The Needle Peak Trail is a lovely classic North Shore Ridge Trail. While you don't get a lot of views, you are sheltered in beautiful coastal rainforest, and the view at the end point is marvellous. If you enjoy a good cardio day going up and down a lot with a great steeper section at the end that is ideal for nervous scramblers, then this is the peak for you.
The trail begins at the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. You may have to park a little further back due to crowds, or you can also take the Number 228 Bus from Lonsdale Quay to get here. There are signposts direction you across the damn bridge. Be sure to leave your details at the giant placard to where hikers are meant to check-in; they check this at the end of the day and will try and call you if you haven't deposited your ticket by 7 p.m. This is a loop route, so remember that you aren't going to come past this check-in again. If you do take a stub, be sure to text the details that you have returned safe and sound when you are done.
The trail is wide gravel road to the right. It follows downriver for a bit before sharply turning uphill when the trail narrows. There are several junctions, but if you follow the signs for Lynn Peak, you'll be good. The trail to Lynn peak isn't especially nice. It is eroded and covered in rocks that are rolling and large. If you have weak ankles, trekking poles and boots (not just mid height hiking shoes). After a decent climb you get to the Lynn viewpoint just off to the right.
Just beyond this is the felled tree. To the left of the tree is the trail to the anticlimactic summit of Lynn Peak. It's basically a fully shaded open space in the woods with no view. Honestly, it's not even really worth stopping for. If you take the left track that heads downhill, you are on your way to Needle Peak.
The trail rolls along the ridge, going up and up and then down and down over several sub peaks. Eventually you'll reach the very steep face of the South Needle. Head up this trail, which is quite steep. The trail begins to loose quality here, and you'll get flat and tricky slopes of dirt rather then good steps. Proper hiking traction footwear will be appreciated. Just beneath the viewpoint you will run into some rocky steps that are fairly easy to scramble. At most they are easy third class. They aren't exposed, so it's a good spot for those who are nervous. You don't even really need to use a hand here, though nervous hikers will appreciate it.
Above this the trail winds near the edge of a cliff, but the ground is solid. It is sloped, so the nervous folks will need patience and reassurance, but the footing is solid, mostly flat, and there are trees to hold onto. Just beyond this is the summit, and gorgeous views of Vancouver.
The trail is a quick descent before you drop down to the saddle. From here, find the trail junction you would have passed earlier. The descent takes a little while and is fairly steep, but it gets you quickly down to the road. From here you cross down following the signs to the Fisher's Trail. This gets you to a gazebo and red chairs. To the right is the Fishers Trail, and it's a brisk walk back to Lynn Canyon along the beautiful river. Be aware that bears are a common sight here in salmon spawning season. Eventually the trial comes out beside Rice Lake. There will be signage back to Lynn Canyon from here.