I have one more easy, fun possible place for snowshoeing for beginners on Vancouver’s North Shore; Try visiting Bowen Lookout in the snow. This is not a long trail; It took us less than 2 hours. But the views down to Howe Sound are beautiful, especially if you visit to watch the sunset. If you want to give snowshoeing a try, this is a great trail to get you started. It never gets very steep and it goes through simple terrain (so it’s not too dangerous in terms of possible avalanches.) We did this winter hike on my birthday after snowshoeing up Black Mountain. It’s very easy to combine the two walks.
If you fancy a snowshoe trail that is a bit more of a challenge, have a look at my post about snowshoeing on Vancouver’s local mountains for some alternative adventures.
Bowen Lookout Snowshoeing Map
Bowen Lookout Snowshoeing – the basics
Distance: 4.3 km
Elevation gain: 150 m
Highest Point: 1040m
Time: 1.5-2 hours
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
There is a loo, cafe, restaurant and a shop at Cypress Lodge
Dogs: Yes (on a leash)
Parking: The resort has started to charge for parking in most areas. You can only park in lot 3B for free. This is a slightly longer walk to the trailhead.
Transit: In winter you can take the shuttle up to Cypress Mountain.
How hard is it? Easy – It’ll get your heart pumping on the switchbacks, but the path is well marked and it’s not very long.
Extra info: You need to go to Blackcomb Lodge to pick up a (free) back country pass before you get started.
Snowshoeing to Bowen Lookout – Getting Started
Head to Cypress Mountain Resort. The start of this trail is next to the Eagle Express Ski Lift. In 2021 Cypress Resort is using covid-19 as an excuse to start charging for parking. If you want to avoid the extra parking fees, you can park at lot 3B. After that, you need to visit Blackcomb Lodge. Just inside the door you can pick up a free back country pass that will allow you to cross the ski slopes at the base of the mountain without paying.
The trail starts off pretty flat as it heads over to Yew Lake. There are great views up to Black Mountain from across the open areas. In December streams alongside the path and parts of the lake were not yet frozen, so be sure to stick to the path.
Just be careful not to miss the turnoff at the end of the Yew Lake Loop to continue on to Bowen Lookout. You walk through a stand of gorgeous (and massive) old growth trees.
The next part of the trail is the part that will get your heart pumping. There are a short series of switchbacks that will take you up around 100m (over half a kilometer.) If you decide to do this hike as the sun is setting you’ll hike up into trees bathed in golden light as you get higher. It is really pretty.
Once you arrive at the lookout, you’ll see even the fabulous views through the trees.
How busy is the trail to the Bowen Lookout
This trail is easy as well as beautiful, so you can’t really expect to have it to yourself. We went at sunset on a Friday in December and there were around 20 other hikers enjoying the view. My photos might make it seem calm, but there were quite a few people around. There is just enough space to maintain social distance.
Bowen Lookout – Heading home
We started to head back once the sun had sunk below the horizon. To get back, you can either follow the trail as you came up, or you can take a slightly shorter route if you turn left once you get back to the Yew Lake Loop.
Just make sure you bring a headlamp. It’ll help you get back even once the trail is dark. Even if you are not planning to hike for sunset, you should bring a headlamp in winter. It is one of the 10 Essentials, and you never know when something might go wrong. Having a light is one of the best ways to ensure you can get home.
This was SUCH a fun little adventure! I love that you can manage a walk to Bowen Lookout even if you only have a couple of hours to spare. It’s a fabulous place to watch the sunset and it’s great that anyone can manage it. If you’d like to see other snowshoeing possibilities, see my epic post listing all the snowshoe trails on Vancouver’s North Shore.