The Lions are the two most familiar peaks seen from the city of Vancouver. The view from the Lions is truly spectacular, offering a panoramic view of Howe Sound and the Capilano Watershed down to the city of Vancouver.
Starting from the yellow gate in Lions Bay, follow the wide gravel road and after 5 minutes of flat terrain, begin your ascent. A short distance up the trail, you reach a fork that heads off to Mount Harvey. Go right and continue along the wide gravel road as it travels through a series of switchbacks, gradually snaking its way uphill.
After 25-30 minutes of hiking, the trail reaches another junction. Again, go right and continue uphill as the trail begins to level. For the next 30 minutes, the trail remains relatively flat but don't get too comfortable with this terrain as the steepest sections are yet to come. The trail wraps around the mountainside and passes a couple of scenic waterfalls.
As the dirt trail becomes more and more rocky, watch for a junction on your right with a sign pointing to the Lions. Take this trail and walk down the narrow dirt trail towards Harvey Creek. After crossing the bridge at Harvey Creek, walk up the other side and after about 100 meters, the trail veers to the left to start the next uphill section.
Just a short distance after the trail begins to climb, there is a clearing which offers a viewpoint of Howe Sound and Bowen Island. Take a break and enjoy the view because the uphill section is difficult.
For the next hour or so, the trail climbs steadily through Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar forests, passing occasional rockslides that have occurred over thousands of years. Eventually, the trail emerges on a ridge from an opening in the trees and standing tall to your right is the breathtaking site of the West Lions.
A more spectacular view awaits on a higher ridge above. Follow the trail to the right and walk towards the West Lions. Keep an eye out for the coloured markers to follow as the terrain gradually turns from trail into large boulders. As you continue your climb, take the occasional moment to stop and look back at the view of Howe Sound and the town of Lions Bay where you started your trek earlier in the day.
The route over the boulders continues to climb and with each step seems to get steeper. The last section of the trail is the steepest, climbing up a short gully as you make a scramble to the top. Reaching a ridge, another small hill appears in front of you. Just a few more minutes up this section and you have reached another ridge that offers a full view of both Lions' peaks as well as the views of Howe Sound, Unnecessary Mountain, and Vancouver off to the left.
After having lunch, taking photos, and reflecting on your trek so far, it's time to head back down the mountain towards Lions Bay. Retrace your steps back down the rocky slope to the ridge just below, making sure to watch for the orange markings that lead back the way you came. Going straight in the wrong direction will take you to Unnecessary Mountain, making for a longer day.
Walk back down over the rocks, being careful not to slip on loose gravel or unsecured rocks. After returning to the clearing to the west of the West Lions, enter the forest and begin your descent as you enjoy the fresh air of the surrounding trees. Eventually, the sound of Harvey Creek can be heard as you veer to the right and end up on the bridge crossing above. Continue up the short slope to the wide road and follow the road as it weaves back around the mountainside and eventually widens before making a final descent through a series of switchbacks and ending at the yellow gate where you began your trek.
How to get to The Lions Binkert Trail
Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver: 1 hour
The Binkert Lions Trail begins from the town of Lions Bay, just north of the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay. From Vancouver, take Highway #1 (Trans Canada Highway) westbound towards Horseshoe Bay and watch for the signs to Highway #99 (Sea to Sky Highway). After getting onto Highway #99, follow the road as it weaves around the mountains until you reach the small town of Lions Bay. Turn off the highway at the Lions Bay Avenue exit and immediately make a left onto Cross Creek Road crossing the bridge over Harvey Creek. A short distance later, make a right onto Centre Road, then left onto Bayview Road and another left onto Mountain Drive. At Sunset Drive, make a left and park along the right side before the yellow gate.
Note: Make sure to arrive early as there are very few parking spots by the yellow gate and vehicles that illegally park will be TOWED to North Vancouver. If all the parking spots are full, additional parking is available back down the road by the school, however it will add another kilometer to the hike each way.
Towing Illegally Parked Cars Starting July 2009
Towing of vehicles that are illegally parked is starting up near the trail access to the Lions from Sunset Drive in Lions Bay and it may start on Mountain Drive too. Towed vehicles go to North Vancouver and you may end up stranded in Lions Bay if the buses aren't running. To avoid this, if the small lot near the trail is full, drop off your companions and gear and head back downhill to park. Overflow parking is available near Lions Bay Elementary School on Bayview Road, just south of the school.
View a map of Driving directions to The Lions Binkert Trail.
Dogs at The Lions Binkert Trail
While there is no rule that does not allow dogs on the trail, the rocky sections closer to the peaks of the Lions are dangerous for dogs to walk over. It is possible to do the first two-thirds of the trail with a dog but not recommended.
Toilets at The Lions Binkert Trail
There are no toilets along this trail.
Other trails located in the Howe Sound region: