Mount Burwell – Hikes near Vancouver

Mount Burwell – Hikes near Vancouver

Mount Burwell - an epic hike near VancouverMount Burwell is one of the most epic hikes you can do on Vancouver’s North Shore. I know that sounds like a big claim, but it is an incredibly beautiful hike, with very few people and truly spectacular views of the other North Shore Mountains. It’s also a big day out. If you park outside Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, it’ll be 34km with elevation gain of almost 1400m. We left home at 5am, and only made it back around 9:30pm(!)

Mount Burwell kicked our arses. I mean, I did have one of the best days hiking so far this year, but oh my goodness this is an exhausting day out! It’s also totally worth it if you have bundles of energy and like epic Canadian mountain views.

Mount Burwell – trail map

Mount Burwell – the basics

Distance: At least 32km (my phone thinks it was 34km)
Elevation Gain:
High Point:
Time: 12-14 hours
What to bring:
Loads of water (and a way to filter more) Marc drank 7 litres on our trip.
Hiking poles
Plenty of food
The ten essentials
You also reeeeally want to leave a hike plan with a friend for this one just in case things don’t go to plan. Leave your name and contact details at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park at the start of the hike.
There are toilets and water near the trailhead in Lynn Valley.
Not suitable for paws. You need to scramble up cliffs.
How hard is it?
Difficult. This is one of the best hikes on Vancouver’s North Shore, but it is exhausting. I found it tougher than the Lions.

Mount Burwell – Getting started

We followed the route through Lynn Valley, which is the same as the way to Coliseum Mountain. We knew it would take us a long time, so we parked outside Lynn Headwaters Regional Park (before it opened) and hiked a couple of extra kilometers to the trailhead.

Follow the signs toward Norvan Falls. It’s 8.5km along a flat-ish path before you even start the steep approach up the mountain.

Steep trail and mushrooms

I always find the first hour of ascent the hardest on this approach. The hike up from Lynn Valley is super steep, and a bit slippy. We found quite a few cool mushrooms along the trail to keep things interesting.

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Bear – Oops

Once you get a bit higher, the path turns and becomes more fun. I slipped over a couple of times, so I was watching my feet as we walked though Norvan meadows. Apparently I strode right past a massive black bear. Marc was walking a couple of minutes behind me, so he looked up and the right moment to see the bear. It was less than 5 meters from the trail, but so busy munching on berries, it was not interested in us. (Phew)

Right before you make it up to the ridge, the path gets super steep again. Save some energy for this area of beautiful, ancient hemlock trees.

Coliseum Mountain ridge

We were pretty exhausted by the time we made it up to this tarn on the ridge. Even starting super early, once we were up here we started to heat up as there is very little shade. The views are fab though!

Coliseum Mountain’s false summits

If you’d like to read a more in depth post about reaching Coliseum Mountain, you can read about the first time it turned our legs into jelly here. For this attempt, we knew that there would be several false summits, so it felt like less of a slog to get up to the beautiful natural amphitheater area, and then up to the rocky peak. I really love Coliseum Mountain for the gorgeous view of the needles, the other North Shore Mountains and the rest of Vancouver.

The views over to Goat Mountain and Crown Mountain are fantastic. If you are used to seeing these mountains from Vancouver, it’s quite a shock to see them from this direction. The cliffs of Crown Mountain are especially impressive from here.

Overheating on Coliseum Mountain

I think Marc overheated himself a little bit on the way up. We stopped for a while to eat and take in the gorgeous views. Marc found a shady spot and lay down for a bit to regain some energy.

Stop at Coliseum vs continue to Mount Burwell

Once you’ve made it up to Coliseum Mountain, you have the big decision about if you should continue on to Mount Burwell. We knew it would take 45mins – 1 hour to hike over to there, so by the time we were ready to go, we were cutting it a bit fine time-wise. In the end, we decided to go for it as we had headlamps if we got stuck in the dark on our return.

We had to hike down to the tarn in the photo below, then scramble up the ridge to the mountain on the right.

Scramble time!

There isn’t really a set path between Coliseum Mountain and Mount Burwell, so you have to scramble up some pretty impressive inclines. We got stuck at this rocky cliff in the photo below. I managed to climb up the rocks in that big crack by the trees, but it was a bit dodgy. Once I got up there, I found a better path (to the left of this photo) so Marc came up that way.

Once we’d found that faint path, the walk became much easier (and prettier!)

Isn’t this a fantastic place to walk!?

Scramble up Mount Burwell

We are not amazingly speedy at scrambling or climbing, so it took us a whole hour to hike from Coliseum Mountain over to Mount Burwell. It was hot, but beautiful the whole way. The rocky bump in the photo below is the view of Coliseum Mountain from Mount Burwell (with Mount Seymour far in the background.)

This is how happy our faces were at the top! We have wanted to do this hike since 2017, we just knew that we had to strengthen our legs first (because Coliseum was so hard the first time we visited it.) Anyway squeeee!

