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 Seymour River.
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.
In 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 or two.
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 Elsay Lake.
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.
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