Where: Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Description: A winter alternative to the Grouse Grind, this snowshoe trail is designed to provide a similar workout (though I don’t find it quite as intense as the grind). The length of the hike is 4.3 kilometres (2.67 miles) , with an elevation gain of 215 metres (705 feet). There are special competitive runs and training nights as well. The route starts from the Peak Chalet (near the gondola), runs to the top of Dam Mountain, and loops back to the Peak Chalet. There are additional trails if you’d like to extend the hike.
Cost: A general admission day pass, ski and snowboard pass, or annual membership is required .(The annual membership is a general admission pass that includes gondola rides up and down and access to the Lumberjack Show, Birds in Motion Show, bear habitat viewings, snowshoe trails, and various other Grouse features. It costs $39.95 for adults, $23.95 for teens, and $13.95 for kids 5-12 years old, and is free for kids under 5 years of age).
Time: Approximately 1 hour for moderately fit people
Difficulty: If you can do the Grouse Grind, you should have no trouble with the Snowshoe Grind. Unfit people may struggle with it, but although it’s a bit longer than the regular Grind, it’s less steep, so it may actually be a better alternative for those who want to start doing intense Grind-style workouts but need a transitional activity before tackling all those stairs. It’s also easier on the knees than the Grouse Grind, so it’s a good option for people who have knee problems.
Required Equipment: Comfortable winter clothing and snowshoes (you can rent these for $10 at Grouse).
- There are great snowy mountain views and additional trails to take if you want to extend the hike.
- You get a decent cardio workout with far less impact on the joints than with running or walking.
- If you pay for a pass, you’ll have access to lots of other mountain activities as well.
- The Snowshoe grind is accessed by gondola, which makes it pricier than hiking on mountain trails that don’t require a sky ride to the starting point (unless you have a membership, in which case the ride is free).
- The trails are only open during daylight hours, so there are no moonlight snowshoeing options.
- Snowshoeing is becoming a very popular activity – if you want a less crowded trail, go during off-peak times rather than beautiful weekend days if possible.
- Dress in layers – on warm days, people can snowshoe wearing T-shirts or even tank tops, whereas cold days require a very warm jacket.
- Bring a hot drink in a thermos – very nice to have at the top.
- Bring a snack and plenty of water to avoid energy crashes and dehydration.
For more information, see: GrouseMountain.com/Snowshoe-Grind, GrouseMountain.com/Snowshoe-Grind-Training-Nights, GlobalTVBC.com/ Snowshoe+Grind+Opens+Grouse/ 4212941/Story.html, and GrouseMountain.com/General-ADmission-Membership.
For more activity descriptions, see the main Activities page.
*Conditions and prices may have changed since the time of this writing.