- Difficulty Difficult
- Time 8 hours
- Round-Trip 16km
- Elevation Gain 1280 meters
- Season July - October
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 40 minutes
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly No
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.