November and December Hiking Trails
November and December are typically the gloomiest months in Vancouver when it comes to hiking as the region experiences lots of rain at the lower elevations and minimal daylight hours as the sun sets in the late-afternoon or early-evenings. While it might be tempting to hike trails like Garibaldi Lake and other popular summer routes, these trails are sure to have snow on them and challenging winter conditions.
However, there are plenty of trails at lower elevations that offer great hikes during the November and December months. While they are generally snow-free, the Vancouver area does occasionally have snowfalls during November or December, so it is possible that there maybe some snow on the trails… but it’s rare.
Before heading out, don’t forget to pack the 10-Essentials and plan to complete your hike early so you don’t get caught on the trail in the dark. Check the weather conditions ahead of time too.
Here are some hiking recommendations for the months of November and December:
Jug Island Beach
Located in Belcarra, the hike to Jug Island Beach offers a good workout as it climbs steeply up a well defined trail. The route levels off before branching to the right and climbing again, then descending very steeply down to the beach where Jug Island just off the shore from Indian Arm.
Gold Creek Falls
A drive to Golden Ears Provincial Park makes for a scenic outing as the lower elevations of the park are usually snow-free year round. The trail to Gold Creek Falls follows the river and is a relatively easy route, although muddy this time of year. However, there’s often plenty of water flowing over Gold Creek Falls making it a scenic sight this time of year.
The trail that loops around Buntzen Lake is a great hiking option during the winter months as it is often snow-free most of the year. At about 10km in length with several sections that have inclines, the route can take 3-4 hours to complete, so make sure to start early enough so you are not hiking in the dark. Also, the gate for the parking lot closes at 4:30pm during the winter months.
A popular short hike in North Vancouver is the one to Twin Falls in Lynn Valley. The trail can be accessed from a few different locations, however the route from the Suspension Bridge can be done as a loop, returning up the steep set of stairs on the west side of the canyon. Make sure to continue past the viewpoint of Twin Falls down to the boardwalks where you can access a small, rocky beach next to Lynn Creek.