Snowshoeing for Beginners – Brandywine Falls

Snowshoeing for Beginners – Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls - Snowshoeing for BeginnersHiking is incredibly fun in Vancouver, but I have been really keen to try the winter version, snowshoeing. Today, I finally had my chance! Marc, Tegan and I took a mini detour on our way home from Whistler to try snowshoeing. I had googled quite a few possibilities and had found an easy-sounding, pretty place to explore called Brandywine Falls provincial park. This is only 15 minutes drive south from Whistler, so it’s an easy stop-off on the way home.

Before we moved here, I imagined snowshoeing was something people did only out of necessity. I thought snowshoes were huge wooden frames like tennis rackets. I also thought they would be clunky and difficult to use. However it turns out that snowshoes have moved on quite a lot from the tennis-racket-style! Nowadays they are lightweight and pretty easy to walk in. So, strapping them to your feet and wandering through pretty scenery is both REALLY fun, and not too difficult.

Tegan had three(!) pairs of snowshoes, so we could all walk together. I took a picture of mine, so if you’ve never tried them, you can see what to expect. You need to wear warm socks and waterproof walking boots. They you just strap your boots into the snowshoes. The back part springs up, and the yellow section stays on the snow and helps distribute your weight over a wider area.

The Brandywine Falls are a short walk (less than 500m) from the Sea to Sky Highway. In winter, the gate to the Brandywine Falls provincial park is closed, and there is a huge pile of snow built-up in front of the gate. BUT there is a space in front of the gate which is kept clear, so you can park just in front of the gate, and climb the snow-mound to enter the park.

The hike starts by crossing a river on a pretty bridge. It then follows a wide, easy-to-follow path through the forest. There were a few tracks from other people in snowshoes, but we only saw a few other people on the walk. It was really peaceful. You could probably just about manage this walk with hiking boots rather than snowshoes, but your feet would end up pretty chilly.

There was a lovely, deep layer of fluffy, powdery snow for us to crunch through. The shoes allow you to walk/float over the snow. You sink in a teeny bit, but not too much to make walking difficult. The path through Brandywine Falls provincial park is flat so it was the perfect place for a first snowshoeing expedition.

I loved seeing the rocky boulders covered in snow. It looks a little bit like there is group of Doctor Who’s weeping angels hiding under fluffy, white blankets. Okay…maybe that was just me.

At one point you have to cross a train line.

We didn’t see any sign of any trains while we were on the tracks, but Marc saw a train with a snow plough later once we were back on the Sea to Sky highway. I thought the train track looks lovely and calm in the snow.

The next amazing view was the Brandywine Falls themselves. The canyon around the falls amplifies the sound so the roar of the water sounded amazing after the quiet of the snow-filled forest. It was gorgeous!

I also really loved the cliff full of icicles next to the Brandywine Falls.

One side of the cliffs was filled with frost-covered plants, while the trees on our side were piled up with snow. It makes it looks like all my photos are in black and white.

I really like the way that the ice near the bottom of Brandywine Falls takes on a aquamarine blue colour. It is actually pretty subtle in real life, but my camera picked it up really well.

As always, I may have taken too many photos…

We kept going slightly further than the Brandywine Falls as there was a sign saying there’d be a good view of the canyon.

A short walk later, we were rewarded with beautiful views looking back towards Whistler. Isn’t this perfect!?

Here is my perfect panorama. Just click on any of these photos if you’d like to see more details.

Then, I stopped for one more panorama of the Brandywine Falls on our way back to the car.

I tried to take a photo with my snowshoes in the air, to show you all how they work. However, I don’t recommend this! I nearly lost my balance and fell over taking the photo below. But, at least you can see how the yellow part flaps to allow your heel to move easily.

So, that was my first snowshoeing adventure through the lovely (and easy-to-explore) Brandywine Falls provincial park. It really was the perfect place to give us a taste of snowshoeing in a safe, easy environment. Now I am really keen to go out and try some more showy walks!

Have you ever tried snowshoeing? Would you be up for it now I’ve told you how fun it is?

If you like the look of this, you might also like the Lava Lake Loop to Brandywine Falls in the summer.

43 thoughts on “Snowshoeing for Beginners – Brandywine Falls

  1. I would love to try snowshoeing! Here in Minnesota it’s very important to make friends with winter. I bought skate skis a few years ago and have just about got the hang of it. But, snowshoeing seems like a more versatile alternative when just getting out for a hike is a good thing to do.
    I love the “blankets” of snow and all the pretty pictures. Never too many pictures.
    Thanks, Josy!

    1. Oooh I had to google skate skis – is that like cross country skiing?

      Snowshoeing seems really fun so far, but I think you have to be careful to choose routes that are not too hilly as snowshoes could be really dangerous if you slip on steep slopes or ice. I guess skate skis would be better on hills?

      Minnesota sounds a bit colder than Vancouver…we have to head into the mountains for the real winter weather, The city didn’t get very cold yet but it is very wet, so heading to the snowy mountains makes the world far more pretty!

