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At a Glance

distance: 4 to 9 kmelevation gain: up to 450mrating: moderatetype: out and back or loop
dog-friendly: not in winterroad/parking: free paved lotpublic transport: Cypress private shuttletime of year: year-round

Cypress Mountain is the home to several snowshoeing adventures and many of them are completely free! There is a trail on Black Mountain that can be short to Cabin Lake or extended out to Eagle Bluffs.

Be sure to arrive at Cypress Mountain early as the parking can fill up very quickly on a sunny weekend day. On your way towards the main lodge be sure to stop off at Black Mountain Lodge, which is a smaller building in the parking lot which also houses a washroom. Looking at the washroom you will see a small sign on a door to the left that says Black Mountain Lodge, go through this door to a small empty room, and on your left, directly after the door, you will see a little wooden box filled with liability waivers. Grab one of these before you set out on the trails. They are completely free and are required for the trails – it’s just you saying you will not sue the resort if you get hurt. They won’t let you past the fence without one. Pro tip: don’t clip it to your jacket and keep it for your next trip so that you don’t have to stop to get a new one every time.

Trail description

After parking, getting your liability waiver, do your last-minute gear prepping, and walk towards the lodge. Show your liability waiver to the ticket checker at the fence and continue straight towards the Eagle Express chairlift. The trailhead is BEHIND the chairlift. When there are a lot of people on skis and snowboards around it might be intimidating to make your way around to the back of the lift but just be aware of your surroundings and keep walking.

At the back of the lift, you will likely see some other snowshoers but the trail is quite clearly marked and only a few meters in you will see a large sign directing you either right to Bowen Lookout or left to Black Mountain Plateau.

Option 1: Head left to Black Mountain. The first 2km or so will be pretty steep and a hard workout. You will be near the ski run but in the forest. When you start leveling out you will come to a junction. Read the sign and you should find Cabin Lake just a few meters to your right. Make this stop even if you are planning on going further. Cabin Lake will be frozen and snowed over and very tranquil. If this is your final stop, turn around and head back down the trail you came from.

Option 2: If you want to continue around the Black Mountain Loop, go back to the Cabin Lake junction and take the opposite direction (follow the sign for Black Mountain). This trail isn’t super scenic but adds a bit of distance and exercise to your trip, you will hit some other junctions, but just continue to follow the Black Mountain Loop signs or the signs to the parking lot. Make sure you look out for Whiskey Jacks! They are abundant and make for great photo subjects.

Option 3: If you choose to go all the way to Eagle Bluffs please proceed with caution. Continue to follow the Black Mountain Loop until you hit a three-way junction where you can head to the left to continue the loop or to the right to Eagle Bluffs. You will be able to recognize the trail to Eagle Bluffs by a yellow sign that says “Marked Winter Trail Ends Here”. As the sign would imply, please proceed with caution if you decide to take this trail. Be prepared with a map and keep a very keen eye out for the small orange reflective hiking tags on trees. If it hasn’t snowed recently then this trail will likely be tracked out and easy to follow, if it is covered in fresh snow, be sure to be prepared with navigation, as cell service is spotty or non-existent.

On a clear day, Eagle Bluffs will reward you with beautiful city and coastal views. This hike is very popular in the summer as well.

On your way back you will hit the three-way junction again and you can head back the same way you came, or I would recommend finishing the Black Mountain Loop, taking the only trail option you haven’t been on yet. Follow the signs to the parking lot and you will eventually end up heading back down the same trail you went up to reach Cabin Lake.

This entire hike can be a massive leg burner and energy drain, especially in the winter. You will head up a strong incline to Cabin Lake and then head back downhill towards Eagle Bluffs. This, of course, means you will then have to go uphill again to head back home, which is always tough for me, especially getting the mental momentum to go back uphill after hitting the viewpoint.

This hike is often well tracked out so microspikes may be enough for you to do this trek, as always, I would suggest checking recent weather, webcams, the resort snow report, and recent trail reports before heading out and always go prepared.

Photo Journey

Get your liability waiver at Black Mountain Lodge in the parking lot:

Walk towards the Eagle Express chairlift and find the trailhead directly behind it, you will find this sign a few meters down the trail:

Turn left towards black mountain and walk uphill, until you find a junction that leads you a short ways to Cabin Lake on the right:

Turn around and head in the other direction following signs for Black Mountain Loop, keep an eye out for Whiskey Jacks:

If you choose to go to Eagle Bluffs, turn right at the three-way junction towards this sign (proceed with caution):

Enjoy the winter wonderland on your way to the viewpoint, once you reach the bluffs, turn around and follow the same trail back to the three-way junction

At the three-way junction follow the sign the the parking lot to complete Black Mountain Loop:

Continue to follow the signs to the parking lot and you will fin yourself on the same trail you came up. Enjoy the scenery as you go downhill.

Accessibility

Cypress Mountain is about a 30 min drive from Vancouver, the roads are usually clear so you can reach the parking lot in most cars. It can be icy so proceed with caution in bad weather. Cypress does have a bus that travels from North Vancouver to the mountain frequently but it is $25 per person (2020), it might be better to rent an Evo or Modo and share with a friend. Parking is free and quite large (though there can still be significant back up during a sunny weekend).

Facilities

At the ski resort there are flush toilets, a café, an indoor dining area (may be closed due to COVID-19), winter gear rentals, and drinking water.

Tips/Read This

Get your free liability waiver at Black Mountain Lodge in the parking lot on the way from your car to the trailhead.

Check recent conditions and decide if microspikes or snowshoes are best for you (bring both in my opinion).

Arrive early to ensure a parking spot on the weekends.

For more snowshoe trails near Vancouver, check out my list here.

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