Longer hikes that you can turn into a day-long adventure
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
Great Inclinations is your go-to source for diving into the world of casual hiking in and around the Lower Mainland. Because hiking’s not just for assholes anymore.
For me, hiking is a great weekend activity, but rarely something that’s worthy of consuming an entire day. Weekends are a precious, limited commodity; however, occasionally the mood will strike where it’s acceptable to pile into a vehicle with a few pals, pack some wraps and celebratory Hey Y’alls for the summit, and head out on a longer hike. These are a few of those treks.
Many trails around Vancouver may still be covered in snow, so always check to ensure that trails are safe and in good condition before you go. Leave yourself plenty of time to return, let someone know where you’re going, and never hike alone.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll notice I have an affinity for short hikes with whopping payoffs. Located in Chilliwack, Lindeman Lake is another example of steep-ish terrain (for about an hour) that leads you towards a gorgeous, serene, emerald-green lake. The hike’s satisfying enough to end here, or you can shimmy across the boulders located along the west side of the lake—leftover from a rockslide—and continue towards Greendrop Lake. If you’re driving from Vancouver, it takes about two hours each way, and traffic usually slows from about Abbotsford onwards, so plan accordingly.
You might see the words “five-hour hike” and immediately stop reading, but hear me out: Yes, Norvan Falls is long, but large stretches of the hike are relatively flat, and you get some beautiful snowy scenery the further along you go. Plus, the path is mostly guarded by a thick forest canopy overhead, so you can do this hike in the rainier months and not get drenched. Like most trails in North Van though, Norvan is a soupy mess for most of the year, so make sure you pack your waterproof boots. Another bonus for you vehicle-less folks: Norvan Falls is the only hike on this list that’s accessible by public transit.
Located between Squamish and Whistler, Brandywine Meadows is impossibly beautiful, but also very challenging. We’re talking four hours of steep incline, up a trail that is only so-so marked and occasionally disintegrates into mud piles. The payoff, though? A meadow with babbling streams and fields full of wild flowers. You can also venture onward into the meadow and even attempt Brandywine Mountain, but stop and have lunch in the meadow before moving on.
Everything you’ve heard about this hike in Pemberton is true. Postcard-level scenery, perfect turquoise lakes, and one of the most packed hiking trails I’ve ever been on. So if you arrive later than 10 a.m., expect to wait for a parking spot. As for the actual hike, there are three lakes accessible along the trail. You reach the first lake almost immediately, the second one is about an hour and a half up a gradual incline—but you should absolutely push on to the third (and least busy) lake, which is about an hour further along. There’s even camping on the south side of the third lake, which gives you a different, equally-spectacular vantage point. If you have the time, Joffre is much better enjoyed as an overnight hike—but more on that in the next edition of Great Inclinations!