The landscapes and mountain ranges in British Columbia are famous around the world. Our BC Summer Hiking Day Trips are always popular, but there is something inspiring about our corner of Canada in the winter, with majestic evergreen trees sprouting out of the pristine white snow as far as the eye can see. Hiking in the snow is called snowshoeing and it’s not as challenging as you might expect — providing you have the knowledge and skills of a local expert.
That’s where BeWild! Adventures comes in, as we offer a diverse range of incredible BC Snowshoe Day Trips from Vancouver, all offering something different. With this blog, we’d like to paint a picture of the beautiful snowscapes you can drive to from Vancouver, walk around in nature, and get back to your bed at the end of the day.
Covid disruption disclaimer: Due to COVID-19, some of the places mentioned in this guide are closed at the time of publication. However, as things improve we expect to be allowed into all of the places mentioned in this guide. We wanted to include our top 5 best winter snowshoe trails in the area so that this guide was relevant for years to come, as opposed to simply talking about the small amount of places currently available to us.
1. Snowshoeing at Cheakamus Lake
You’ll find Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Park, and while it’s extremely popular in summer, it’s a lot more peaceful and tranquil in the winter. If you’re willing to come here in winter, you’ll find pristine snow and stunning views unlike anything you’ll see in the summertime. As there isn’t much relief here, there is no danger of avalanches and it’s easier on your knees — it’s just a peaceful hike in the snow, surrounded by majestic coniferous trees. And there’s nothing like stopping for a little packed lunch, gazing out at Cheakamus Lake in the winter! If this appeals to you, check out our Cheakamus Winter Hike.
Disclaimer: Before setting off, we advise you to check the BC Parks website for closures as the access road is closed occasionally for forestry work or for various other reasons.
2. Winter Hiking at Elfin Lakes
With views of Mount Garibaldi and Atwell Peak, with beautiful waterfalls around every corner, Elfin Lakes is, undoubtedly, one of the top winter snowshoe trails near Vancouver. With an elevation of 700 and some moderately difficult parts, this shouldn’t be your first snowshoe adventure unless you consider yourself reasonably fit and ready for action. The sights on this hike make it more than worth it, however, and if you opt for BeWild! Adventures’ Elfin Lakes Winter Hiking Tour, you will have the option to make it a multi-day experience, staying in a cozy little solar-powered hut nearby!
3. Snowshoeing at Garibaldi Lake
Garibaldi Lake is the next spot on our list, and it more than deserves its place! The elevation of 820m means that it’s ideal for people who are already active and reasonably fit, but the climb is more than worth the effort for the incredible views of the Sea to Sky Valley along the way. As you climb, you can visit food shelters to take a brief refuge from the cold before jumping back into the elements — that’s half of the fun, after all! To drive from Vancouver, do the entire hike, and then drive back, takes around 11 hours, so you may prefer to opt for our Garibaldi Winter Hike as we do all the driving for you.
4. Winter Hiking at Joffre Lakes
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a brilliant spot for some snowshoeing, although it is closed at the time of writing due to COVID-19. The amount of natural beauty and the relative ease of the trail in comparison to some of the others in the area makes Joffre Lakes a popular hiking destination in summer as well as winter. With three beautiful lakes to appreciate, and snow and trees as far as the eye can see, this is the perfect way to get a dose of nature if you live in Vancouver or you’re visiting for a few days and want to see what the great British Columbia wilderness is all about. If this sounds good to you, take a look at our Joffre Lakes Winter Hiking Tour.
5. Snowshoeing at Brandywine Falls
Lastly, we’d like to recommend visiting Brandywine Falls. This is a beautiful and rather impressive waterfall, and it’s very popular in the summer months. However, Brandywine Falls is perhaps even more impressive in the winter months. It’s important to note at the time of writing, however, that the area is closed to visitors, but we expect this area to open again in the future. That’s where our Whistler Winter Hike comes in, as you’ll get the benefit of a trained local guide to take you to all the best spots you probably couldn’t reach on your own.
That’s all we have time for today. We hope you’re suitably inspired to get out into the snowy wonderland north of Vancouver. As well as inspiring you, we also want to urge you to be safe and careful in everything you do. If you do not have experience driving on icy roads, then perhaps enlist a friend who does. And if you have no experience snowshoeing, read around the topic on our blog. If you have any doubts for your safety, then you should trust us to look after you on one of our guided hikes. After all, we’re a professional company with trained guides who drive and walk in wintery conditions almost every day. Please get in touch if you have any questions!