Description: This trail winds up Mt. Seymour, with the option to visit three separate peaks, First Pump, Second Pump, and the Mt. Seymour summit, as well as various viewpoints along the way. There are amazing views at the top of each peak, though the third offers the most spectacular surround scenery. All three peaks provide views of neighbouring mountains and the city below. This is a rugged trail that requires some scrambling, so moderate fitness is required. The total elevation gain is 450 meters, reaching a high point of 1,450 meters. This hike is only recommended for July through October, though some people do it on snowshoes during the winter.
Cost: Free (there is a $3 fee for parking during the summer months)
Time: Required time will vary based on fitness levels, speed of travel, time spent resting and admiring the views, and other factors. Estimates range from 5 hours to half a day. We did the round trip in a little over 4 hours with stops for photos and lunch, though on the way up we took a bit of a shortcut up a steep ski run, which cut a corner off the trail.
Difficulty: If you can walk uphill over rocky terrain for a few hours and do a little light scrambling, you can get to the first and second peaks. The third peak offers the most spectacular views, but it’s also the trickiest to reach, as there are some more difficult scrambles and slippery, exposed bits of rock. The overall difficulty level is rated as moderate by other sources. However, if there is any snow or ice on the trail, it can be dangerous in some places, particularly the stretch between the second and third peaks. Also, although there are a lots of trail markers, there are also plenty of forks in the trail and rougher areas where the trail is difficult to spot, so look for the orange squares on trees and painted orange circles on rocks.
Required Equipment: Hiking shoes with good grip, clothing appropriate to the season, food, plenty of water, sunglasses, and sunscreen (the trail is open to the sky rather than shaded by forest in most places, and the sun can be intense); a first aid kit and headlamps are also recommended (in case you get lost and end up on the mountain after dark). Lots of people bring hiking poles as well.
We went in October and there was no snow on the trail, but you may encounter snow if you go during the summer months or earlier, so in some cases extra gear such as microspikes or YakTrax may be useful, depending on snow depth.
- This hike is right in Vancouver, so assuming that you’re coming from the city, you won’t have to spend all day driving to get to it.
- It doesn’t take long to get to the first peak, which means that you can start enjoying amazing views early on during the hike, and it gets better and better with each subsequent peak. The payoff is huge in relation to the effort.
- The peaks have rounded tops, and there are plenty of comfortable places to sit down and admire the views.
- At the third peak, there are ravens and eagles everywhere – they appeared to be playing elaborate games or doing some sort of choreographed dance in the air around us while we ate our lunch.
- This hike offers a good workout even for those who are relatively fit.
- Dogs are allowed on the trail.
- Some people will find the trail to the third peak challenging, and it can be quite dangerous when snowy or icy.
- Going down the steep sections of the trail can be hard on the knees, particularly for those who have existing knee problems.
- This trail is popular, especially the stretch to the first peak because it’s the most accessible, so it can get crowded on sunny weekend days.
- Although there are bathrooms at the base of the mountain, there are none on the trails or peaks.
- There can be snow on the mountain as late as August; check notices at the trail head and bring appropriate gear. Going during the early fall will reduce the likelihood of having to deal with snow.
- It can be windy on some of the exposed sections of the trail and the peaks but you’re likely to sweat on the way up, so you may get chilled at the top; wear wicking clothing, dress in layers, and bring something warm to throw on if needed.
- See the following pages for more information about the trail and the three peaks:
*Conditions and prices may have changed since the time of this writing.