Metro Vancouver Park Series: Lynn Valley Headwaters

Comments 12 by Rebecca Bollwitt

John and I have pretty much been having a staycation this long weekend. We have friends over on the Island celebrating BC150, we took a day trip to Seattle, and yesterday we spent all of $2.50 in bus fare to experience the most amazing trails Metro Vancouver has to offer. As such, here is another installment of the Park Series featuring Lynn Headwaters.

Metrics: 4,685 hectares with many “easy” to “expert” trails.

How to get there: North of Lynn Canyon Park, the Headwaters open up into vast mountain hiking terrain. Take Lynn Valley Road to its terminus and you’ll hit the parking lot. You can also take the 210 Upper Lynn Valley bus from downtown or 228 from Lonsdale that both let you off in the vicinity.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

There is a basic “loop” trail, and several kilometers of flat creek-side strolling. You will have to check in near the parking lot (and check out when you leave) and be sure to chose your route wisely as even on the easy trails there are several steep portions on the mountain (naturally).

You can choose a relatively gentle, half-day creekside walk along the Headwaters Trail (9.5 miles/15.5 km return) to Norvan Creek, or a full-day trip to either Lynn Lake (15 miles/24 km return) or the top of Grouse Mountain on the rigorous Hanes Valley Loop route (9 miles/15 km one way) via Crown Pass.

Although Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is characterized by a rugged landscape, there’s no need to feel that every hike has to be in the thigh-burning category. Far from it. Two gentle trails, Lynn Loop Trail (1 mile/1.7 km) and Cedar Mill Trail (1.3 miles/2.1 km) follow the creek for much of the way towards Norvan Falls. Pick the length and degree of difficulty that best suit you. [BCParks]

Features: Red cedars that are hundreds of years old and what we dubbed the “interesting boulders” the size of houses that are perched above the Lynn Loop trail. There are outhouses near the parking lot, some trails have muddy patches, there are loose roots and rocks so you definitely need to be careful. There is some great interactive information plus trail photos available on

History: This was the home of North Vancouver’s water supply from 1883 to 1981. “In 1981, when storms damaged the intakes, Lynn watershed was abandoned as the source of North Vancouver’s water supply; in 1985, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park came into being. This extensive wilderness area, logged in the 1800s, is now accessible to hikers.” [] Considered “logged out” by the late 1900’s, this area was also mined for zinc and copper.

Lynn Headwaters MapThe next time I’m in the area I’m going to stop at the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre for a free lesson about the natural history of the park.

Notes: Remember to bring bug spray because when you stop at the top of that 1km incline for some rest, the flies and mosquitoes landing on your legs, feet, back and chest might drive you batty. Dogs are allows on leashes. Be bear aware.

Dozens of people have had to be rescued from the park over the last few years so make sure if you anticipate going up on the trails that you are fully prepared, give yourself lots of time before dusk, check the weather reports and always let someone know where you are going.

Although this is mountain hiking territory, trails like Lynn Loop, Cedars Mill and the lower Headwater route provide nice afternoon walks (40 mins – 2 hours).

12 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. ScrotorrMonday, August 4th, 2008 — 1:43pm PDT

    My favorite blog post all day thanks to the inclusion of “hectares”.

  2. LucMonday, August 4th, 2008 — 2:37pm PDT

    Just a relaxing stroll in the woods, no wild life encounters?
    I see signs of “bear aware” everywhere, but I haven’t seen a bear in BC since I’ve moved to Van 4 years ago, except for the caged ones on Grouse Mouintain.

  3. PhaedraMonday, August 4th, 2008 — 2:38pm PDT

    I really like hiking in this area. I usually do the loop (2+hrs), but would like to try the hike to Norvan Falls, which is about 4+hrs. Let me know if you and John are interested and I’l drive 🙂

  4. Miss604Monday, August 4th, 2008 — 3:27pm PDT

    @ Luc I used to see coyotes all the time but I saw my first bear in Metro Vancouver proper driving down Cypress the other day.

    @ Phaedra we plan on going back for sure, now that we know what to expect, how to get there etc. there are so many possibilities.

  5. kimMonday, August 4th, 2008 — 7:52pm PDT

    Your site makes me miss living in Van! Sometimes I forget the lushness that surrounds the core. (longing sideways glance at your pics…)

  6. RaulMonday, August 4th, 2008 — 11:23pm PDT

    I love Lynn Valley. JT and I go there quite frequently (I am sure I have got some photos on my Flickr). Great post, Rebecca, as always.

  7. fotoeinsTuesday, August 5th, 2008 — 4:27pm PDT

    God, I’m so bad; I had to look up what the conversion was for a hectare …

    I love how you mentioned that it was a mere $2.50 to get away from the city to hike through some beautiful headwaters’ territory, and how you are active “tour-idents” in the city you inhabit.

  8. DaveOThursday, August 7th, 2008 — 2:23pm PDT

    The dang ole bears are roaming through my yard by Lynn Valley a couple nights a week – gotta be smart with your trash. Remember, Headwaters is just a wee but upriver from the free LV suspension bridge, however the swinging bridge can be quite busy on summer weekends.

  9. National Digital Media Day: Lynn Valley Rest Stop » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittThursday, September 25th, 2008 — 4:19pm PDT

    […] collecting some food donations we have headed up to the far reaches of Lynn Valley to visit our friend Dave […]

  10. Metro Vancouver Park Series: Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittFriday, November 21st, 2008 — 3:47pm PST

    […] there: You can take Hwy 1 to the Lynn Valley Road exit all the way up to the park at the end (near Lynn Headwaters) or turn off on Peters Road to the Lynn Canyon Park Entrance and trailhead. You can also get there […]

  11. Spring Break Activities 2009 » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittTuesday, March 17th, 2009 — 9:07am PDT

    […] along with entirely inexpensive yet fun and nature-filled options for a great day out (such as Lynn Headwaters, Burnaby Lake Park, and Blackie […]

  12. Ways to Cool Down in Vancouver This Summer » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittThursday, June 4th, 2009 — 11:47am PDT

    […] a waterpark nearby (like at Fleetwood Park in Surrey). Better yet, finishing up a hike over at the Lynn Valley Headwaters with a quick […]

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