The area around Lions Bay on the Sea to Sky Highway is only a short drive from both Squamish and Vancouver and has some absolutely stunning and iconic hikes.
Parking Note: Many of these trails start at Magnesia Creek at Lions Bay. This parking lot is very limited and is paid in the summer. You can also park at the nearby Lions Bay Elementary School and take the connector trail on the northeast side of the parking lot to get to the trailhead (Applies to Tunnel Bluff, The Lions, Mount Harvey, Hat Mountain, Brunswick Mountain).
The Best Hikes Between Horseshoe Bay and Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway
These hikes are organized (approximately) by easiest to most difficult.
1. Centennial Trail
Distance: 4km+ | Elevation Gain: Minimal | Difficulty: Easy
This is a bit of a connector trail that runs just north of the Sea to Sky Highway but it is still a lovely walk with views of the ocean and can be done year-round. You can easily add on Trudi’s Trail or go on to Cypress Falls to make this a longer day with more sights.
Note that parking is limited so be prepared to wait for an opening or you can park at the elementary school further north in Lions Bay and cut down into the middle of the trail.
2. Furry Creek Knob Deck
Distance: 3.5km | Elevation Gain: 300m | Difficulty: Moderate
This short hike leads you to an observation deck with a view of Howe Sound where you can relax and have lunch or watch the sunset. The trail itself isn’t very scenic as it is largely on a forest service road (download a map because turnoffs can be easy to miss) but it’s only a short trail so you will be off the road and at the lookout in no time.
This is a great trail to do if you only have a half day or less, and it is usually snow-free year-round.
In the summer months, you can skip the lookout and keep going all the way to Beth Lake. This is a significantly longer trail (about 15km more) trail that can be grown over and not marked well so be prepared for a full day of hiking if you choose to do this extension.
3. Browning Lake and Jurassic Ridge (Murrin Park)
Distance: 2.5km | Elevation Gain: 200m | Difficulty: Moderate
This sweet little hike starts just off the highway at Murrin Park. Though the stats make it seem easy, you will find steep sections and rope assists over rocks. I would recommend wearing proper hiking shoes and downloading a map before you go.
Though you can normally do this hike year-round I would recommend doing it on a dry, clear day to avoid slipping on the rocks and to ensure getting that great Howe Sound view at the end.
It is easy to explore other trails in the area and make it a longer excursion if you want to. This is a popular area for rock climbers as wells so keep an eye out for them.
Please note that the parking lot is on the smaller side and fills up quickly on a sunny weekend.
4. Tunnel Bluffs (from Magnesia Creek)
Distance: 11km | Elevation Gain: 550m | Difficulty: Moderate
There used to be two options for this iconic hike but now the only real choice is to start at Magnesia Creek (please read the note at the top of the page about parking), which is an overall more enjoyable hike than starting on the Sea to Sky Highway anyway.
This trail takes you up an old service road for the first two kilometers and then flattens out and takes you through a forested trail to a big rock outcropping where you will get views of the Howe Sound and the mountains to the north, it is a very stunning place to see and it is beautiful for sunset if you are prepared to walk back in the dark.
This trail can be done year-round, though there may be ice on the trail in the winter. Check recent weather and trail reports before you go between November and April.
5. Petgill Lake
Distance: 11km | Elevation Gain: 800m | Difficulty: Challenging
Park at Murrin Park for this trail then cross the highway to find the trailhead. The trail is challenging but has some lookouts along the way to keep you motivated. Be sure to download a map before you go because there are some conflicting signs at the beginning.
When you reach the lake be sure to stay to the left and then take another left onto a small detour trail that has a great view of the Howe Sound.
This hike can usually be done snow-free between April and November but of course, check recent trail and weather reports before you go in the shoulder season. Also, note that the parking lot fills up quickly on a sunny weekend.
6. Deeks Lake
Distance: 12km | Elevation Gain: 1000m | Difficulty: Challenging
First of all, this hike starts on private property so if you choose to do this hike please be extra respectful, quiet, and clean. You can also get to Deeks Lake by starting at Lions Bay (Magnesia Creek) and going towards Brunswick Lake then going a bit further but this option is quite a bit longer.
