The trail head is at the Eagle Ridge exit from the Upper Levels highway (99 before Horseshoe Bay),look for the sign just off of the parking lot (see photo). This spot is about four hundred feet above sea level. The first few hundred yards of trail is a singletrack trail which lasts only a 1/4 mile or so and then joins a firetrail/watershed access road. This section is within forest and parts are quite rocky, but easy to navigate since it is uphill. At the top of this hill, the trail takes a sharp right and heads into a well canopied section of forest, with a soft bark mulch forest floor and a few stream crossings. You emerge from the forest onto the first scree slope (Elev 2,000 ft) about half way to peak time. This is an open area of large rocks and boulders separated by sections of very steep switchback trail (see photos). In numerous places the trail comes to rocks or trees growing around rocks where the step up in the trail is 2 feet or more. On the way up there are absolutely spectacular views back over the Strait of Georgia and the Gulf Islands the best being at Eagle Bluff (Elev 3,550 ft) you get an incredible sweeping view where you can see all the way from Mount Garibaldi in the north (near Whistler) out over the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and the entire Strait of Georgia, the Olympic Mountains in Washington state, Downtown Vancouver's skyline and finally Mount Baker with its classic volcano shape on the eastern skyline (see photo). After Eagle Bluff, the trail enters high country evergreen forest, with a soft forest floor, winding around a number of pretty alpine lakes. This part of the trail is somewhat rolling, although there is in fact still a net elevation gain of 450 ft to the Black Mountain peak. There is often a lot of mud in this high country part of the trail in the summer with snow tending to stay in places well into July and August these past few years.
*note time of 5 hours is round trip with experienced 5 year old hiker (estimate 4 hours if adult only)
Directions: Starts at Cypress Bowl Ski area near N. Vancouver.
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Posted By: Jaclyn
- Sat Jul 06 19:32:55 UTC 2013
CommentI would rate this trail easy at the beginning, then moderate to difficult at the end. We started at the Whyte Lake parking lot and ended at the Cypress ski hill parking lot as we chose not to come back down the way we went up. It was very challenging on the ascent to Eagles Bluff, with one stretch where we were crawling over huge boulders and then a steep climb up through the trees, resembling the grouse grind- or maybe we were tired as we carried a ton of water on our backs being such a hot day and not knowing what to expect on the trail ahead. There were several spots where you would have to stretch and climb to get over large rocks on a steep mountainside, holding on to roots. This is why we chose not to come down the same way we went up as we would have been sliding down on our butts I think to avoid any injuries. The hike down to the parking lot in cypress is a simple gravel trail and much much easier on the knees. We didn't see anyone on the Baden Powell trail until we arrived at Eagles Bluff and now I know why!!! Lol. In total it took us 7 hours to do the hike with many stops along the way as one of our group was a photographer and there were so many gorgeous view points along the way! The weather was beaming at the top and very few spots of snow left, if any. We were told there was a mother bear and her cubs on the other side of Cypress bowl in the meadows but we never saw them. Overall I'm glad we did the hike once as it was well worth the view at the end. The best view is from Eagles Bluff and there wasn't much to see through the trees at Black Mtn except the gorgeous snow capped Lions. Happy hiking!</br></br>
Posted By: jZee52
- Mon Dec 10 01:32:48 UTC 2012
UpsideGreat trail to a wonderful viewpoint
Posted By: dustansept
- Sun Jul 31 20:41:01 UTC 2011
UpsideGreat View, great workout. Overall a wonderful hike. DownsideHard on the knees coming down. Still worth it though. CommentHike took about 3hrs at a decent clip in good weather. Saw a few hikers on the way and met hikers at the top that came from the cypress route (easier)
Photos from the hike posted at http://wixmymordsup.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/scaling-the-walls-of-black-mountain/
Posted By: trailrunner
- Sun Jul 11 01:39:12 UTC 2010
UpsideWhat I liked; quite a varied interesting trail from flat wide old logging road, steep switch back, boulder field, gorgeous view points, & alpine forest. No bugs in pond area either. DownsideWhat I didn't like; boulder field and some gravel sections are difficult to run. Some marking of trail system is unclear especially at boulder fields, gravel sections, exposed rock sections, & alpine flat land. Some creek bed trail sections are very tricky for twisting ankle on way down CommentCONTENT Started from Baden Powell where Kneeknacker endurance race took place few hours ago. It starts as a hard packed abandoned road(old Sea to sky hwy) which goes below current Sea to sky hwy, then you take right to go up the hill before the bridge crossing. The gravel road continues and soon turns into a high traffic trail under the tree, which looks like one of Stanley park type of trails. It goes under the forest, creek valleys, some mini ridges, then eventually start steeper climbing. The trail gradually becomes less hard packed less pronounced, and soon you need to look at red markers.
