Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park (map)
Description: Dog Mountain is the best introductory snowshoe in the Vancouver area. Suitable for all ability levels, it’s a great trail to take friends and family who have no snowshoeing experience. The trail is a series of gentle ups and downs ending at the Dog Mountain viewpoint which overlooks all of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Howe Sound.
Like Hollyburn Mountain at Cypress, Dog Mountain is a free trail to snowshoe. It starts at the Mount Seymour Ski Resort parking lot, but is separate from the paid trails. That said, you can still use the ski resort lodge, which is an ideal spot to rest, warmup, and eat after your snowshoe. You can also rent snowshoes if you need an extra pair.
The Dog Mountain trail starts at the far, west end of the ski resort parking lot and heads away from the ski runs. The half way point is First Lake, a great spot to stop for a rest. The trail is popular with families, dog walkers (how apropos), and snowshoe runners. It’s well marked, often well-packed, and easy to follow. I always think it’s a “flat” trail, but there are a few ups and downs that will give less fit hikers a challenge and provide good crazy carpet runs on your return hike. Although the trail is pretty safe, you should always check the avalanche risk before you start your hike.
Here’s my GPS map of the hike, including the walk from the parking lot, plus an elevation chart. More detailed trail description can be found here and here. If you’re looking for a longer, more strenuous hike, you can follow the Mount Seymour Trail up to the peak.
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
To Dog Mountain: 1 hour (First Lake is the halfway point)
Break at the Viewpoint: 30 minutes
Return Snowshoe: 1 hour
Transportation: There is a $6 Seymour Shuttle that will take you to the top of Mount Seymour from Lonsdale Quay or Parkgate Village. If you drive, make sure you check the road conditions (sometimes winter tires or chains are required). Directions from Google Maps.
Parking Update: In the winter, parking is free but controlled by the ski resort, which has recently limited access to backcountry users. Backountry users are asked to park along the road (P5) or at the group campground (P1), which is 1500 meters down the road from the trail head. The extra hike isn’t a big deal, as along as you budget the time. A bigger problem is the parking lots often fill up on nice weekend mornings. Check the Mt_Seymour Twitter feed for road and parking lot updates. On Saturday morning at 10:45 AM they tweeted “Backcountry Parking Lots 1 & 5 are full. Backcountry users can use our shuttle bus from Parkgate Community Centre.” But by 1:00 PM people had started to leave and there was lots of room in the parking lots.