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Important note: As of May 18, 2018, dogs will no longer be permitted in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. The park has seen a huge increase in visitation over the years, and this includes dog visits. This change is implemented in order to protect the park, its wildlife, and the people who visit it.

With so much terrain to explore, the Sea-to-Sky Corridor is a true paradise for people who like the Great Outdoors and there’s nothing we like more than an adventure in our region’s backyard with our dog by our side!

Snowshoeing is a serene way to explore our beautiful snowy mountain landscape and is the perfect way to fill up on fresh winter air with our furry friend.
While some backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears, there are still some trails that allow our four-legged companion to tag along.
Listed below are our favourite dog-friendly snowshoeing trails in the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains region of BC. And they are free.

VANCOUVER

Dog Mountain 

Dog Mountain Trail is a short and fairly easy 5km-return hike from the free parking lot of Mount Seymour Resort. The views of Vancouver are breathtaking on a clear day and the sunsets are spectacular. Dog Mountain is quite popular, both for dogs and their humans, keeping the trail in the snow well packed down and easy to follow. Ideal for an easy afternoon stroll, or a cheeky glimpse of the sunset with your best furry friend. 

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 5km roundtrip
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Elevation gain: Minimal in 2.2k
How to get there: 
Drive up Mount Seymour in North Vancouver. Park in the day lot 1 (or 5) and walk to the end of the parking lot section. Start at the Mount Seymour Trail kiosk, to the left of the Mystery Peak chairlift. 
More info: 
http://vancouverhiatus.com

Hollyburn Mountain 

Hollyburn Mountain is located in Cypress Provincial Park, only a 30 minute-drive from downtown Vancouver. The short 7km roundtrip offers panoramic 360 views of the Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Georgia Straight and the Lions. The trail is well-marked with poles with reflective lights so that it can be done after dark with a flashlight. For those early risers or sunsets chasers, the trail is so well-marked that it can be done with low light. Just make sure to carry a light and a backup light as the marker poles only reflect light. 

Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7 km roundtrip
Duration: 2-4 hours
Elevation gain: 430m
How to get there:
As you near Cypress Mountain Resort, turn right at the “XC Skiing Area” sign. Drive for about 100m and you will see parking. On your left side you will see a big wooden map kiosk and for the snowshoeing trail, head up to the left following the huge power lines.
More info: 
http://vancouverhiatus.com

Bowen Lookout Winter Trail  

Lady and I admiring the views of the Howe Sound.

Bowen Lookout Winter Trail offers spectacular views of the Howe Sound, Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast. A free backcountry access day pass is required to pass through Cypress Mountain resort and access the backcountry corridors to the Bowen Lookout Winter Trail and other winter hiking trails. 

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3 km roundtrip
Duration: 1-2 hours
Elevation gain: 110m
How to get there:
 The trail starts at the end of the Backcountry Access Corridor, about 30m west of the lower terminal of Eagle Express Quad Chairlift in the alpine ski area.
More info: 
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca

WHISTLER

Cheakamus River 

Cheakamus River Trail is located at the southern end of Whistler just off the Sea-to-Sky Highway. The picturesque trail takes you through beautiful old growth forest and provides great views filled with serenity and silence. You’ll cross a narrow suspension bridge covered with snow, overlooking the turquoise water of Cheakamus River flowing below. 

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4km roundtrip
Duration: 2 hours
Elevation gain: some gradual, short hills 
How to get there: 
Trailhead is located 10 minutes south of Whistler Village just off the Sea-to-Sky Highway. After the lights at Function Junction, turn left and drive about 300m until you see Cheakamus Lake Road on your left. The road is undrivable in the winter but you can park at the edge just before the turnoff. Snowshoe up Cheakamus Lake Road until you get to the passing bridge. After crossing the bridge, you’ll find the trails running along the river. 
More info: 
http://whistlerhiatus.com

Parkhurst Ghost Town 

The Parkhurst Ghost Town Trail will take you through a large meadow with peakaboo views of the mountains before gently ascending through the deep forest along the scenic Green River. Parkhurst was a little logging town nestled on the edge of Green Lake. The town came into being in 1926 and with the years grew in size to include a school and a store. Parkhurst was abandoned in 1966 when the logging industry slowed down. Today, the ghost town makes a very unique and unusual snowshoeing experience to take your dog on.  

