Monday, 2 March 2015

Hiking to Eagle Bluffs at Cypress Provincial Park near Vancouver, B.C.

by Keith and Heather Nicol
The trail starts near the Eagle Express Ski Lift
   On Sunday, March 1 we decided to hike up the Eagle Bluffs trail which is located in Cypress   Since we weren’t sure about how much snow we would run into we brought hiking poles and yaktrax for our hiking shoes. Fortunately there was no need to use the latter on this outing but Kristie and Eric have needed them on previous winter/spring  trips to Eagle Bluffs to negotiate icy trails.
Provincial Park on the North Shore of Vancouver. Normally at this time of the year this area would be piled high with snow and we would likely be skiing but this year with the lack of snow and warm weather we decided that we would try a winter hike on this trail. Cypress Bowl is a 40 minute drive from the West End of Vancouver and as we arrived in the parking lot we were surprised to see the snowmaking guns churning out snow on some of alpine ski runs. We arrived about 9:15 and temperatures were 0 C as we set out. Our daughter Kristie had wanted to show us this hike for some time and we were also joined by Kristie’s boyfriend Eric and our niece Gillian, who had Maya, the dog in tow.
The trail is easy to follow
     The trailhead is easy to find near the Cypress base lodge (exact GPS coordinates are : 10 U 0485140E 5471576N).  You can park in the large parking lots that are used for the alpine ski area. The hike starts out paralleling to a ski run and climbs steeply up a rocky trail. As you climb you can get glimpses of the Lions and Howe Sound as well as the various ski runs. After about 1 hour of hiking the trail heads off toward Eagle Bluffs and undulates past numerous frozen ponds. Then it heads downhill over some steep rocky descents and we were pleased that there was no snow and ice on these sections. Finally after about 4 kilometers of walking we broke out onto Eagle Bluffs which provided impressive views of Bowen Island, Vancouver and we could even see Mt. Baker in the distance. We had lunch at the lookout and then headed back following the same trail. We were surprised at how many people were doing the hike and we counted about 70 people over all.  This also appears to be a popular place for people to take their dogs and we saw a couple of dozen dogs on this particular trip (note dogs should be on leashes). We completed the hike in 3 ½ hours and spent an additional 20 minutes for lunch so this hike can easily be done in an afternoon or morning.  This hike is geared to a wide range of hikers but use care in the winter since ice or hard packed snow could make the trail dangerous. The trail is well marked but be sure to read the trail markers at the numerous junctions to be sure you are travelling to your destination since there are many other trails in the area. For more information see:  
The view from the lookout is impressive

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