Sandwiched between Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and Mount Seymour
Provincial Park in North Vancouver, the Lower Seymour Conservation
Reserve comprises approximately one third of the 18,000-hectare Seymour
Watershed, and falls under the Operations and Maintenance Department
of the Watershed Division of Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).
The Seymour Watershed is managed for the GVRD's water supply, and
this lower Seymour watershed is managed as a multi-use area secondary
to water management needs.
Greater Vancouver Regional District
The 5,668-hectare reserve contains some of the most spectacular
and diverse landscapes in the Greater Vancouver area. Its alpine
meadows, forested slopes and river flood plains are within minutes
of downtown Vancouver and are easily accessible from many areas
in the Lower Mainland. Formerly known as the Seymour Demonstration
Forest, almost 25 miles (40 km) of roads and recreational multi-use
trails run through the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR).
Trails head off in all directions from the gatehouse at the parking
lot. Take a quick stroll though the forest or a full day trip up
the river. There are over 25 kilometres of hiking trails in the
forest, mostly lengthy but easygoing, with something to suit everyone's
ability. The most challenging ones are the Homestead Trail,
Twin Bridges Trail, and Fisherman’s Trail, which lead
down into the Seymour Valley and follow the Seymour River. Walk
the Forest Ecology Loop Trail (0.25 mile/0.4 km). You’ll
find it on the north side of Rice Lake, a short walk from the parking
lot. Tie in this short walk with a more wide-ranging exploration
of the forest. Maps and an interpretive brochure are available at
From the parking lot it’s a 1.4-mile (2.2-km) walk down to the
Seymour River, from where the Fisherman’s Trail heads north and
Twin Bridges south. The winding Fisherman’s Trail leads to the Mid-Valley
Bridge, a distance of about 3 miles (5 km). Plan on taking two hours
to complete the distance one way.
The Seymour Valley Trailway is a 10-km paved path that winds
through a beautiful diverse forest and crosses scenic creeks and
streams. The Trailway features five picnic sites that include outhouses,
benches, picnic tables and garbage cans. The Trailway is ideal for
joggers, bicycles, strollers, and in-line skaters. Because of the
hilly terrain, the Trailway is not suitable for absolute beginner
in-line skaters. The Trailway was built to replace the popular mainline
service road, which is no longer open to the public due to construction
of several drinking water projects.
way you’ll have one of the best views of Mount Seymour’s deceptively
gentle-looking peaks. Even when the weather is at its hottest in Vancouver,
there’s always a soft breeze blowing through the valley. In summer,
combine a bike ride here with a splash in the Seymour River,
and you have the makings of a perfect recipe for recreation. The last
section of the road is unpaved. Note
that trails are occasionally closed for upgrades, repairs and general
Greater Vancouver Regional District
biking: The North Shore is rightfully renowned for some of the
most challenging off-road mountain-bike trails in the world. Most
of these have only recently been constructed as the popularity of
single-track riding has outpaced road riding. Cyclists would also
do well to consult Darrin Polischuk’s Mountain Biking British
Columbia, a very comprehensive guide for the entire province.
One of the attractions of the North Shore slopes, particularly at
lower elevations, is that trails stay snow-free throughout most
of the winter. This is a prime reason why many of Canada’s elite
mountain-bike riders live and train in North Vancouver.
There are downhill-style trails available for riding, most of which
are suited for intermediate to advanced riders and can be accessed
off various points along Mt. Seymour Road. None of these trails
loop back to the parking areas, so advance preparation must be made
to get back to the parking areas. Most riders travel in teams and
park one vehicle at each end of the trail. There are some trails
that can accommodate a more leisurely ride. These trails can be
accessed from the main parking lot.
style "North Shore" mountain biking to scenic road riding, there
is a wide range of terrain. Several of the hiking trails here are
also open to mountain bikes, including Twin Bridges, Riverside,
and Fisherman’s. Cycling is permitted throughout the forest with
the exception of: the Rice Lake Loop Trail, Homestead Trail, and
the Old Growth Trail. Bikes must be walked along these sensitive
ecosystem routes due to limited visibility and steep slopes.
