A popular and often busy trail, Mount Seymour is a short day hike that begins most of the way up the mountain. The trail accesses two "pumps" (local maxima) before reaching the peak. The first pump offers views of Vancouver just as spectacular as those from the peak, so the hike could be made easier by stopping there instead. A great trail for that friend visiting from out of town who's not so big into hiking (or anyone who appreciates an amazing view of Vancouver, for that matter!).
Although not at Grouse Grind level crowdedness, it's possible to never be out of sight of other hikers on this trail. Don't be surprised to see things such as tiny dogs, flip flops, venti Starbucks drinks, and varying degrees of unpreparedness (dogs are allowed on-leash, not that this rule is observed, but the latter three aren't recommended).
- Mt. Seymour elevation: 1,449 meters
- Trailhead elevation: ~ 1,000 meters
- Trail length: 4.4 km one way (to peak)
- Time to complete: 3-4 hours, dependant on party speed
- Difficulty: easy ~ moderate
- Technical difficulty: trail can be mildly steep, otherwise very easy
From Vancouver get yourself to the north shore, it doesn't matter if you take the Lions Gate or the Second Narrows bridge. Take the upper levels highway (going east if you took the Lions Gate) and get off at Mount Seymour Parkway (the exit is close to the Second Narrows bridge). Go east on the Parkway until you reach Mt Seymour road, and make a left. Follow this road up the whole mountain, watching for cyclists on the shoulder. Park in the day lot at the very end, next to all the ski resort buildings. Parking costs $3 for the day, overnight parking is only allowed at a slightly lower lot. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.
Translink can get you as far as the intersection of Mount Seymour Parkway and Mount Seymour Road, and biking to the top would be long but possible (Mount Seymour is a popular downhill mountain biking destination and there are many cyclists who bike up, albeit not to the very top of the road where the trail starts).
Right after the trailhead the hiker is confronted with a choice. They may either follow the signs which take you onto the actual trail (to the left and through the trees), or follow the road that go up under the chairlift. Either option is fine as they meet up 1 km later. Most people seem to choose the road, although many are probably not aware of the choice. The road is well kept and easy to walk on, although some attention is needed to make sure you go the right way (there are several forks, none of which have signposts). Initially follow the more gentle road that winds to the right and then back to the left. After this point you should come across the signpost where the trail through the trees rejoins the road. After this stay left at the next branch; if you take the right you will find yourself at the top of the chairlift. Leave the road when you come across the next signpost, next to a small pond.
After leaving the road and climbing through the trees the trail passes under a cliff face. Eventually you reach the junction with the Elsay Lake trail. At roughly this point the trail begins the climb to the first pump. Eventually you reach a signpost where the trail either continues on to the second pump and peak or branches to the left to ascend the first pump (only a very small detour). The trail to the second pump is easily visible, and its highest point is only a 25m detour from the trail. From the second pump the peak and the trail reaching it are visible. The first pump and peak offer great views of the city (the second pump is a bit too treed to do so), while the second pump and peak have good views of the mountains to the north and east.