The Lions. Proud, majestic, strong. These famous peaks are iconic Vancouver landmarks and define our ever changing skyline. They serve as beacons and silently remind us of Mother Nature’s strength and beauty. I am forever drawn to them. A key and vital component of my morning ritual includes a check-in with The Lions. I miss them on grey days when they disappear into the clouds. Conversely, on bright, sunny days they fill me with positive energy and an urge to get outside and play!
For years, the Lions have inspired people to venture into the back country and attempt a summit of the West peak. Both the Howe Sound Crest Trail and the Lions Binkert Trail provide access to the base of the Lions. However, these are challenging hikes and conditions on the North Shore Mountains can and will change in a blink of an eye. Only experienced and well-equipped hikers should consider a summit attempt. For those without mountaineering experience, one of the best places to view these beauties is from Capilano River Regional Park.
Located in North Vancouver, Capilano River Regional Park is a gem! Numerous hiking trails wind their way through the lush coastal rainforest and along the boulder strewn Capilano River. Views of the canyon will take your breath away! My favourite stop is at the Cleveland dam. Built in 1954, the dam blocks Capilano Lake, Vancouver’s fresh drinking water supply. Standing at the top of the 330 foot spillway, listening to the roar of the water, I always feel humbled and suspect I am not alone in this feeling. Although, I could probably spend hours at the dam, I never miss the opportunity to venture out on the trails.
Last weekend, after an invigorating hike along the canyon, I returned to the picnic area to savour a little nibble. I was not alone. I sat quietly and listened to the hustle and bustle around me. I couldn’t help but notice the number of different languages being spoken by park visitors. I felt proud that so many people, from so many different countries were enjoying this natural oasis. As I sat relishing the sunshine and balmy weather, I noticed Canada Geese strutting around as though they owned the park. It seemed fitting that they were there to welcome visitors to the North Shore and introduce them to the Lions. Oh Canada…we stand on guard for thee.
Capilano Regional Park is accessible by transit. Parking is available at the Cleveland Dam parking lot on Capilano Road, in North Vancouver.