When the temperatures soar, you might be tempted to seek out an air-conditioned indoor space. But I think you should use Mother Nature’s AC instead: shade and chilly water. Head out on one of these 3 great North Shore hikes to cool down on a hot day.
Hot Weather Hiking Tips:
Avoid the hottest times of the day. Go early in the morning or after dinner.
- Drink lots of water.
- Protect yourself from the sun: wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and long sleeves.
- Cool down: splash yourself with water at stream crossings, or jump right into a lake or river. If you do get in the water, wipe off any sunscreen or bug spray first to avoid harming the ecosystem.
On a hot day, the shaded trail to Whyte Lake in West Vancouver is a welcome relief from the sun as it climbs uphill along the banks of Nelson Creek. The trail ends at beautiful little Whyte Lake where you can jump off the dock.
Directions: To get there, take exit #4 from the highway to Woodgreen Drive, then Westport Road. Follow the road as it goes under the highway, then look for the gravel driveway for the parking lot on your right.
From the parking lot go past the metal gate and follow a gravel road underneath the highway. When you see a water tower, look for a trail heading off to the right. This is the Whyte Lake trail. Follow the trail as it climbs up by Nelson Creek, ignoring a trail coming in from the right. After about an hour, you will reach Whyte Lake and the dock. Continue around the lake to find an outhouse and a small gravel beach area.
Bring a copy of West Vancouver’s Whyte Lake Trail map to help you find your way.
Trail Stats: Easy, 5km return, 160m elevation gain, 2 hours
Two Canyon Loop
For a few years, this classic North Shore loop hike was inaccessible, but thanks to the new Lower Seymour suspension bridge, it’s open again! It lets you hike into both the Lynn and Seymour River canyons. And if you want to brave the chilly waters, you can plunge into 30 Foot Pool near the end of the hike.
Directions: Park your car in the main lot at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. From the east end of the lot, follow the Homestead Trail downhill to the Seymour River. Turn right to take the Fisherman’s Trail across the new suspension bridge and continue downriver. About 1.5km after the bridge, turn right onto the Baden Powell and cross a bridge back over the Seymour River.
Follow the Baden Powell as it climbs a hill, crosses Lillooet Road, then descends to the banks of Lynn Creek. Continue on the Baden Powell upstream to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Stay on the east side of the bridge and follow the trails upstream to 30 Foot Pool. Take a dip in the chilly waters, then take the trail up the stairs to meet up with the gravel Rice Lake Road. Turn right to head back into the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve where you began.
The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve map will help you keep track of all those trail junctions.
Trail Stats: Easy/Moderate, 8.5km loop, 150m elevation gain, 3 hours
This short hike takes you up across Mount Seymour’s lower slopes to a beautiful little sub-alpine lake. The little lake is surrounded by granite slabs so you can ease into the water or jump right in.
Directions: Park at the main Mount Seymour parking lot. Start at the wooden map kiosk at the far end of the lot, then walk up the gravel road for about 100m. Just past a small ski area shack, you should see a trail branching right. This is the Mystery Lake Trail. Follow it across an open area under the ski lift, then into the trees. The trail continues to climb gradually, alternating between closed forest and blueberry bushes.
After about 40 minutes you’ll arrive at Mystery Lake. There is a faint trail most of the way around the lake you take to find a swimming spot. Be careful jumping in as the water is shallow in a few places.
Use the Mount Seymour Provincial Park map to stay on track.
Trail Stats: Easy, 3km return, 150m elevation gain, 1.5 hours
Taryn Eyton is a Vancouver-based hiker, adventure traveller and blogger. You can find her on the trails of Vancouver’s North Shore on weeknights and camping in the backcountry of Southwestern B.C. on weekends. Follow Taryn’s adventures at HappiestOutdoors.ca.