Cypress Provincial Park is a popular destination in winter and one that lies a mere 25 minutes away from Vancouver. While it’s mostly known for the ski resort and Nordic skiing park, it also has excellent snowshoeing trails, most notably up Hollyburn Mountain and Black Mountain (1,217 meters). This outing will take you on the eastern end of this easily accessible provincial park.
The Black Mountain snowshoe trail starts north of the Cypress Mountain Lodge at an altitude of 930 meters. Be careful when reaching the trailhead as it crosses the ski slopes. There are markers to guide snowshoers away from the slopes, and the trail itself is very well marked with red poles.
The first kilometer heads toward Yew Lake and is rather flat. It gets steeper from there, but the ascent is gentle as the trailhead is high. On your way up, take the time to admire the snow-covered trees that make this park famous.
On the summit plateau there are options to go straight and back to the summit or to do the summit loop, which uses part of the Baden Powell Trail and goes to Owen Lake. Doing the loop is not much harder.
Black Mountain is barely 1 kilometer away from Owen Lake, and the views are outstanding. The Lions, an iconic landmark of Vancouver, are clearly visible and impressive to the north. Mount Strachan and the ski slopes of the Cypress Ski Resort are prominent to the east. To the west, the views of Howe Sound will make you think it’s summer at sea level!
The descent is via the same trails. Back down at the base, a quick side trip goes northwest to Yew Lake. Another option to make this outing longer is to head to Eagle Bluffs from Owen Lake, 1 kilometer away. However, this trail is not maintained in winter.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.