Hollyburn Mountain could be the most popular winter trail on Vancouver’s north shore. On a bluebird weekend, it’s not uncommon for hundreds of people to be on the trail at any one time, from backcountry enthusiasts to ambitious tourists.
The mountain has a rich winter sports history dating back nearly 100 years, and it was the first ski "resort" on Vancouver's North Shore Mountains. Today that winter sports tradition continues with the groomed cross-country trails of the Cypress Nordic Ski Area, which runs parallel to the Hollyburn Trail.
The trail follows an old access road beneath the power lines from the ski area parking lot. After a kilometer, the trail begins to weave through the forest and skirts a handful of meadows and tarns.
The gentle meandering singletrack trail abruptly gives way to a final third that resembles a stair master. Steep, straight sections of trail are mercifully interspersed with mini-plateaus, providing an opportunity to turn around and admire views over the city and Georgia Strait below.
The steepest section is, of course, reserved for last. However, once you reach the peak you’ll be greeted by spectacular 360-degree views as well as a handful of whisky jacks and likely a raven or two.
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.