For some, the cloudy days of fall may signal that it's time to put away the hiking boots.
Not so fast. Lace 'em up and head to Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver. Autumn is the ideal season to pay a visit to this North Shore park's pleasant forest and lakes.
This October, I've done two rewarding circuits up there—one on Hollyburn Mountain and the other on Black Mountain.
Starting at the nordic-ski-area parking lot, the Hollyburn hike started on the Burfield Trail and followed cross-country ski runs and foot trails to First, West, Blue Gentian, and Lost lakes. The pretty wildflower that gives Blue Gentian Lake its name was in bloom, and large specimens of fungi were seen in the foggy woods.
On the return, a stroll through the mountain's rustic cabin country led back to First Lake and the historic Hollyburn ski lodge. Total time? Just 3.5 hours.
The Black Mountain trip began at the parking lot for the alpine ski area, and followed the Baden-Powell Trail steeply up to a fork. Going right, we stopped by the Yew Lake Lookout and Cabin Lake before heading to the summit.
On the other side of the mountaintop, our path rejoined the B-P Trail, going by several lakes on the way to Eagle Bluff. From this stunning vantage point, one can look down on the city and Bowen Island, and over to Mount Baker.
On the way back, a short side trip on the rough trail to Donut Rock was a worthy diversion. Back on the B-P Trail, we bypassed the Black Mountain summit and took in Theagill Lake before descending to the trailhead. The whole hike involved a satisfying round trip of six hours.
My advice: get to these trails before the snow comes.