With the arrival of the May long weekend, hiking season is officially here.
Some of the most incredible hikes visit towering waterfalls, ancient forest giants, colourful wildflower meadows, sparkling swimming holes, and panoramic viewpoints.
My new guidebook, Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia (Greystone Books), describes 55 hiking trips to intriguing places near Vancouver.
Here are five exhilarating hikes featured in the new book.
Important reminders: Please respect the pandemic-related travel restrictions and advisories in effect. Check current conditions, take the 10 essentials, leave a trip plan with a responsible person, and make sure to leave no trace.
1. Mount Elphinstone
As the Queen of Surrey sails from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, Mount Elphinstone rises behind the approaching ferry terminal. A hike on the Mount Elphinstone Summit Trail is a very agreeable affair, featuring old-growth trees, a waterfall, and grand views of the Tantalus Range and Howe Sound.
2. Echo Lake
The Echo Lake Trail is a bonafide adventure, which requires crossing the powerful Squamish River to access the trailhead. Paralleling Monmouth Creek all the way up to the cirque lake, the rough and wickedly steep route visits a succession of sublime waterfalls noted for thrilling canyoneering descents.
3. Punch Bowl Pass
Tracing ancient Indigenous pathways, the Whatcom Trail and Dewdney Trail materialized in the mid-1800s as a result of the Fraser Canyon and Rock Creek gold rushes. Today, the pleasant hike to Punch Bowl Pass traverses sections of both historical trails in E.C. Manning Provincial Park.
4. Statlu Lake
As a destination, Statlu Lake has much to offer hikers: colossal conifers, wondrous waterfalls, majestic mountains, and superb swimming. The price of admission: a lengthy approach on logging roads, an overgrown trail, and no shortage of deadfall.
5. Mount Galiano
A hike to the highest knoll on Galiano Island begins with a delightful ferry ride to Sturdies Bay. Our itinerary also includes stops at a swimming beach and a Japanese Canadian historic site.