The Hanes Valley Trail perhaps best epitomizes the accessible yet challenging nature of Vancouver’s North Shore mountains. Starting at the popular Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, hikers meander through the temperate rainforests via a smooth, wide path nestled along the bank of Lynn Creek. Large conifers abound, obscuring both the surrounding peaks and most obvious signs of the park’s logging history.
The crowds disappear and the trail thins as the route progresses past Norvan Falls, occasionally to the point of testing route-finding skills. Suddenly the cedars and firs give way, replaced by alder and blackberries. Black bears frequent this area, while the low growth allows for some impressive views of both the valley that's been traveled and the boulder scramble that's ahead.
The 1-kilometer scramble beneath Crown Mountain combines car-sized boulders with loose sections of scree before a final muddy ascent into the thin strip of temperate forest that lines the saddle between Goat and Crown mountains. The ascent is exposed and unrelenting, so fill up with water on warm days at the base of the scramble.
For hikers who enjoyed the boulder field ascent, turn right to continue the mud-rock scramble on the out-and back extension to the stunning views atop the summit of Crown Mountain, the highest peak on the north shore and the origin of the boulders previously traversed. The shorter option is to turn left at the junction and follow the well-marked trail along the ridge to Grouse Mountain Resort.