First fork you want to watch out is after you hit some moist flat valley after first steep climb. Take the fork to the right. There is minor white fist sized gravel exposed slide area which is not clearly marked but go straight up till you see another marker or trace. Then it goes through very steep switch back in a forest followed by a steep large bolder field at which you stop running(or discontinue running gait), and start crawling on fours. Eventually you start running again & get to rock exposed steep climb area where you see a gorgeous view of Vancouver-Horseshoe Bay-Bowen Island. Alpine forest starts and soon you will come to several ponds and bunch of forks. This is where I stopped and turned around as I heard it is quite confusing and easily get lost.
TIME 77mins to the plateau ponds from the gate. Could go around 65mins if tried. Fast runner should be able to do in 45-50mins or less. Guys running at Kneecknacker race would have been where I was in around 50minutes, and they have to cover more than 4times as distance for the entire race. Return was 95mins as I twisted ankle and walked.
Posted By: jamiebower
- Wed Jun 02 05:57:13 UTC 2010
Upsidewell marked out, really challenging trail, great views, close to vancouver, feeding the Whisky Jacks (birds) at the top of black mountain. They will fly and land right on your hand, that was great!!! Downsidetough terrain, would recommend hiking boots Commentwent with a couple of friends during the may long weekend, 2010. was great, only snow after you get to the 1100m elevation point.
This was a really challenging trail, I would probably put it between the moderate and hard level. Took me 6 hours up and down with lots of stopping on the way at the different view points.
Posted By: Rambo
- Sat Nov 14 23:21:23 UTC 2009
UpsideIf you survive this, you'll be able to claim to be an advance hiker. DownsideYou might think twice of the why you were hiking there in the first place. CommentJust did the Horseshoe bay to Black Mountain section yesterday (Nov. Friday the 13th 2009). Sky was cloudy but mostly clear. I took the Whyte Lake Trail and it was very nice, very green and wet. Merged on Baden Powell Trail and took the alternate route to the summit. This section was crazy, took me more than two hours to go uphill and what started as 1 cm of snow, became 2 feet of snow on top.
The way down is really hard and i could even say dangerous if you are not careful. The snow was covering the moss and dirt which was sliding. Only experienced hikers should try this part going down Black Mountain to Horseshoe Bay. Going uphill ain't that bad.
Horseshoe Bay to Black Mountain and back, 6 hours.
Posted By: jl258
- Fri May 12 01:50:13 UTC 2006
UpsideGreta trail, with great views and lovely forested areas. DownsideTrailhead at Eagleridge is closed due to pending construction for Sea to Sky Highway. If interested, to get involved in the protest trying to save this area see www.eagleridgebluffs.com Trail can be accessed by TransCanada trail in the meanwhile.
Posted By: amccartn
- Mon Aug 23 16:55:30 UTC 2004
UpsideGreat trail approaching steep ascent. Gorgeous views from the bluffs. DownsideVery steep ascent over last 1,000 vertical feet. Not great on rainy day or for inexperienced hikers.
Posted By: Catalina Policzer
- Fri Mar 19 17:45:03 UTC 2004
UpsideIt's challenging but not overwhelming. The view from the top is awsome. Not too much traffic. DownsideVery steep, lot's of rocky areas. CommentGet there early, as there is not much parking at the bottom.
Posted By: jeannette
- Sat Jun 07 00:23:27 UTC 2003
UpsideAwesome views, trail has good variety. DownsideStaying on the trail and finding the right way is sometimes a bit of a challenge. In some parts, you really have to search for the flagging tape and markers. CommentGreat hike, so be patient while looking for the right route -it's definitely worth the effort.