Mount Seymour Park is
a semi-wilderness area that encompasses Mount Seymour, nearby Mount Elsay and
Mount Bishop. Mount Seymour was named after Frederick Seymour who was Governor
of British Columbia from 1864 to 1869. At a height of 1455m, Mount Seymour overlooks
the bustling metropolitan of Vancouver and offers breathtaking panoramic views
of the sprawling Fraser Valley. The 3,508 hectare park lies in the coastal western
hemlock and mountain hemlock biogeoclimatic zones just north of Vancouver. Forests
of old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar cover the landscape, interspersed
with second-growth coniferous and deciduous trees. At higher elevations, open
meadows display brightly coloured patterns of alpine flowers during the summer.
Scattered throughout the park are several pristine mountain lakes of which Elsay
Lake is the largest. The waters of Elsay, De Pencier, Gopher and Goldie Lakes
drain eastward into the Indian Arm fjord while the remaining lakes feed into the
The park is home to a variety of wildlife including coyotes,
deer, black bears, bobcats and cougars. Birdlife consists of ravens, Canadian
jays, Steller’s jays (the official bird of B.C.), chickadees, kinglets, sapsuckers,
grouse and siskins. During the fall, several species of hawk migrate to the area.
Mount Seymour Provincial Park you'll find a picnic area as soon as you arrive
at the Kilometre 0 parking lot, a good place to begin or end a mountain-bike
ride through the park. Soon afterwards there's another, prettier picnic site where
the Baden-Powell Trail crosses Mount Seymour Rd. You can also picnic at
two impressive viewpoints along the 7-mile (12-km) Mount Seymour Rd. Drive to
the second switchback to reach the Vancouver Lookout, and then on to the
fifth switchback for the Deep Cove Lookout. It's difficult to overstate
how sweeping the panorama is from either of them.
If you enjoy hiking
to viewpoints, there is a wealth of moderate hiking trails in Mount Seymour Provincial
Park in North Vancouver. Use extreme caution when exploring its open summit, especially
in the region around Mount Bishop, at 4,947 feet (1508 m) the tallest peak
in the park. Weather conditions change quickly during storm season, and the route
between peaks can become obscured. Each year this mountain gobbles an unwary hiker
For an easygoing introduction to Mount Seymour Provincial Park, explore
the 3-mile (5-km) section of the Baden-Powell Trail that runs east-west
through the park near the base of the mountain. Watch for its well-marked trailhead
and picnic area where it crosses Mount Seymour Rd. If you wish, begin from the
parking lot just inside the park entrance and follow the Old Buck Logging Road
Trail uphill to reach the Baden-Powell route, a distance of about 1.5 miles
(2.3 km). In total, Old Buck leads 3.4 miles (5.5 km) up the side of Mount Seymour
to a junction with the Perimeter Trail. The lower section of Old Buck has
recently been upgraded for biking (see Mountain Biking, below), which also makes
for easier hiking.
In summer, once the snow has melted, short hiking trails
lead from the parking lot at the top of Mount Seymour Rd to Dinky Peak
and Goldie, Mystery, and Flower Lakes. Distances to these
spots aren't great, the elevation gain is minimal, and hikers are rewarded with
views of Greater Vancouver that are among the best in the Lower Mainland.
For a more extended hike, try the First Lake Trail to Dog Mountain from
the parking lot at the top of Mount Seymour Rd. Plan on taking two hours to complete
the 3-mile (5-km) round-trip journey. Wear waterproof boots, as this trail is
often soggy. If you set your sights on reaching Mount Seymour's summit, try the
moderately difficult 2.5-mile (4-km) hike to Mount Seymour's First and
Second Pump peaks. The trail traverses Brockton Point on its way to the
peaks. Owing to the panoramic view from here, this is a very popular trail. Other
hiking routes on Mount Seymour include the 10-hour, 9-mile (14-km) round-trip
trek to Elsay Lake. The initial section of the trail covers the same route
as used to reach First Pump Peak. From there the trail to Elsay Lake passes Gopher
Lake, then narrows as it enters the most exposed section of the mountain. Trail
markers are often difficult to locate in bad weather along this rugged portion
of the trail, and hikers should not hesitate to turn back. Only experienced, well-equipped
hikers should attempt this difficult trail. An emergency shelter is located at
In the winter, Mount Seymour is a popular skiing destination.
A private enterprise operates commercial skiing facilities including chairlifts,
groomed runs, a ski school and equipment rentals. A snowshoe interpretive program
is also offered during the winter.
Mountain biking is permitted only
on designated trails within the Park boundary. These trails are shown on the park
brochure or on the kiosks at each day use area. It is the responsibility of the
rider to know whether the trail he\she is riding is legal. Fines are issued for
riding illegal trails. There are many restricted trails: Upper Old Buck Access
Trail, Mount Seymour Main Trail, Perimeter Trail, Goldie Lake Trail, Flower Lake
Trail, Mystery Lake Trail, Old Cabin Trail, Dinky Peak Trail, and any other trail
that is not specifically designated for mountain bike use. Bike helmets are mandatory
in British Columbia.
Anglers and horseback riders also use these trails,
so be cautious as well as courteous. Cross the Seymour River north of Riverside
Dr at Twin Bridges to connect with the lengthy Fisherman's Trail in the
Seymour Demonstration Forest.
Wilderness camping is permitted north
of Brockton Point, but no facilities are provided. No open fires are permitted
and campers are required to practice “no trace” camping. The backcountry is very
rugged and the weather can change very quickly. Only those that are experienced
and properly equipped should attempt to hike or camp in the park’s backcountry.
Camping parties must register and pay fees to Mount Seymour Resorts at the base
area of the ski hill. There is a group campsite, a short 50m walk from parking
lot #1. The site offers a pit toilet, large group shelter with wood stove, five
picnic tables, and a single outside group fire pit. The park is open year-round;
access depends on weather and snow-load.
The entrance to Mount Seymour
Provincial Park is located on Mount Seymour Road, just north of Mount Seymour
Parkway in North Vancouver, 15 kilometres northeast of downtown Vancouver via
the Second Narrows Bridge and Mount Seymour Parkway. The communities closest to
the park are Deep Cove, North Vancouver and Lynn Valley.