Vancouver Walks – Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls

Vancouver Walks – Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls

I’d like to tell you all about another gorgeous trail near Vancouver. The Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls trail is in Lynn Valley, close to Vancouver. We walked on a rainy, misty day, so the whole forest looked haunted and atmospheric! It’d probably be lovely on a hot day too. Especially if you take swimwear! The walk involves a hike out to an impressively large cedar tree, then on to Kennedy falls, which is gorgeous! This hike is very easy to get to on public transport. We just took the 210 bus the whole way up to the mountain and start of the trail.

Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls trail map

Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls – the basics

Distance: 9km
Elevation Gain:
4-5 hours
What to bring: This trail is best with good (waterproof) hiking boots and I found my hiking poles useful
Don’t forget the 10 essentials
Facilities: Not much 
How hard is it:
Intermediate. There is not much elevation gain, but the roots can be very slippery and you have to be careful not to lose your way!

Smoke vs Rain

I haven’t mentioned this much in my blog, but BC is having a horrendous time with forest fires this summer. We had several weeks when Vancouver was worse than London as the air filled up with smoke and made it hard to breathe. Some days were so smokey that I didn’t feel safe cycling to work as my asthma felt all horrible. We are a looong way away from the fires, so I can only imagine how much worse this must be for people in the interior of BC. It has made me re-appreciate how clean the air is here normally.

We avoided walking on one of the smokey weekends. However the following week was the first rain of the month. Suddenly the air was clear again! So, of course we decided to ignore the rain and go for a walk somewhere where it didn’t matter if we couldn’t see the view.

I found this trail out to Big Cypress and Kennedy Falls. We thought it might be rainy, but I didn’t expect it to look like an epic haunted wood! The mist was back-lit by the sun and somehow it made the trees resemble some sort of horror movie. I love how creepy it looked.

Big Cedar trail

The first part of the walk is very easy to follow along the Big Cedar trail. There are wide, easy to follow walkways with quite a few mountain bikers zooming along. A couple of times you need to clamber over stepping stones to cross rivers. One section was slightly steeper, but luckily there were strong roots and some rope, that made an excellent ladder.

How long will it take

The walk was meant to take 6 hours according to the sign on a tree. But even not going particularly quickly, it was only about 4 hours both ways. It took us about an hour to walk up to the first sight – the amaaaazing big cedar. It rained on us the whole way, so we were pretty soggy by the time we made it to the tree. The big cedar is 600 years old, and dwarfs the rest of the trees in the forest. Look how massive that trunk is!

Faces of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains

Once we’d made it past the big cedar, we continued on the path to Kennedy falls. The trail is a little harder to follow in this section BUT every so often we found trees with faces! Most of them were happy, but we did find one very sad one in the rain.

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Kennedy falls

About an hour after the big cedar, we started to hear the roar of Kennedy falls. Long before we could see the white rushing waters, we could hear all the water bubbling down the mountain. Once we made it close enough, we could see why! Kennedy falls is GORGEOUS! Even in the rain.

It was pretty enough for a jumping photo!

The water rushes down a cliff for quite a long way, but the best place to see it is from a ledge to the left of the waterfall.

We stopped for a while and ate some lunch. The rain sort of stopped, but we couldn’t help being wet as there was also mist churned up by Kennedy Falls.

Vancouver Rainforest Views

The rain stopped completely on our walk back, so I had a chance to document some of the amazing trees, fungi, moss and mold! Most of the forest is new growth, but there are so many MASSIVE old stumps left from the logging over the last few hundred years. Most of them were chopped down so long ago that they have a few new trees growing out of the stumps! If not, they’ve been chewed by animals, or partly weathered away.

We had another good look at the big cedar on the way back. It looks even nicer when you don’t have rain on your face as you stare upwards.

I thought the walk was almost over, but the forest had more prettiness to throw at us. The mist came down again, but this time the sun was strong enough to peek through and make the whole forest sparkle!

How lovely are all these sun-rays!?

I had to stop for a while to take a gazillion photos.

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Then, the mist cleared just enough for us to enjoy a sun-filled walk through the forest on our way back to the trail head.

We had to rush down the hill to reach the bus in time to catch the 210 back into Vancouver.

It turned out to be a perfect, non-smokey, afternoon in the city. Nice eh!?

Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls

27 thoughts on “Vancouver Walks – Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls

  1. Really enjoying your Vancouver walks. Great pics – love the ones with the silver sun rays filtering through the looming trees – very atmospheric.

  2. Wow, gorgeous photography. I’ve only been to Vancouver a couple of times, but have always enjoyed seeing the scenic ocean and harbor views as well as the huge trees. We’ll have to check out some of the hikes and trails next time we’re out that way.
    – Christine

    1. Thanks Hanna!
      It did turn out to be an amazing day. We stopped off for cat toys on the way home so had to cross the bridge with all those pretty views! So the last photo is all down to Monty the cat!

  3. The pictures with the sun rays peaking through were just beautiful! They made the woods look like a magical place. One you see in movies, or imagine when you are reading a great book. Thanks for sharing another great journey!

    1. That is how it seemed in real life too! I ended up walking along singing the tune for the X-files as it seemed to match the atmosphere perfectly!

  4. How’d I miss this one?! I can’t get enough of those pictures of the trees and mist! SO, SO, SO gorgeous!! Have you ever thought of selling your photography?! I’d buy one of those in a heartbeat! Speaking of hearts, you are giving me a heart attack with that jumping on the wet (and probably slick) ground next to the waterfall! Be careful!!

    1. Aww Katie thank you!

      Both for worrying about my slippy jump (don’t worry! It wasn’t too bad and I had super-grippy walking boots) and for liking the photos!

      I didn’t really consider selling prints of my photos but I might look into it if I can find enough good’uns. 😀

  5. The wildfires in BC and Alberta in the last few years have been heartbreaking and terrifying. It’s been a year and half since the fire started in Fort Mac and they are just barely rebuilding. I’m so glad that Vancouver is safe and that you are still able to escape the smoke!! The falls are gorgeous, and there is something every and haunting about the forest (and pretty much everything on the west coast haha)!

    1. It really was a terrible year for fires wasn’t it. Even in September when we flew over central Canada, we could see the smoke over the forests. Poor people and animals and plants that lived there. 🙁

  6. How how do you take the transit here? where did you catch 210 bus and where did you get off? 🙂

    Nice blog!

    1. Thanks Lena!

      The bus broke down for us, so we walked an extra kilometer up the road…but we *meant* to get off at “EB McNair Dr NS Ramsay Rd” 🙂

  7. Lovely, lovely! Another one to add to my list of hikes. I remember when I was on Vancouver Island last August and a seeing the red sun as we looked over at the mainland filled with smoke. So scary!

    1. Yeah, it was really bad last year, but goodness, imagine how much worse it was for everyone inland? I don’t want to even think about camping with a fire if that is the possible result!!

      You would love this walk though! 😀

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