  2. Beautiful pictures. I think it makes winter more bearable if you have an activity to look forward to – especially if snow is involved and you are in Canada! Thinking there might be more snowshoe trips in your future!

    1. YES!! I loved the summer here, and I normally get cold (and a little sad) in winter. Trying some of these winter sports makes the fun part of the year a whole lot longer!!

      I am hoping for lots more snow trips in 2018!

  3. That area is beautiful. I actually used snow shoes before hunting in winter. Sometimes they are good to have if you kive where it snows a lot.

    1. Woah! Now you go hunting in winter? That must get very cold if you have a stay still!! It doesn’t snow much here in the city, but as long as you have snow tyres you can easily drive out to snowy areas.

  4. I have to admit when I saw the word ‘snowshoe’ I pictured the whole tennis racket looking thing- but the ones you used look pretty cool.

    Also, the pictures you took were absolutely beautiful. And I kind of see the weeping angels! (My husband is obsessed with Dr Who)

    I have to find a place that does this!

    1. There are lots of places near Vancouver that will rent out the snowshoes so if you ever come here you can give it a try! I think we’ll rent them a few times if we don’t have Tegan and her extra shoes!

  5. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try snowshoeing! I always imagined wooden tennis rackets too 😂😂. As usual, your photos are just gorgeous!! That looked like a perfect winter wonderland ❤️⛄️❄️

    1. Lol I am really glad that I am not the only one that thought it’d be massive tennis shoes!
      You should totally come up and visit in winter – if not this year, then next year! 😀

      The thing with snowshoeing is you are meant to choose quite flat routes as they can be dangerous on ice or steep hills. So you get pretty views, but it’s not too exhausting if you’re not climbing up hills.

  6. I would love to try snowshoeing! I love being out in nature and it’s always so pretty in the winter, but the cold does deter me. Your photos are awesome by the way! The snow was so pretty! 🙂

    1. We wore similar clothes to skiing (with lots of layers) so it wasn’t too cold. Although, the wind was pretty biting on our faces the way back!

      You should totally come and try it! 😀

  7. See, snow shoes is probably what everyone thinks they look like: tennis rackets. Yours are super modern. I was in NYC once on business but still made time for Central Park. It was just after a major winter storm had hit. That was the first time I saw snow shoes-old school. This New Yorker not only had snow shoes on that looked like rackets but she was using ski staffs (sorry, never skied in my life so I don’t know what they are called. They are the things you hold while sking.). Anyway, my sons are out playing in the snow as I type this and they need these things for sure!!!

    1. Oooh it must be strange to see snow shoes in NYC! Inside the city I would have thought people would use those spikes over their shoes instead!!

      I wonder if those tennis racket style ones are as clumsy to use as they look!?

  8. Looks like so so so much fun! Haha I too had the same silly misconception. Those ones look very fancy and advanced! Do you think you guys will invest in buying a pair? During the winter I mostly just want to hibernate until the snow and ice thaws.

    1. I might. They are quite pricey (like over $200 for good ones.) So I will probably hire them a few times to make sure I love it before I spend the money!

      Hopefully I can buy some second hand, to save resources AND money. 🙂

  9. We have great snow right now and I have some terrific snow shoes, but the temps are too low for me to get out. We are -18 today and no reprieve in sight for the next week or so. When it warms up I’m going to strap on those shoes and get some fresh air and exercise in the the snow! Nice photos, Josy.

    1. Oh my goodness! -18!? Eep! That sounds way too cold for me too! It got to -12 in Whistler, which was okay when we were all bundled up, but my face still felt chilly.

  10. I love this post. I was tempted last time I hit the snow to do this and tried to book a full moon walk but the timing was off. This has made me determined now to experience it. Thanks and Happy New Year to you may you have many more walks and Larks as I love reading about them.

    1. Thank you sooo much! Your comment has made my evening! I hope you do get to give snowshoes a try. As long as you wrap up warm it is sooo fun!

  11. As I looked through your pictures I could have sworn that you were here on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. I love snowshoeing, and if you ever travel here in the winter, I’d love to meet up for some snowshoeing. Happy New Year, Josy!

  12. Wow – incredibly gorgeous photos. I’ve never tried snow shoeing but it sure looks like fun. I’ll bet it gives you a workout too.

    Stay warm and dry up there in the Great White North! Happy new year!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  13. Once again, you’re making me jealous with all the fun you’re having (and the photography is great as well). I only wish the snow on my driveway could look like that and not have to be shoveled.

    1. Lol We did one more snowshoeing adventure…but I broke myself (well, my thumb) while I was sliding down the mountain on a bin bag!! I’ll get around to writing about it when it hurts less!!

    1. I sometimes get sad in the winter when I don’t have enough vitamin D…so I find the best way to fix it is to go and out find some winter prettiness. I hope you can find some pretty places to explore near you too!!

      (We did the same thing in London, but it was a different, less snowy kind of pretty…)

    1. It’s funny to think there is an icy wonderland so close to the city! Especially on days like today when the city is wet, but not really cold!

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