It can be difficult during the winter months during January and February finding a hike that is snow-free. While the weather is never guaranteed in Vancouver and these trails sometimes do have snow on them, these 5 hiking trails are generally snow-free most of the year.
Before heading out, don’t forget to let someone know where you are hiking, when you will be back, pack the 10-essentials, and check the time of the sunset as it gets dark quite early during early in the year. Also, watch and obey signage at these trails as some have 1-way routes implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for physical distancing.
During the winter months and early spring, the 10km loop around Buntzen Lake often has water flowing down many of the stream crossings which are dry during the summer. The park is not as busy either! This makes for a very enjoyable hike during the off-season. Note that the gate closes at 4:30pm during the winter, so ensure you have left the park before then.
A short hike in West Vancouver, the trail to Cypress Falls passes through some beautiful west coast rainforest and some of the largest douglas fir trees in the region. Early in the hike, watch for a trail that veers to the right along a slightly lower path that goes to a viewpoint of Lower Cypress Falls.
The trail around Rice Lake is a short 3km loop but is the perfect distance for a rainy day around the peaceful lake. Walk out onto the dock for a beautiful view of the lake and enjoy the lush forest that surrounds the area. Note that dogs are not allowed on the Rice Lake Trail and the gate for the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve closes at 5:00pm during the winter.
Sasamat Lake is part of Belcarra Regional Park and is a very popular place in the summer. However, during the winter months, it does not get too busy and has a 3.2km trail that loops around the lake. One of the highlights is the floating bridge along the south end of the lake that offers a great view of the area. Note that the gate for Sasamat Lake’s Whitepine Beach area closes at 5pm in January and 6pm in February.
Lighthouse Park offers some of the most scenic coast views in the lower mainland right from the shores of West Vancouver. There are several trail options within the park but highlights include the viewpoint of the Lighthouse and several rocky viewpoints along the lower trails. It’s worth a couple of trips to the park to explore all of the trails.