- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 5 hours
- Round-Trip 10km
- Elevation Gain 150 meters
- Season year-round
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 30 minutes
- Public Transit Yes
- Dog Friendly Yes
The Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls trail in North Vancouver is a rugged hike into the backcountry along the east side of Mount Fromme and to the west of Lynn Creek. The trail passes an enormous old-growth cedar tree, with several trees growing out of it, before heading further north to a spectacular waterfall called Kennedy Falls.
While the trail has less elevation gain compared to many North Shore trails, the route itself is quite rugged with lots of roots, slippery creek crossings, muddy hills, and numerous fallen trees to climb over or under. Pay extra attention to the trail markers as it can be easy to lose the trail in some sections where there is a lot of deadfall.
From the metal gate next to the outhouses (and soon to be new parking lot in late Spring of 2015), walk about 10 meters beyond the gate and go right, heading down into the forest to the hiking trail. Go left and follow the trail as it stays parallel to the Old Grouse Mountain Highway for the first section. At the junction, go straight and within the next 15 meters, go right at the second junction staying on the Big Cedar Trail. Continue along the trail as it crosses a nice wooden bridge as you begin to leave the mountain bikers behind.
The trail continues along the route, quickly coming to the first creek crossing. Be careful as you make your way down the slippery section into the creek bed before crossing and climbing up the other side. Continue along the trail as it passes through the forest and gradually descends along the rocky path. Through the entire route to Kennedy Falls, you will notice plenty of evidence of logging operations including some metal tools and lots of wooden cross ties along the path that were used to help bring the logs out of the forest.
After about 1 hour and 30 minutes, you reach the enormous tree known as the Big Cedar Tree. It's one of the only trees not to be logged in the area and is supposedly about 600-years old, giving a good idea of what the forest would have looked like had it not been logged.
After viewing the tree, continue heading northward as the trail climbs uphill from the Big Cedar Tree, crossing another fallen tree along the way. The route continues through the beautiful forest for about 30-minutes until you reach an area where there are lots of old wooden ties from the logging operations. Zig-zag your way through, following the worn route. Shortly after, the trail opens up into a rough stretch, passing through an old landslide with lots of debris to step over and around. Continue down through the rocky section and then up and over a small dirt mound to where the creek comes into view with Kennedy Falls just up to the left.
The area around Kennedy Falls can be quite cold as it gets little sunlight, being located on the northern side of Mount Fromme. You can walk up along side the river to get a really good view of the falls but be careful as the mist from the waterfall can make the rocks slippery. Find a nice place nearby to enjoy a break and snack before heading back.
Return via the same route you came, carefully hiking the rugged terrain and being sure to watch for trail markers. Pass the Big Cedar Tree and look for the coloured ribbons on the other side that lead over the fallen trees and back onto the trail. Around a couple of hours from the waterfall, you may encounter the occasional mountain biker, giving a good indication that you are almost back at the beginning of the trail.