Beauty Peak (otherwise known as West Crown, or sometimes Sleeping Beauty) is one of the prominent mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore that you can see from all over the city. This is a tough hike and definitely not suitable for new hikers or for soggy days! Still, the reward for all this effort is one of the best views I have ever had of Vancouver.
Our reason for the visiting this peak was to spread the ashes of our much-loved cat Monty (sob). We really wanted to leave him somewhere beautiful, where we can look up and wave to him. We were also keen to find a secluded spot so we could mourn in peace.
Beauty Peak (West Crown) trail map
Beauty Peak – the basics
Elevation Gain: 325m (from the low point at Crown Pass to the summit)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1050m
High Point: 1401m
Time: 6–8 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
The 10 essentials.
People often have trouble on the trail to Crown Mountain, so be prepared!
There’s a gondola! Plus a cafe, restaurant, shops, loos and a water fountain on Grouse Mountain.
No dogs allowed on the gondola and you’d need to carry them on the steep sections.
How hard is it?
Difficult. It’s not a long trail but all the elevation gain and loss on a super steep trail make this challenging.
Extra Leave no Trace message
The last part of this trail enters into the Capilano Watershed. This area is closed to the public for protection from pollution, erosion etc. I am in no way encouraging or condoning visits into this peak. However as I know people *do* still visit I am sharing this to help people do so safely (with detailed plans) so they can keep on the unofficial trail. Tread lightly here.
Beauty Peak – Getting started
There are a few different options for the start of the walk. You can hike up the Grouse Grind, or take the alternative route up the BCMC trail. We were expecting to find this walk difficult; So we cheated and took the gondola up to the chalet on Grouse Mountain. Once you make it to the resort area, head North (follow the bear footprints painted on the pathway.)
Visit Grinder and Cooler
Early in the morning is quite a good time to see the resident grizzly bears on Grouse Mountain; Grinder and Cooler. This enclosure has been their home since 2001 when they were both orphaned as bear cubs.
From there, follow the trail around the back of the bear enclosure towards Dam Mountain. Then, you can either take the Ridge trail to Dam Mountain and Little Goat Mountain, or take the Alpine trail (which is easier, but you won’t get the extra peak views.) 3km in, you’ll need to turn off towards Crown Pass. Follow the signs for Crown Mountain.
The crazily steep section
This is the hardest part of the trail. You need to hike down a very steep trail to Crown Pass. Then, as soon as you make it to the low point you need to hike up the other side on another very steep trail. There are chains to help you climb down the first part, and helpful tree roots to help climb up the other side. It is all pretty fun if tiring.
You need to be strong enough to pull yourself up when the trail gets a bit vertical. When you get tired, stop and look at the views up the giant cliffs above, or down to Haynes Valley.
Once you’ve made it up the worst of the steep section, you traverse west along the Crown Mountain trail gaining elevation more slowly. Follow orange paint splashes on the rocky sections and ribbons through the trees.
This is the view back over to Goat Mountain (we’d just climbed down from that ridge.) Goat Mountain is is also a fabulous hike if you fancy it on a different day.
Turn-off for Beauty Peak
You can find the trail to Beauty Peak right after the flat section of the trail where there is a helicopter pad. The trail starts a few meters away from the helipad – from the corner closest to Beauty Peak. Watch out for orange ribbons to show you the way. The path can get quite overgrown, but it’s pretty obvious if you keep heading towards Beauty Peak.
You need to descend, then climb up (and down) a knob before heading up to the actual peak. This last 100m elevation gain goes up an exposed rock face which was easy to walk up in the sunshine; However it must be slippery and dangerous in the rain.
There are a couple of easy-ish scramble sections. Once is at the knob – there is a rope to help you climb down a tree. The other is at a cliff band right below the summit. For that one, we climbed up a super rooty tree.
The views from Beauty Peak are incredible towards Crown Mountain (above.) I guess there is no better spot to see Crown than from West Crown! It’s also pretty epic to look down into the surrounding valley and North Shore Mountains. (below)
There is a tiny tarn at the top with a fabulous reflection of Crown Mountain.
Beautiful Beauty Peak Views
Now this is what you’ll be rewarded with; Incredible views over Metro Vancouver and back over to Grouse Mountain where you started. On clear days you’d be able to see over to Mount Baker in the USA as well as Vancouver Island.
I just loved seeing the city from here.
We were hoping it would be like this – as we wanted to leave Monty’s ashes somewhere that would allow him to peek down at us. It was a sad moment so I am glad we left him somewhere this picturesque.
I’d heard there was a Whiskey Cache on this peak, so we searched around the cairn just in case. Whiskey caches are a bit like geocaches, but more alcoholic! This one was really tasty and was perfect for toasting Monty. Please note, the rules of whiskey caches are if you finish the bottle, you need to hike back up and replace it.
The thing that makes the Beauty Peak trail so challenging is once you have made it up, the return journey is still tough. The path gains and loses elevation multiple times… so that means you need to climb up on the return journey just as much as hiking down. If you are anything like me, your legs will be tired. It’s exhausting.
At least the trail back to Grouse is easy to follow as you just need to retrace your steps.
We arrived back at the gondola just as the sun was setting. Beauty Peak was one of the best hiking experiences I’ve had on the North Shore, despite the sad reason for our adventure. Rest in peace Monty. I hope some of you can visit his new home on this beautiful (and well named) peak.
Beauty Peak (West Crown) Panoramas
The views from this area are so expansive I wanted to share some panoramas to give you an idea about the gorgeous views from the hike.
I hope you like the look of West Crown or Beauty Peak. You can click on the pins below to save this trip report for later.