If you’d like a fun mini adventure to find the best waterfalls near Vancouver, then you should go and take a peek at Cypress Falls Park in West Vancouver. The first waterfall is less than 10 minutes walk from the car park, so this could be good for walkers as well as non-walkers, grannies and toddlers.
This time of year is always pretty soggy, but this winter has also been warmer than normal. That means lost of the snow-pack on the North Shore Mountains has started to melt, creating fantastic bonus waterfalls in addition to the Upper and Lower falls. We found at least six other good ones.
Cypress Falls – the basics
Elevation Gain: 120m
High Point: 305m
Time: 2 hours for the whole loop
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
We brought the 10 essentials.
Facilities: I read that there is a toilet by the car park, but we couldn’t find it.
Dogs: Yes! Good dogs are allowed to be off-leash within Cypress Falls Park, but you’ll have to pop the leash on near the top once you leave the designated off-leash area.
How hard is it? Easy-ish. The paths can be confusing, so keep an eye on your map! It would be a great trail for older kids, but maybe too tough for little legs.
Cypress Falls Park – How to get there
Cypress Falls Park is one of the many pretty parks in West Vancouver. It is very easy to reach either via public transit (via the #253 bus) or if you are driving, take exit 4 from highway 99. There is a car park on Woodgreen Place which had plenty of room in winter; Although I imagine it might fill up in the summertime. Once you’ve parked, take the main trail into the woods and listen out for the first waterfall.
Cypress Falls Loop – Getting started
There aren’t many signs up in Cypress Falls Park, but you need to take the path that heads right, leading down towards the first waterfall viewing point. The last few weeks have been quite warm (and very rainy) so the waterfalls were swollen by all the extra rainwater and melting snow.
This waterfall was opposite the path, and doesn’t seem to have a name as it normally wouldn’t be quite so impressive.
Cypress Falls – Lower Falls
There are a couple of places you can view the lower Cypress Falls. The first view made it look like the water was boiling up from the rocks as there was so much mist. Higher up the trail, we could look down on the same falls from above. I took the two videos below to give an idea about how gushing and loud this waterfall is.
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We visited on the first nice (non-rainy) day in ages, and there were very few people here. Right after the waterfall, there is this bridge across the canyon. If you want to do the full loop, keep left and don’t cross it yet.
Next you need to head up into the trees. We kept getting distracted and taking detours down to the river as it looked so, so impressive. Most descriptions of this hike only mention two waterfalls, but we found quite a few extra bonus waterfalls like the one below.
Cypress Falls Park – Old Growth Trees
Our plan for the afternoon was to come and see the waterfalls. I had no idea that this park was home to something even more impressive – a whole bunch of amaaaazing old growth trees! I am not sure how these stunning trees managed to avoid the logging companies’ axes in the over the last 150 years, but I am so glad that they did!
Most of the giant trees were Douglas Fir trees, with those deep, crinkly trunks. But we found some Red Cedar trees too, like the ones above. It’s hard to understand how massive these trees are from my photos, but some of them were nearly as wide as my height!
We spent most of the time staring upwards to look at the giants. I added the photo of Marc below for scale.
You can probably get the idea from my photos. This isn’t a long walk; It’s only 1.3km to the highest point. But you can’t walk quickly as there is so much to see. We had to step over little bubbling brooks, watch our step on the slippery roots and stop to admire the old growth forest and bonus waterfalls.
Cypress Falls Lookout
The higher you walk into the forest, the fewer people you’ll meet. At one point near the top, you’ll leave Cypress Fall Park and head into private land. There is a giant board that tells you you are entering this land at your own risk. If you have any energy left, you should keep going, as the best waterfall view is yet to come!
This is our first view of the Upper Cypress Falls. From far away, it looks like a white stripe through the trees. It was actually quite hard to find the path beyond this viewpoint. We climbed up a bank to the left, and found a really good mountain bike path to follow up a teeny bit further. That path pops out on a power-line road.
Cypress Falls Lookout View
Walk a little way along the powerline road, watching out for two blue markers (they look like bright blue mushrooms.) You can follow those markers down to a fantastic up-close view of the Upper Cypress Falls.
The canyon is impressive, but the sheer volume of water is amaaazing! I’ll add another teeny video, so you can get the idea.
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Once you’ve finished being amazed by the upper waterfall, there are a few options for returning in a loop. We continued along the powerline road, then dropped down back into the forest to hike along the other side of Cypress Falls Park. Just be aware, it’s hard to navigate on this side of the canyon, so you may need to use your phone’s GPS to guide you.
I really loved this quieter side of the park. We got lost a couple of times, but it was cool to see the waterfalls from the opposite side of the canyon, and the old Growth trees continued to impress us.
After a few navigational errors, we made it back down to the bridge above the Lower Falls. If you want an easier day out, it is probably quicker to return the way you came, but we always like finding loop-trails when we can.
This was SUCH a fun winter walk. The whole area was below the snowline in February so we could explore without needing to bring snowshoes or spikes. I think it would also be a lovely area to explore on a hot summers day, as all that water vapour must act like natural air conditioning for the forest.
Other Waterfalls near Vancouver
Springtime is normally the BEST time for seeing the fabulous waterfalls near Vancouver. If you need some more ideas for chasing waterfalls, here are a few:
- Twin Falls, near the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
- Norvan Falls at the end of Lynn Valley
- Kennedy Falls below Mount Fromme in North Vancouver
- Sawblade Falls near Coquitlam – this hike actually takes you to several waterfalls.
- Shannon Falls (near Squamish) for a giant cascade down the cliffs.
- Brandywine Falls closer to Whistler, this is a truly epic waterfall (you can see it in summer on this post)
- Alexander Falls also close to Whistler
- Bridal Veil Falls near Hope -it really does look like a veil.
- Nairn Falls This one is a little further (beyond Whistler) but is seriously good to see!
Or if you’d like to visit this waterfall, click the images below to save/pin them.