometres
Access : Mount Seymour Ski Resort Parking