True to its
former name - Seymour Demonstration Forest - part of the largely
second-growth forest is a manicured showcase for the logging industry.
Much of the undergrowth has been brushed out in places near the
park entrance, which makes for smooth trail riding. Tie in a trip
around the forest with an off-road spin through nearby Lynn
Canyon Park, located immediately south and west of Seymour’s
parking lot. Main trails are all well signed to avoid confusion.
Anglers can drop a line in at Rice Lake, which is stocked with more
than 5,000 Rainbow trout each year. The more adventurous can try
their luck in the Seymour River, reputed to be one of the Lower
Mainland's best steelhead fishing rivers. All provincial fresh water
fishing regulations apply in these areas. Boats and personal floatation
devices or boats are not allowed in the lake. Swimming is not allowed
in Rice Lake, but the Seymour River provides several great places
for a cool dip on a hot day.
& Canoeing: The Seymour River has been used by kayakers and
canoeists since its opening in 1986. The river has beginner to advanced
sections and accordingly Class 1 to 5 waters. Vehicle access to
launch sites is restricted and users must pass through a security
gate. The security personnel will require the group leader to fill
out a brief form that provides details of the visit and contact
information. The group leader must be a member of a a recognized
paddling organization that has an up-to-date annual permit with
the LSCR in order for access to be granted. Please check with your
group or association to see if it is a permitted group.
Education Programs at LSCR
Programs at LSCR include Watershed Tours of Coquitlam Watershed
and Capilano Watershed, Watershed Discoveries School at the Seymour
Watershed (an outdoor science exploration program for children grades
K-6), Natural and Cultural History presentations, and Watershed
Education programs that educate the people of Metro Vancouver to
know where their tap water comes from and understand the value of
Special Events: The close proximity to downtown Vancouver,
the natural features, and the well-maintained facilities in the
LSCR make the area an attractive place to hold special events such
as weddings and birthday parties, as well as running and cycling
Dogs are permitted on designated trails but not north of
Rice Lake Gate. Off-limit areas include the Seymour Valley Trailway,
the Fisherman's Trail (north of the Homestead Trail junction) and
the Rice Lake Loop Trail. Dogs must be on a leash at all times except
on designated off-leash trails. Please show courtesy to other park
visitors by removing your dog's droppings.
Access & Facilities: The LSCR is wheelchair friendly, offering
10 km of smooth pavement on the Seymour Valley Trailway; a low gradient
compacted gravel trail around Rice Lake as well as the Douglas Mowat
Special Fisheries Project. There is also a wheelchair accessible
drinking fountain, wheelchair friendly outhouses, specially designated
parking spaces in the main lot, and access ramps to all public buildings.
The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is open 365 days a year,
from dawn to dusk. Area closures will only occur for public safety
if dangerous wildlife (bears or cougars) persist in an area, if
weather conditions warrant (high wind or heavy rain), and when the
fire hazard has reached an Extreme rating (Fire hazard is assessed
daily from April 1 to October 31 and a rating display board is located
near the parking lot entrance. Check the board and observe any restrictions
when entering the LSCR). The LSCR opens at 7am every morning, with
closure times varying based on the season (5pm November to February,
6pm March & October, 8pm April & September, and 9pm May
at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve include outhouses and
picnic sites that include benches, picnic tables and garbage cans.
The Lower Seymour
Conservation Reserve is located on the North Shore of the Lower
Mainland, at the north end of Lillooet Road. Take exit 22 from Hwy
1 at the north end of the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge.
A large green GVRD sign at the intersection of the parkway and Lillooet
Road points straight ahead on Lillooet to the Lower Seymour Conservation
Reserve (Seymour Demonstration Forest).
Travellers by bus should take the #228 Lynn Valley bus, starting
from the Lonsdale Quay Seabus terminal to Lynn Valley Road and Dempsey
Road, or the #210 Upper Lynn Valley from Downtown Vancouver to Underwood
side of the reserve are Lynn Headwaters
Regional Park to the west and Mount
Seymour Provincial Park to the east.