I’ve already written once about hiking along the Dog Mountain trail in summer (well… autumn!) But it turns out Dog mountain is even better in the snow! The snow evens out the trail, so once you have snowshoes, this is an easy, fun hike that will give you some stunning views on a good day.
We managed the whole Dog Mountain trail in less than 2 hours. So, as we had time we also explored some of the other pretty snowshoe trails on Mount Seymour.
Distance: 4.5 km
Elevation gain: Minimal (there are a couple of steep sections, but you really don’t go up much!)
Highest point: 1054 m
Time: About 45 minutes each way
What to bring: You need waterproof walking boots to wear under your snowshoes. I like to wear ski-pants (in case there are good moments to slide on my bottom.) It’s always a good idea to bring some snacks (apple or chocolate, or whatever you fancy) to enjoy at the viewpoint. Read through the 10 essentials.
Can you do it? This is an easy trail that finishes with a really gorgeous view, so YES!
How to get to Dog Mountain:
The Dog Mountain trail is one of the many snowshoeing possibilities on Mount Seymour. If you have a car it’s easy to get up here, just drive up and park in the snowshoeing area (a little below the car park for skiers.) We took the shuttle bus up. It costs $15. You don’t pay on the way up, so just buy a ticket at the top to make it back into Vancouver.
How to find the Dog Mountain Trailhead:
The start of the walk is at the bottom of Mount Seymour’s main ski slope to the left (if you are facing North towards Mount Seymour.) Take the path towards first pump peak on the Mount Seymour trail and you’ll see a second trail heading left into the trees. When we were there, there was an obvious sign pointing towards Dog Mountain.
Dog Mountain would be a pretty good place even for your first attempt at snowshoeing.
You can hire snowshoes from a hut on the edge of the car park. The cost is $27, but that also includes your pass into the Mount Seymour snowshoe area. Unlike snowshoeing on Cypress Mountain, they don’t mind if you want to go outside the park boundries to wander up Dog Mountain or to First Pump Peak on Mount Seymour. Once you’ve hired snowshoes, just strap them on over your walking boots and get going.
The Dog Mountain Trail
Once you find the path it is really easy to follow, with plenty of other walkers. This isn’t a trail where you need to be worried about being stranded in the wilderness on your own!! That actually makes it quite fun. You will definitely meet other people, an plenty of dogs along the route. We saw people of all ages from grannies to toddlers and young-ish children.
We arrived in the morning after a big snowfall so the trees were completely covered in snow. It was quite sunny, so the snow kept falling from the treetops in large clumps. Marc was hit in the head with a falling block of ice at one point, but mostly the snow fell in mini snowstorms under the trees.
After about a kilometer you get to First Lake. Or, at least, you would get to First Lake in the summertime! In winter you arrive at a large open field covered in fluffy snow! We saw quite a few people wandering out to make snow angels in the unspoiled snow powder in the middle of the lake. I wouldn’t want to try that in the spring time. But it looked fun with this much snow and ice!
You can tell when you are getting close to the viewpoint as more sun starts to stream through the trees ahead of you. Soon after that, you will be treated to these gorgeous views from Dog Mountain’s summit. It is a fantastic place to relax for a while and people watch. There weren’t quite as many people as our summer walk, but there must have been over 20 people enjoying this view with us.
There is also a friendly raven who always seems to be here watching the views and hoping for handouts.
The view in the other direction, towards the North Shore Mountains is even better! The only problem is those clouds were hiding the shapes of the surrounding mountains so it is hard to tell which is which! We should have had a brilliant view of the Needles, Coliseum Mountain and Cathedral Mountain. Those pretty, fluffy clouds made it hard to work out which is which though!
You can sort of see, as soon as we arrived more grey clouds came in. The cold had killed off my camera battery, so all of these photos are with the camera on my phone. I did try to take some photos in the direction of the moody grey clouds, but none of them came out well, so you’ll just have to imagine those epic, moody views!
On our return journey we decided to do some extra walking, so once we made it back to First lake, we took a path to the left towards Dinky Peak. For some reason, the path to Dinky Peak was completely deserted. Most people stay on the Dog Mountain trail, so even this slight detour was completely empty. It was actually pretty romantic to explore this quiet trail.
One thing I really love about snowshoeing is being close enough to get a good look at all the snow-covered trees. We noticed that lots of the smaller trees have so much snow that they start to curl over under all the extra weight. Those curled trees end up having a large surface area for snow to fall on, so they get more and more covered until they resemble a snow-bump more than a tree! We found one where the top of the tree was poking out, so we made it into a snow-blob man. He’s pretty cute!
Mount Seymour Snowshoe Trails
We had decided to head down from the mountain on the shuttle bus at 1:15pm. But as the Dog Mountain trail was quite small (even with a Dinky Peak detour), we still had an hour to spare. So, we decided to explore the snowshoe trails located within the Mount Seymour resort. The start of these trails are located between the rookie run and the mystery peak express gondola.
The first part of the trail goes down along the rookie run where we first learned to ski back in December. It was a bit of a surprise to see the place where we first learnt to ski! I mean, since our first weekend on Mount Seymour, all of my ski-practice has been on Cypress Mountain or in Whistler. I remember Mount Seymour as being slightly terrifying and dotted with trees that acted as some sort of Josy-magnet! This time I could see the ski run with new eyes. It looked pretty easy! Look at that photo to the left. It hardly looks like a hill at all! I guess this means I must have improved at skiing, even if I still feel like a total novice. That was a pleasant surprise!
Time for contemplation
If you fancy some really quiet snowshoeing, it turns out that the trails within the boundaries of Seymour Mountain’s resort are perfect. We hardly saw anyone else as we walked through the well maintained trails. I guess lots of people have their own snowshoes, so prefer to walk along the free trail on Dog Mountain. If you’re hiring snowshoes on Mount Seymour, you’ve paid for the pass anyway, so it really is worth exploring their trails!
When we learnt to ski on Seymour Mountain, we didn’t actually see any scenery at all, so I’d like to finish with a view of the slopes. This was our view just before we hopped onto the shuttle bus. I’d quite like to come back and ski here on a clear day as it did look pretty fun!
I really love Marc, but when I got home I found my snow selfie with him in the background. How do I fancy someone that has this good a selfie-face!?
Other snowshoeing adventures near Vancouver:
If you liked the sound of this Dog Mountain trail mini snowshoe adventure, then you might like reading about some others:
- Brandywine falls – a frozen waterfall near Whistler
- Grouse Mountain Light walk – the easiest trail on Grouse
- Snowshoe Grind on Grouse Mountain – A slightly harder walk with with some epic mountain views
- Our New Year adventure on Hollyburn Mountain (where we broke ourselves sliding down on our bums!)
Other snow-y walks near Vancouver
- Quarry Rock Hike – a gooorgeous (and easy) hike in Deep Cove. You finish this walk with honey doughnuts.
- Whyte Lake Trail – a pretty walk in West Vancouver
- Mount Seymour’s First Peak – My first ever mountain hike in Vancouver was in the snow!
- Last (but not least) you can see Monty the cat’s reaction to Canadian snow.
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