The trail itself is normal snow-free in the height of summer and takes you to a beautiful lake and past a waterfall. It is challenging but overall not too hard and makes for a great day out. You can also add Brunswick Lake to this hike by adding another 7km onto the end of this hike if you have some extra energy and want to see another beautiful lake.
7. Mount Harvey
Distance: 14km | Elevation Gain: 1400m | Difficulty: Challenging
This hike (like most of the peaks in the area) is a real leg burner. It is quite steep but well worth it at the end for the incredible 360 views and it gives you a chance to see The Lions from a different perspective.
The trail starts at Magnesia Creek (please read the note at the top of this article for parking advice) and turns off fairly soon along the service road. If you are focused on planting your feet, you will likely miss the turnoff so keep your eyes open for signs or keep an eye on your map to make sure you don’t go too far.
This hike is accessible in the height of the summer (July to October) and is a quieter alternative to the Lions or Brunswick Mountains and offers several viewpoints along the way.
8. The Lions (Binkert Trail)
Distance: 15km | Elevation Gain: 1600m | Difficulty: Challenging
The Lions (or Sisters) are the most famous mountains in the Vancouver skyline and it is hard not to want to climb them as you look at them all year round. You will have to wait for summer to summit these beauties as they are not snow-free until July.
There are a few other ways to access The Lions but Binkert Trail from Magnesia Creek in Lions Bay is the best option (please read the note at top of the page for parking info). This trail starts on an old service road then diverges at a clearly marked junction. The hike from here becomes more rugged and technical and you will need all day to complete it.
From the top you will find incredible 360 views of the surrounding mountains and Howe Sound. The top can be windy and chilly so be sure to bring an extra layer to allow yourself the time to soak it all in without wanting to leave because you are too cold.
9. Brunswick Mountain
Distance: 15km | Elevation Gain: 1600m | Difficulty: Challenging
This is the highest peak in the area and the hike there exhibits that well. You will be going uphill the entire time, with lots of scrambles so this is not a hike for the faint of heart or for the beginner hiker.
The hike starts at Magnesia Creek in Lions Bay (read the note at top of the page about parking) and follows an old service road before diverging onto a more rugged trail that only gets more challenging as you get closer to the summit (this will be an all-day leg burner).
This hike can only be done snow-free between July and October, but be sure to bring warm clothes with you even in the summer because the summit can be cold and windy.
At the end you will be rewarded with incredible 360 views of the mountains (including The Lions) and the Howe Sound.
10. Hat Mountain (from Magnesisa Creek)
Distance: 16km | Elevation Gain: 1500m | Difficulty: Challenging
This hike started just off the Sea to Sky Highway in the past, but parking is no longer allowed there and it is better to start at Magnesia Creek (read the note at the top of the page about parking).
Follow the same trail you would take for Brunswick Mountain (follow the signs) but before going towards the summit veer left on the Howe Sound crest Trail, then detour to the left again and summit Fat Ass Peak and then Hat Mountain.
This will be a very tough climb and you will be going uphill all day, just like the rest of the peaks in the area. The trail is not as well known as the rest of the peaks so be prepared to meet a rougher trail at the end.
11. Howe Sound Crest Trail
Distance: 26km | Elevation Gain: 1700m | Difficulty: Challenging
This is a point-to-point hike between Cypress Mountain and Lions Bay that hits all of the most epic peaks in the area. 26km is just the base distance though it will likely be longer as you will want to do several of the detours to the Lions, Hat Mountain, Brunswick, Windsor, or Harvey, all of which will add on more time and distance.
This trail is normally done as a two-day (or more) trip. If you do not want to take any of the detours this can be done as one very long day hike but I wouldn’t recommend it because then you cannot take in all of the sights.
This is an incredible hike that can be done between July and September and I would highly recommend doing it in its entirety if you have the opportunity.
Welcome to Alpine Feeling! My name is Talon, and I am a Vancouver local who loves hiking and all things outdoors. I am here to do my best to provide you with outdoor guides to the Vancouver area and beyond.