The Black Mountain hike to Eagle Bluffs is a really good walk for the springtime or early summer. When we visited there was still quite a lot of snow up on the trail, but it was possible to walk with walking boots, rather than snowshoes. We saw some rocker-style hikers in fishnets and doc martin boots, who were slightly struggling! Anyway we did this hike on a lazy day, after a loooong sleep-in. The views from the top of Black Mountain are lovely, and then if you keep going down the other side of the mountain, you’ll get to see even more epic views from Eagle Bluffs.
I made a new blogging friend, Clazz, from An Orcadian Abroad. She recently moved to Vancouver and has been visiting basically every tourist site in the city. Clazz was up for an easy walk with us, so we got her involved! If you haven’t seen her blog before, look at her post about Squamish, as it’ll make you want to visit!
Black Mountain Hike to Eagle Bluffs Map
Black Mountain Hike – the basics:
Distance: 9.5 km
Elevation Gain: 310m
Highest Point: 1224m
Time: 4 hours (the 105 Hikes book said 5, but it was less than 4 for us)
What to bring: Walking boots. If there is snow, micro spikes really help. Plenty of water. In summer bring a swimsuit to swim in Cabin lake. The 10 essentials.
Facilities: There are loos at the start/end of the hike in the lodge
How hard is it: You’ll work up a sweat in a couple of places, but it is an easy walk.
We did this walk in mid-June, so there was no snow down in the car park. But it didn’t take long to see some snow on the walk up the mountain. We saw a few other groups of walkers. One group was all dressed up as if they were attending a rock concert (the aforementioned person in fishnets and doc martins!) They were really struggling to walk downhill on the ice, so I reeeally don’t recommend attempting that!
Swim in Cabin Lake
Now, I have climbed up this part of the Black Mountain hike before. Last time I came up with a large group after work. We swam in Cabin Lake at the top of the mountain. We were bitten by mozzies, but it was warm, pleasant water to swim in. This time the water didn’t look quite so inviting!
Black Mountain South Peak
After chilling at the lake, we kept going to the top of Black Mountain. There are a few trees, but you can see over the, to the surrounding North Shore prettiness.
There is a really good view of the Twin Sisters (the Lions).
While we had a break at the summit there were quite a few Eagles circling around. I guess that is why the next part of the hike is named after them!?
Down to Eagle Bluffs
The next part of the Black Mountain hike goes down-hill past quite a few iced-over lakes. The path was still very covered in snow, so we had to take it quite slowly. However this meant it was a perfect, pleasant day for a walk. The sun was hot, but when you have a slight breeze over snow, it creates a perfect hiking temperature!
This section of the walk probably gets quite muddy after the rain. So in some ways, it might even be easier when the ground is still frozen!
I really loved seeing all the tree and cloud reflections in the lakes.
The hike between Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs was less than 3 km, but as it is downhill the whole way, we were starting to worry about climbing all the way back up on our return journey. Just as we started to consider turning back, we saw an opening in the trees ahead of us…
And this is the amazing view from Eagle Bluffs. You can see Pacific Spirit Park at UBC sticking out on the left and pretty Bowen Island to the right. It was such a clear day that we also had excellent views over to the Mountains on Vancouver island.
We stopped for a very late lunch (it was after 4pm -oops!)
This really is a lovely place to relax and see the views. There were quite a few chipmunks who are cheeky little cuties who will come and beg for food. You really shouldn’t feed them. There were also a few eagles catching the breeze and flying around above us. Just, whenever took out my big zoomy camera lens, they buggered off.
Back up the hill
The walk back up to Black Mountain is uphill the whole way. But in the end, it really wasn’t too strenuous. I still found time to see new things on the trail. How amazing are these bright yellow fungi!? We also found a sign-post tree that had fallen over the winter. Hopefully someone will save the signpost so future walkers will still find their way!
Micro spike testing time:
For the first half of our walk Marc and I just struggled along with walking boots but we recently bought micro spikes, so we were both keen to try them. These stretch to fit over your walking boots, and are covered in metal spikes to make it easier to walk on ice. The difference was amazing! Seriously! Once I was wearing the micro spikes, I could walk almost normally, even downhill in the snow! It was a revelation! Clazz didn’t have any, so she was sliding about a bit more. You can do this walk without them BUT they made it sooo much easier.
The return journey takes a different loop the other side of Black Mountain. There were quite a few big piles of snow, and some more icy-lakes.
But in the end, we emerged at the top of the ski-slope on Black Mountain! This is where we learned to ski at night earlier in the year. We’d never been up this side of the mountain in the daylight, so it was really amazing to see the views!
It was icy, but there was still so much snow, it might have been worth carrying skis up to the top to get a last ski-practice in before summer!
Sliding down slopes
Photos sort of flatten out how steep this was, but I promise it felt really steep! This is the first blue run Marc and I ever tried on skis. I knew it felt steep with planks strapped onto my feet, but it was still a little scary wandering down with miro spikes!
The only really sad thing was so many people had left rubbish up here! I carried down as much as I could, but I was disgusted to see so many plastic bottles, sweet wrappers and discarded ski-passes. People can be such dicks.
I am still in awe that we can get to somewhere so amazing, within half an hour of the city! The Black Mountain hike to Eagle Bluffs is a treasure surrounded by stunning scenery. As it is only a few hours, you can easily do this walk after work, or as an early morning warm up before another adventure.
We made one more stop on the way down the mountain to look back at Van City. It’s a pretty lovely view isn’t it!?