Fisherman’s Trail smells like dog shit, but it sure beats watching Elektra

Every hike can’t be as superlative as Black Tusk, Three Brothers Mountain, or the Stawamus Chief. Sometimes, you just need an easy outing to tide you over on a rainy winter day, when higher-elevation trails are snowed under and require more effort than you’re looking for.

The Fisherman’s Trail in North Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is one of those hikes. You can walk the whole thing in around 4.5 hours, following the Seymour River to the Mid Valley lookout and back to the trailhead. And it even has a Hollywood movie tie-in.

To get there by car from Vancouver, drive the Trans-Canada Highway over the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing and take the exit for Mount Seymour Parkway. Right after the parkway heads over the Seymour River, you turn left on Riverside Drive, and follow this road to its end. Parking right by the trailhead is limited to residents during the peak hiking season, but not during the winter months.

From the trailhead, you head north on the Fisherman’s Trail to the Twin Bridges, ignoring paths striking off to the right. To the left of the multi-use gravel road are views through the trees of the sheer walls of Seymour Canyon. At the Twin Bridges, your route crosses over to the west bank of the river.

The lower portion of the Fisherman’s Trail is popular with dog walkers and trail runners, and, therefore, tainted by the not-so-sweet scent of dog poop. But you press on, following the wide trail as it heads upstream, passing an old water-pipeline tunnel and a fisheries-enhancement project, before coming, thankfully, to a “no dogs beyond this point” sign at the junction with the Homestead Trail.

From here on, the Fisherman’s Trail is less peopled and less stinky, with perhaps only the occasional mountain biker or trail runner to break your solitude. There’s a long bit of boardwalk and a pleasant grove of evergreens. Last weekend, much of the upper trail was covered by puddles or slushy snow. Finally, the path crosses the road to the Spur 4 Bridge and climbs to the Mid Valley lookout by the Seymour Mainline.

With a picnic shelter and two tables, the grassy lookout affords views up and down the Seymour Valley. However, on a wet, cloudy day, two signs in the shelter may have to suffice for entertainment. The larger board informs visitors that the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve hosts over 50 film and television productions every year. Three of the examples provided are Jumanji, MacGyver, and The X-Files. Above this board hangs a sign proclaiming that the shelter was “generously” donated by the production of Elektra, the 2005 movie starring Jennifer Garner.

When you’re done chuckling about the conservation reserve’s cinematic history, retrace your steps to the Riverside Drive trailhead. Along the way, you could very well see some catch-and-release fishers and, by the entrance, even some whitewater kayakers fresh from running the Seymour Canyon.

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