Coastal Mountaineering

exploring BC's coastlines and mountain ranges

North Shore & Fraser Valley

Hiking, snowshoeing, and scrambling in the steep, forested peaks of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains and the Fraser Valley, including Pinecone-Burke Park and Golden Ears Park.

Sunrise on the classic Mount Judge Howay from Mount Martyn. Winter, 2016

The steep, forested peaks running the length of the north side of the Fraser Valley and the peaks of the North Shore Mountains, just outside of Vancouver City, offer great trail running, hiking, and scrambling opportunities. Despite their proximity to the Vancouver Metro Area, the mountains in these regions are steep, rugged, deceptive, and the cause of hundreds of SAR operations.

Access is easy for all but the most remote peaks, and there is an extensive park and trail system throughout the area. This makes Cypress, Seymour, Lynn Headwaters, and Golden Ears parks some of the most visited in the province. As a result, trails are often packed and solitude is hard to find. But, similar to other areas, those willing to go the extra distance will find themselves without crowds. For those not willing to visit the further reaches of the parks, the North Shore and Fraser Valley still hold adventure close at hand: Mount Martyn in Golden Ears Park and Coburg and Gotha Peaks above Deeks Lake are great examples.

Along Howe Sound, in the North Shore Mountains, access is easy and trails cross many of the ranges from Sky Pilot down to Cypress. However, as you move east, access to the remote northern reaches of the mountains becomes more difficult. (You can read about the rugged Coquitlam – Pitt Divide here). At the head of Stave Lake, Mount Judge Howay is renowned amongst SW BC climbers for its difficult access issues and challenging route-finding. These regions all lead into the southern approaches of Garibaldi Provincial Park and the expansive terrain of the Sea to Sky region.

Trip Reports


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Check out some paddling trips in Howe Sound to see the North Shore Mountains from the water!

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