Hiking Thunderbird Ridge makes the Grouse Grind worth it

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      This week, the Grouse Grind was closed for one day for trail repairs. Most likely that meant the traffic jam on Mother Nature’s StairMaster just shifted over to the BCMC Trail. This slightly longer route offers a less-crowded alternative to the Grind.

      For serious hikers, either way is a means to get up to the ski area. The best hiking lies beyond Grouse Mountain in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

      Goat Mountain and Crown Mountain both make for satisfying destinations. But one closer at hand—and especially worth considering in light of this year’s late snow—is Thunderbird Ridge.

      To reach the trailhead for this hike, you walk up the road to the left of the Lower Peak ski run. From the hiker registration board, the trail rises as it heads to Dam Mountain. After a half kilometre, the trail splits. Left goes to Dam’s summit, but you go right, following the trail across the mountain’s east side.

      Another half kilometre later, you strike off to the right, descending eastward to Thunderbird Ridge. You then gain some of that height back as you close in on the rocky summit, 0.7 kilometres from the main trail.

      Here are fine views of Crown Mountain and Goat Ridge. But an even better lunch spot lies a few steps further, where you can see the wind turbine on Grouse and much more.

      When I did this hike two weeks ago, the route was almost entirely snow-covered. From the trailhead, the 3.4-kilometre round trip took 2.5 hours, including a leisurely lunch on the ridge.

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