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 6km roundtrip
Duration: 3-5 hours
Elevation gain: Some short hills
How to get there:
North of Whistler, just past Green Lake, look for the Wedgemount Lake sign on the highway. Turn right and cross the bridge. You’ll see a sign for Wedgemount Lake and the small Sea-to-Sky sign attached to it. Park here and snowshoe to the right following the Sea-to-Sky Trail signs. If you have a 4×4 vehicle you might be able to park at the Whistler Paintball parking area about 1k further along. 
More info: 
http://whistlerhiatus.com

Flank Trail 

Flank Trail is a scenic and amazing snowshoe trail in Whistler. The trail stretches 40km across the Whistler Valley, from Whistler’s Olympic Park to north of Whistler by Ancient Cedars and Showh Lakes, offering breathtaking views of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The area isn’t to be tackled in a day, rather explored in small sections. The endless trail takes you past beautiful vista points and impressive views of Alta Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake and Green Lake. 

Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length: 40km overall, best explored in small sections
Duration: 2 hours from the Rainbow Trail Parking lot to the Flank Trail viewpoints
Elevation gain: Frequent loss and gain 
How to get there:
There are several entry points from Green Lake south to the Callaghan Valley. The recommended entrance point while snowshoeing with a dog is from the Rainbow Trail Parking. While the Rainbow Trail located to the left of the parking prohibits dogs since it is the watershed that Whistler gets its water from, the marked Flank Trail to the right is where you want to start. The trail slowly climbs up and reaches the Sproatt-Flank Trail where you continue to the right.
More info:
 http://whistlerhiatus.com

PEMBERTON

Joffre Lakes 

Juno taking a break at the second lake.

Located north of Pemberton up on the Duffy Lake Road, Joffre Lakes is one of the most picturesque spots in the region and a real paradise for snowshoe enthusiasts. The hike up to the second and third lake rewards you with unbeatable views of the glacial peaks and the surrounding mountains. When the snow fills the mountains, freezes the lakes and weighs down the trees, you find yourself in serene, white, illuminated beauty.

Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 10km roundtrip
Duration: 4-6 hours
Elevation gain: 400m in 5k 
How to get there: 
Trailhead is located off the Duffy Lake Road, 30km from Pemberton. The well-marked trail begins at the bottom of the lot.
More info: 
http://whistlerhiatus.com

Cerise Creek 

Exploring the trails around Cerise Creek.

A short way along the Duffy Lake Road, just passed Joffre Lakes is the trailhead to Cerise Creek. Relatively short, the hike takes you through pristine forest offering incredible views of Joffre Peak, Mount Matier and Vantage Peak. The trail takes you to the Keith Flavelle Hut, a memorial cabin near the headwaters of Cerise Creek. The popular winter trail offers endless stretches of exploration through a backcountry wrapped in brilliant white snow. 

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Length: 8km round trip
Duration: 3.5 hours
Elevation gain: 305m 
How to get there:
 The winter route is reached from Duffy Lake Road heading towards Lillooet, just after the Joffre Lakes parking lot. Watch for a marker for Cerise Creek at the start of the trail, next to an ‘Avalanche Area’ sign post. Once you are on the trail,  access is fairly easy towards Keith’s hut where you’ll find other trails running from the cabin. 
More info:
 http://www.trailpeak.com

Happy trails and happy tails!

Note: It is important to remember that backcountry travel comes with a degree of risk.  Make sure you follow the Three T’s: trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. For more information, read Adventure Smart. 

Also, be considerate of the on-leash areas, scoop the poop and keep your dog in full control at all times so we can keep those dog paradises open for a long time.