Views from Mount Burwell

This is what we came for! I love the view down to Palisade Lake and to Cathedral Mountain. We stayed up here and relaxed on the summit for as long as we could. There were 3 other hikers leaving as we arrived, but other than them, we had the whole mountain to ourselves. I find it slightly mad that a mountain with views this fantastic can so so quiet, when other nearby peaks will be crawling with people in the summer.

There are epic mountain views in aaaaall directions.

You can even see the Lions looking a bit different from the east. Cool eh!?

Heading home:

We dragged ourselves away from the peak and started our long walk home. First we stopped at the tarn on Coliseum for more water (we brought pills to purify it.)

Then we had to wander back up to Coliseum to drink in the views once more before the knee-breaking hike down.

The hike back is along the same route as the hike up. It took us another 5.5 hours to make our way back, so it was just starting to get dark when we reached our car. Once again we both ended up with jelly legs on the steep path back to Norvan falls. I have to admit, we were both pretty over it for the last 8 kilometers – we just wanted to make it home to sleep!

This is our final view back up to Mount Burwell. I hope you like the look of it as much as we did! We both endured a whole week of sore legs after this epic hike!

Please click on the link below to save this adventure to pinterest.

Mount Burwell - Vancouver's best North Shore Mountain Mount Burwell a beautiful (but hard) hike near Vancouver Mount Burwell - an epic hike near Vancouver

33 thoughts on “Mount Burwell – Hikes near Vancouver

    1. Lol yeah! Although bears never really want to see us. If there were no berries, it probably would have not stayed where Marc could see him!

  1. You guys are beasts! I’ve made it to Coliseum, but not beyond…I’m not sure I have it in me to do more but your gorgeous photos are tempting me. Your photo “Isn’t this a fantastic place to walk” is especially beautiful. Congrats!

    1. I bet you could manage it, you do so many epic hikes! You just have to start really early and be prepared to have sore legs for the following week. Or, there is another route if you cycle up the road towards the Seymour Dam (then leave your bike in the bushes) Most of the other hikers we met came that way.

      We’re also not super strong. All the other hikers were zooming past faster than us, so maybe they didn’t all have jelly legs by the end of the day!?

    1. There were soooo many false summits on the way up! It was okay though, we’d done this walk once before, so at least we knew not to trust our eyes when it looks like we’re almost at the top! 🙂

      If you do come hiking here, let me know!

    1. Yay! I have a feeling you will love the mountains that surround Vancouver. Just maybe don’t start with this one. It’d be a bit exhausting for a first taste of the North Shore Mountains.

  2. Ah, perfect, a hike in BC we haven’t tried out yet! Hopefully we’ll have time doing this one before leaving Canada, it looks gorgeous!

  3. Mount Burwell looks like a mammoth hike. Twelve to fourteen hours? That’s a serious day out but the scenery and views look incredible. Lucky with the bear near-miss but what an experience.

    1. Yeah it is one of the biggest hikes we have done here – I am glad it is close to home so at least it was a short drive once we made it back to the car!! 😉

      Thank you (as always) for your lovely comment Jonno!

    1. Thanks Marian. I don’t know, we’re both a little stronger, but we’re still much slower than most people on these trails!

      Still it is beautiful!

    1. Thank yooou! Yeah I am glad the bear was distracted, but I am a bit sad that I didn’t look up at the right moment to see it!

  4. Okay it seriously blows my mind how many amazing hikes there are around Vancouver. I seriously need to get back there so I can explore them!!

    1. I blows my mind too! I have three books that I am working through, so I have only just scratched the surface!

      When you come back, I’ll come along with you. 😀

  5. This looks beautiful! So worth the trip if you’re in Vancouver! I just need to remember to start early to avoid going back in the dark 🙂

  6. You always take the best hikes! This one looked intense but I would love it for the views. That’s cool you could get water from the Coliseum and use the filter to purify it.

  7. Wow Mount Burwell looks like an incredible hike! I think I’d be a little nervous to scramble up the rocks, but for those views I might go for it. Those wild mushrooms are so pretty too. Great post on conquering this hike!

  8. I’m really enjoying hearing more about your hikes. Even though sometimes they seemed a little bit difficult, but over all it is a great experience and I really enjoy how you are writting about it. Thanks for sharing helpful info, I’ll make sure to try this hike once I’m around Vancouver

  9. Love all the mushrooms you saw! And the black bear encounter is crazy but so cool – I love seeing bears in the wild (granted, if it were a Grizzly Bear I’d change my tune a bit haha) but so happy he was more interested in the berries than the both of you. Looks like a beautiful hike!

  10. I honestly had no idea how amazing Vancouver was for hiking, I always think of the city! It’s looks amazing with gorgeous views – such an exhaustive guide I’ll add this hike to many hikes I want to do in the world haha!

  11. hehehe, I had to look up the conversion for km to miles and goodness, that is a long one! It definitely looks awesome though and I’d love to do this one someday as well! Those mushrooms look really cool! I’m glad the bear wasn’t interested in you either (I keep stumbling upon your bear posts at random! 😛 ).

    1. Yeees omg this was such a long day! I still think of this as one of the toughest hikes on Vancouver’s North Shore. It is pretty amazing up there though!

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