Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,642.00 m (5,387.14 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
26.50 km (16.47 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Hikes that start in Lions Bay and lead to a mountain are known to lead to great views, but they have punishing elevation gains. That description fits Hat Mountain (1,644 meters) like a glove. This outing rewards perseverant hikers with a great workout and even better views. The icing on the cake: It’s only a half hour drive from Vancouver. The trailhead is located at the end of Sunset Drive in the village of Lions Bay. There is pay parking or some free parking spots along the surrounding roads. However, parking is not permitted everywhere, so be sure to read the parking signs to avoid a nasty surprise.

The trail starts at an elevation of 200 meters and follows a forest road for the first 5 kilometers, gaining 450 meters of net elevation in the process. Heading right at the intersection leads to Mount Harvey and Brunswick Mountain, both worthy objectives that can be tackled on another day. Keep left and follow what used to be a dirt road but what is now more a faint path for another 5 kilometers. A few other minor trails are crossed along the way, but always keep right on the bigger path.

After about 10.5 kilometers and at an elevation of 1,100 meters, the faint road ends and becomes a real trail. The short scrambling section starts at the 12.5-kilometer mark. It’s neither technical nor overly exposed, though one will need to get a little dirty as shrubs and moss may offer resistance. The summit is reached after less than 1 kilometer of easy scrambling.

On the summit of Hat Mountain, the first thing anyone will notice is the radio transmission tower. However, despite this violation of the Leave No Trace rule, the view is fantastic in all directions and it will steal the show. To the north, Deeks Lake lies 600 meters below with Deeks Peak and Mount Windsor rising across the valley that separates them from Hat Mountain. Mount Hanover towers east, while Brunswick Mountain and Mount Harvey complete the semi-circle to the south. Lions Bay closes the circle barely 2 kilometers west: The mountains in Lions Bay rise quickly and dramatically. Bugs can be a nuisance at the summit in the summer, so bringing spray is a good idea.

The return trip is via the same trail. There are no facilities or services at the trailhead, and the pay parking is with a self-issued permit. The road crosses a few creeks in the first half of the ascent, but they can be dry later in the summer and depending on rainfall.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Other

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great views. Solitude.

Cons

Long approach.

Trailhead Elevation

200.00 ft (60.96 m)

Highest point

1,644.00 ft (501.09 m)

Net Elevation Gain

4,737.53 ft (1,444.00 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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