Travel Blog

15 Jul

Great Vancouver Hikes: Eagle Bluffs on Cypress Mountain

Photo credit: Su-Laine | Flickr

Photo credit: Su-Laine | Flickr

With the Coast Mountains in our backyard, there’s no shortage of incredible hikes in Vancouver.  The challenge for casual hikers is finding trails that reward with great views, sparkling lakes and streams and uncrowded spaces – all within a few hours time.

The Eagle Bluffs trail on Cypress Mountain meets all of those criteria . . . and more.  The three-four hour hike follows well marked trails, offers some of the most stunning views in Vancouver and even passes by a pristine mountaintop lake for a quick, refreshing dip.  Just be ready for a bit of a workout.

The trail starts only a half-hour drive from downtown Vancouver.  The Eagle Bluffs trailhead is located in the Cypress Mountain ski resort parking lot.  Walk by the Crazy Raven bar (which is great for a cool beer after the hike . . . you’ll need it) and head toward the chairlifts on Black Mountain.

The route starts easy enough, winding through thick forest near Yew Lake.  Then things get a little more intense.  A series of switchbacks ascends steeply up the flank of Black Mountain, paralleling the ski run.  The trail is loose dirt and gravel and can be tough in spots, but I’ve seen everyone from toddlers to grandmothers with walking sticks make it up without a problem.

After about 45 minutes of serious cardio, you reach the peak and are rewarded with pristine Cabin Lake, which looks like a backdrop for a Kokanee commercial.  The small, spring-fed lake is surrounded by forest and rocky outcroppings, perfect for a picnic lunch.  On hot days, swimmers jump into the cold, clear water or float around the lake on inflatable tubes.

It’s tempting to turn back here, but some incredible views await if you push on.  After the lake, you pick up the main trail and plunge back into the forest.  A clearly marked junction points the way to Eagle Bluffs.  The route here passes several smaller lakes, while descending through alpine forest.  Finally, after another 45 minutes, a clearing through the trees is visible.

Step out onto Eagle Bluffs and take in one of the most gorgeous views of the Lower Mainland you’ll ever see.  All of downtown, Burnaby, Richmond and the West Side spread out below, as if on a giant map.  You can see the sandy outlines of English Bay and deep into Howe Sound.  On a clear day, the outline of Vancouver Island is clearly visible in the distance.

The awe-inspiring view should give you enough inspiration for the return trip.  Follow the same route back, which is a good bit easier since it’s mostly downhill.  And don’t forget to grab that beer in the Crazy Raven.

For a detailed description of the hike, check out this great post on Vancouver Trails.

Anyone else experienced the Eagle Bluffs hike? What did you think? 

For more updates on hiking in Vancouver and beyond and more, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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