Dog Mountain Snowshoe

Quick Facts:

  • AllTrails link: Dog Mountain Trail 
  • Difficulty: green snowshoe trail (took us 3 hours to complete)
  • Traffic: very busy on weekends
  • Facilities: flush toilet in the ski resort
  • View: spectacular views of Metro Vancouver
  • Overall score: 8/10

Dog Mountain Trail is one of the most popular, beginner-friendly snowshoeing trails around Vancouver. It is very heavily trafficked on weekends, to the point where parking can be an issue.

The trail starts right next to the busiest chairlift (Mystery Peak Chair) at Mt Seymour Ski Resort, so there is sometimes traffic congestion in this area. All of the parking lots near the trailhead is reserved for paying customers during ski season. Users of the free provincial park trail need to park in Parking Lot #5, which is a just fancy name for street shoulder parking furthest from the action.

We chose an overcast Wednesday to snowshoe Dog Mountain. We parked about 1km away from the trailhead in Lot #5. Thankfully the walk path from the parking areas to the trailhead was very flat and easy.

Junior with his little snowshoes got a lot of compliments. He has learned to respond politely now, so it was quite fun to watch him interact with other snowshoers (from a safe physical distance of course).

After a little while, Junior’s speed dropped to a crawl, so we put him on the backpack carrier and started our proper hike.

The snow on Dog Mountain Trail was very compact from all the foot traffic, so a set of crampons or microspikes work better than snowshoes unless there was a significant amount of snowfall recently. There were some gentle up and downhills, but generally it’s very manageable. We’ve even seen some people doing this trail in their runners and sneakers without problem (we don’t recommend it though!) The thick snow has completely covered the small hazards such as rocks and tree roots, and even smoothed out some of the up and downs of the trail, so although AllTrails rate it as “moderate” as a summer hike, it’s really a green easy snowshoe trail in the winter.

Soon we arrived at a clearing. In the summer, this would be the First Lake. But the lake was under meters of snow now.

First Lake

Gaps in the snow created by creeks showed just how deep the snow was.

The Little One basically said “wake me up when the hike ends”, then took a nap from First Lake until we reached the Dog Mountain Lookout.

Junior calls this strategy the “napping explorer”

It took us exactly one hour from the trailhead to the lookout. Talk about a rewarding payout for a good hike!

View of Lion Gate Bridge, Downtown, and UBC.

The lookout featured an unobstructed view of North Van, Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, with Washington State in the distance. I am sure Mt Baker could be seen from here on a clear day.

View of Iron Workers Memorial Bridge, Burnaby Mountain, Metrotown.

We lingered for about 30 mins and headed back. We did not want to outstay the sun, but we did bring headlamps just in case.

Instead of walking back to the trailhead at the ski resort, we took the Winter Access Trail to get back to the parking lot.

This small section of trail would bypass the crowds that gather around the ski resort, but also you’d miss out on a washroom run. It’s a little bit narrower and covered with tree branches, and the last 20 meters up to the parking lot was somewhat steep, but otherwise this was quite a pleasant alternative to the flat parking lot path.

Overall, this outing took us 3 hours. It’s definitely much more rewarding as a snowshoe trail than the paid Discovery Snowshoe Trail in the resort, and it’s free. That, plus it’s easy, well marked, and a famous snowshoe destination among the locals, makes this an extremely busy hike on weekends.

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