Lynn Peak is perfect for those Vancouver days when you’re not sure if the weather is going to stay sunny or dump buckets of rain on you. Lynn Headwaters Park is truly gorgeous when the trees are surrounded by mist and when sun streams through their foliage. This just means it’ll be a pretty hike, whatever happens. It isn’t actually a single peak! I should probably call it Lynn Peaks, as there is a lookout, followed by the South peak, then the North peak.
The viewpoint near the top does have a nice view down to Burnaby and East Van, so if the clouds have parted by the time you get to the top, you’ll have an extra reward!
Lynn Peak Map
Lynn Peak – The basics:
Distance: 14 km (ish) depending on which car park you start from.
Elevation gain: 750m to the look out, 820m to the South Lynn Peak.
Highest Point: 1015m for North Lynn Peak
(999m for the South Lynn Peak and 921m for the Lynn Peak lookout)
Time: 4 – 4.5 hours
What to bring:
It’s pretty easy, but slippy in places, especially on the tree roots. Bring your walking boots at least! I was glad to have hiking sticks for the way down.
You should always aim to bring the ten essentials
There is a loo by the Rice Lake Gate, near the entrance to Lynn Headwaters Park.
Dog friendly, but you should keep your pooch on a lead, especially at the moment, as there is an aggressive bear in the area.
How hard is it?
The route is easy to follow, but the path is steep, rocky and covered in tree roots. I found it fun, but harder than I expected.
Lynn Peak – Getting started
There are quite a few possible places to park; There are car parks up the Lynn Valley Road – this is the shortest walk. We started at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, where there is a new car park close to the Rice Lake Gate (it must be reeeally new as it’s not on google maps yet!)
It’s pretty easy to reach via public transport too. Take bus #228 to Lynn Valley and get off at Dempsey and Lynn Valley Road (by the general store/cafe). From there it’s a short hop, skip and a jump into Lynn Headwaters Park.
Lynn Peak – the route
Once you’ve made it into the park, follow the signs to the Lynn Loop to start the walk. The Lynn Peak trail branches off the (also lovely) Lynn Loop. We brought along our North Shore trail map for this, but we didn’t really need it. This hike has quite a few sign posts and once you’re on the Lynn Peak trail, just keep following it to the top! In terms of route-finding, it’s very easy!
As soon as you make it onto the Lynn Peak trail, the ground becomes rocky and rooty (is that a word!?) The distance and elevation gain is similar to the neighboring mountain, the Grouse Grind. As there are no steps, you need to really watch your step!
The trees tower above you, but it is nothing like the Grind in terms of solitude! We only saw two other hikers on our way up, and we didn’t see anyone on our return!
Lynn Peak lookouts (ish)
On our map, it looked like there are three lookouts on Lynn Peak. The main one, as well as two lower lookouts on the way there. To be honest, the lower lookouts were a little disappointing. You can’t really see anything from them. However the extra light from the gap in the trees was really good for illuminating a nearby trunk that was covered in lichen, moss and gooey sap.
Amazing Old Growth trees
After the first look out, you’ll reach a grove of beeeeautiful old trees (called the enchanted forest.) This patch somehow avoided the logging that took place on the rest of the North Shore so there are some huuuuge douglas fir and cedar trees.
The Lynn Peak Lookout
Most people don’t actually go to the top of the Lynn Peaks, they stop at this viewpoint and admire Mount Seymour, Burnaby, and the Metro Vancouver area below them. It was pretty clear on Monday, so we could see out as far as the San Juan Islands in America. It’s a perfect spot to stop for lunch.
We stayed for a while listening to the birds and watching the layers of clouds change shape above us. It is a really peaceful spot!
South Lynn Peak
The hike changes quite a bit after the lookout. The path is less well maintained, so it’s narrower, soggier and has more felled trees for you to climb over. This is way more fun as it really feels like you have made it into the wilderness by this point.
The thing I liked most about the top section of this walk, was all the amazing mushrooms. We saw crazy fluffy mushrooms, bright orange mushrooms, and mushrooms that looks like noses, sniffing out from the tree trunks. I was surprised to see a small patch of black mushrooms that had a slightly purple tint. I have no idea what any of these fungi are, but it was fun to look out for them on the trail. We’re going on a wild foraging tour next month, so hopefully I can learn what some of them are.
Last year we were regularly sworn at by squirrels as we hiked all the North Shore hiking trails. However, this year, they’ve been far quieter. I was starting to worry about the sweary little dudes! This meant I was really happy to hear squirrels shouting at us on our walk up the peak. Right near the peak, there was a squirrel rushing around at the top of the trees, sending giant pine cones crashing into the undergrowth below. At first I was startled by the crashing noises (I thought it might be a bear) until we worked out what was causing the racket! I’ve never actually seen how you get the pine nuts from pine cones, so I was really glad that squirrels left some lying about!
South Lynn Peak
This was the view from the peak. It’s not impressive on its own. I’m still glad we did the extra walk from the viewpoint though as I loved the mushroom-filled pathway.
After that, we just retraced our steps and followed the Lynn Peak trail back down the mountain, past the sweary squirrels.
The elevation gain for this hike is not particularly huge. Our hike was about 820m in elevation gain from the car park to the peak and it was less than 15km. However I did find this walk harder than I expected. I even had a little jelly-legs by the end of the day. Just be aware that Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains are always going to be a tough workout!
Other gorgeous trails in Lynn Headwaters Park
In addition to Lynn Peak, there are sooo many good trails close to Lynn Peak!
- The Baden Powell trail – it will take you along the whole of the North Shore, towards Quarry Rock in one direction and Eagle Bluffs in the other.
- The Sea to Sky Trail through Lynn Canyon Park (it finishes at the start of this trail!)
- The Lynn Loop is a pleasant, easy 5km hike
- If you want to walk a little further, head to Norovan Falls. This is best in Spring.
- If you reeeally want to stretch your legs, start early, and challenge yourself with the epic Coliseum Mountain.
- Slightly further west, you can visit the Big Cedar and Kennedy Falls.
- We also did a Wild mushroom foraging tour in Lynn Headwaters Park