Hiking season is heating up. If a 10-hour trek in the mountains isn’t your idea of summer fun, plenty of quick and easy trails are available. Here are two hill walks to get you out of the concrete jungle—for a few hours, at least. Remember to carry safety supplies (the “10 essentials”), inform someone of your plans, keep dogs leashed, and leave no trace.
Tantalus View Lookout
Distance: 10.5 kilometres. Elevation gain: 155 metres. Access: On Highway 99 in Squamish, 5 km north of the Alice Lake Provincial Park entrance, turn east into the Brohm Lake parking lot.
Even if you make frequent trips to Whistler, there’s a good chance you’ve driven by Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest numerous times without giving it a second thought. However, Brohm Lake, which lies in the District of Squamish and the territory of the Squamish Nation, is definitely worth a stop, especially if you’re looking for a refreshing dip on a hot day. Administered by the B.C. government, the interpretive forest contains 10 kilometres of trails. A walk in these very pleasant woods can earn you fine views of the imposing peaks and glaciers of the Tantalus Range.
Begin a clockwise circuit by heading south on the Brohm Lake Trail and crossing a bridge over a wetland. Keep left to follow the Bridge Trail into the forest, stay right at the Alder Trail junction, and turn left when you hit the High Trail. Find the Cheakamus Loop Trail on the other side of a horse road. Two delightful viewpoints on this two-kilometre trail reward your mild efforts. Alpha Mountain, Mount Dione, and Mount Tantalus dominate the scenery.
Go left on the High Trail and left again on the short and steep Tantalus View Trail to reach popular Tantalus View Lookout, the day’s high point. After visiting the historic fire lookout and savouring the views, it’s back down to the High Trail, where you go left (north). Two more lefts, on the Connector Trail and Brohm Lake Trail, lead you to the north end of the lake. Stay right at a junction with the Thompson Trail. Then go left on the Brohm Creek Trail, right on the Powerline Trail, and left on the Brohm Lake Trail to return to the parking lot.
Distance: 13 kilometres. Elevation gain: 255 metres. Access: On Trans-Canada Highway 1 in Abbotsford, take Exit 104. Head east on No. 3 Road. Turn right on Tolmie Road and left back on No. 3 Road. Go left on Yarrow Central Road, which becomes Vedder Mountain Road. Turn right on Cultus Lake Road, which continues south as Columbia Valley Highway. Enter Cultus Lake Provincial Park and turn right into the Jade Bay boat launch parking lot.
With its ceramic scenery, Teapot Hill sure lives up to its name. Apparently, a logger found a teapot on the slope in the 1940s, and in more recent years someone began leaving teapots for people to find. Spotting the porcelain hidden in nooks and crannies along the trail is cupfuls of fun for kids and adults alike. Add in a spoonful of the old-growth Seven Sisters, and you’ve got an outing that’s sweet enough for the whole family. Both points of interest are found in Cultus Lake Provincial Park, which lies outside Chilliwack in the territory of the Soowahlie First Nation.
From the Jade Bay boat launch, cross the Columbia Valley Highway and enter the Entrance Bay campground. Keep right to find the start of the Seven Sisters Trail between campsites 7 and 9, and dive into the mossy forest. Reach the Seven Sisters in 1.7 kilometres. Do the short and steep loop trail to find out how few of the old-growth Douglas fir giants are still standing.
Continue south on the Seven Sisters Trail. As you near the Clear Creek campground, turn left on a brief connector path. Go right on the Cultus Lake Horse Trail, then right again at the next fork (signed for Teapot Hill). Hang a left on Road 918 to get on the Teapot Hill Trail, which soon leaves right.
Heading uphill in the trees, keep your eyes peeled for the colourful teapots, some intact and others broken. A viewpoint overlooks Cultus Lake. The Teapot Hill Trail ends at a fenced lookout near the summit, with vistas of the Columbia Valley and Vedder Mountain.
Descend the way you came to the intersection at the bottom of the hill, where you turn right to continue southwest on Road 918 and enjoy a bit more of the woods. Turn around at the Road 918–Watt Creek intersection. On the way back to the trailhead, keep right at two junctions to stay on the Horse Trail. Now on familiar ground, retrace your steps to Jade Bay.
Stephen Hui is the author of 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia (Greystone Books). Visit 105hikes.com.