Elevation gain: 1280m
1h drive from Vancouver
The Lions are two iconic peaks seen from almost everywhere in the city. It is a strenuous hike but the view on Howe Sound and on Vancouver at the top is while worth the effort. There is limited parking on Sunset Drive (Lions Bay) so make sure you have an early start in the morning. We got there by 8:20am on a Saturday morning and we took the last parking spot. If you can’t park at the trailhead, you will have to drive back down the road and park in the overflow parking (a.k.a. the school parking) which is 1km away. This will add an extra 2km to this already long hike.. AND the school is all the way downhill from the trailhead.
The trail start pass the yellow gates and opens up on a long gravel road that goes up and up. Keep your right at all the forks you will see ; you will pass the Brunswick trail turning point as well as the Mt. Harvey hike turning point. Keep right on the gravel road. Eventually the road will become more like a ‘trail’ and you will enter the forest. When you start heading downhill for a bit, you will be crossing Harvey Creek through a bridge. From there, you will start the biggest part of the ‘uphill’. The trail is quite steep all the way to the alpine.
Eventually you will hike out of the forest and have an amazing first view of the East Lion on your right. Also enjoy the view of Mount Harvey and Brunswick on the left, and the impressive valley in front of you. From there the landscape is mostly alpine, few trees and more rocky sections. There is a little bit of scrambling as you hike up to the ridge where you will cross the Howe Sound Crest trail (on your right, going to Unnecessary Mountain). Take left and keep going up the rocks all the way to the end of the trail. On a clear day, you will be able to see all the way to Mt. Baker, as well as Garibaldi Park (Diamond Head and Black Tusk in the background). You will now you reached the end of the ”marked trail” once you get to a massive drop in the rocks followed by the scramble of the East peak. We didn’t risk going up the peaks as it is an exposed scrambling and none of us felt like it that day. Maybe when it’s not 30C and I didn’t need to drink 4L of water to survive the heat… I may try 🙂
Going down the same way you came up. The way down is almost as long as the way up – depending how comfortable you are with your knees and heading down the steep trail in the forest. Once you hit the long logging road you know the parking lot arrives eventually – but it does seems like a long time before you finally see the gates!