Capilano Mountain

Capilano Mountain near Lions Bay, BC


This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars
16 kms
4hours
difficult
Hiking
Fall
Lions Bay, BC
User trailrunner

It is well built and laid out trail, yet somewhat overgrown in the opening in lower elevations and very difficult to follow in the treeless alpine so it would be easier to find own route up at peak area. There are numerous beautiful spots along the way from Beth lake, old growth forest stands, beautiful alpine meadows and rocky views, various lakes and tarns, and view of great mountains in all directions.

Directions:

From Vancouver; Get off the first and only sign for Furry creek from Sea-to-sky hwy. You reach 3way stop sign with “discover furry creek” sign in front; turn left. Then another 3way stop sign for Furry creek golf club; go straight. The road start going up steeply then soon you see the stop sign with turn off for Furry creek Dr; turn right here. Stop the odometer to 0 here. Soon you go past this sign & gate. Gate doesn't seem to get locked up at all recently.

Here are some major forks before reaching “trail head”. There is a three way fork at 1.5k at quarry; take far right.

At 1.9k a fork with yellow gate to right; go straight.

At 2.8k there is a sharp fork to right; go straight again(no photo).

At 3.7k there is a fork of left or right; take left which looks more overgrown. This road will start scratching your car in 500m or so, then reach another fork at 4.6k. This fork at 4.6k should be the parking area “trail head” for Capilano mountain.

Now you might choose to park your car at 3.7k turn off area to avoid any possible scratching. It is only 900m to the trail head.


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By chipswallacePosted By: chipswallace  - Fri Oct 07 16:41:25 UTC 2016 Not Rated Comment I just contacted the manager of the mine company who finished up work in the area. He informed me that the area will always be closed to the public for safety reasons and the roads are for industrial use only. Hope this helps!
By trailrunnerPosted By: trailrunner  - Fri Oct 22 16:09:56 UTC 2010 This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars Upside
Stunningly beautiful area of changing scenery. Expect very few people even in the dead of summer when Lion's mtn is packed with people. Despite the trail condition & difficulty to follow, it is very much worth going there on any sunny day. Most beautiful amongst the north shore mountain hikes.
Downside
Trail is not clearly traceable & marking difficult after reaching alpine. Impossible to follow at peak area. Need to set the line and scramble on one's own. Trail not suitable for fast speed running.
Comment
I heard this is a pretty area and yes today Capilano mountain area was stunningly beautiful â?? kind of similar to Panther peak on Sunshine coast; Lakes, tarns, large pure oldgrowth stands, alpine scenery, great view on all directions, warm air blows up from Vancouver direction. Since there are quite a few great postings of Capilano mtn, this trip note covers some basic dummy elements to reach this great mountain peak without getting lost. Generally the trail was satisfactory though I felt flagging was sometimes not enough after the saddle(1400m elevation?), and at sheer rock alpine before the peak ascent it was not possible to follow.

The whole trip from the trail head to peak was 137mins(including about 10-15mins getting lost), return was 108mins. Run pacing of majority section was moderately fast, except the pacing was very slow or kept stopping at peak area & below peak sheer rock alpine area due to route finding difficulty(ascent& descent). Also the descent of north face of watershed ridge due to slippage. Basically the entire ascent is runnable if there is no need to reorient self to find flagging. Descendingwise runnable except all steep sections that were too slippery to even walk. Due to the condition of the trail I found it impossible to gain good speed like on some other northshore or Whistler area mountains.

It was such a warm nice day & beautiful surroundings I spent about 40mins at alpine area below the peak to wonder around on the way back. When I got back to Vancouver, the temperature was lower here. If you haven't done Capilano mountain, I definitely recommend it.

I divide the trip note to 4 parts as below;
1/4 â??TRAIL HEADâ??(4.6k from the start of gravel road at Furry Creek ) FROM VANCOUVER
2/4 â??TRAIL HEADâ?? TO BETH LAKE
3/4 BETH LAKE TO CAPILANO WATERSHED RIDGE
4/4 CAPILANO WATERSHED TO PEAK

Here is the map of where I went; solid red is established trail, dotted red is flagging I could not follow, blue is own scrambling route.


= = = = = = = = =

1/4 â??TRAIL HEADâ??(4.6k from the start of gravel road at Furry Creek)FROM VANCOUVER

Get off the first and only sign for Furry creek from Sea-to-sky hwy.
You reach 3way stop sign with â??discover furry creekâ?? sign in front; turn left.

Then another 3way stop sign for Furry creek golf club; go straight.

The road starts going up steeply then soon you see the stop sign with turn off for Furry creek Dr(gravel road); turn right here. Set the odometer to 0 here.

Within 200m you would go past this sign & gate. I saw 4 cars parked and a couple of motor bike guys beyond this gate on this trip.

Following are some major forks before reaching â??trail headâ??.

There is a three way fork at 1.5k at quarry; take far right.

At 1.9k a fork with yellow gate to right; go straight.

At 2.8k there is a sharp fork to right; go straight again.

At 3.7k there is a fork of left or right; take left which looks more overgrown. This road goes over a bridge shortly, then will start scratching your car in 500m or so, then reach another fork at 4.6k.


This fork at 4.6k should be the parking area â??trail headâ?? for Capilano mountain. Trail goes on the right of the fork.

Now you might choose to park your car at 3.7k turn off area to avoid any possible scratching. It is only 900m to the trail head.


2/4 â??TRAIL HEADâ?? TO BETH LAKE
Trail goes along the old logging road on only a slight incline. It starts with car passable width, then in less than a km, it narrows down to just a trail, then soon that trail itself is partially covered by some plants. There were numerous water bars on the way. The old logging road soon swings a uphill to increase incline, well the real trail starts more or less here. Grass coverage of trail is most dense at this point. As you soon go under the canopy trail gets pretty much exposed. There are some old growth blowdowns, and it is somewhat confusing to follow the flagging there. Soon you will reach beautiful Beth lake.

3/4 BETH LAKE TO CAPILANO WATERSHED RIDGE
When you get to Beth lake, there is a messy slippery log jam to cross(to the right) the creek that flows out of the lake. The trail turns downhill again after crossing the creek here. The trail soon goes uphill and goes back around the ridge surrounding the lake on the right. After several old growth windfall sections that are somewhat hard to follow the flagging, soon you will reach the saddle with some ponds and north view(Skypilot etc.) You can view the peak used to tower over Beth lake in close range from here towards south. From here, whole trip is scenic on sunny day. I needed sunglasses. As the trail reaches towards the watershed ridge, there are gentle incline boulderfields and rock faces to ascend.


4/4 CAPILANO WATERSHED TO PEAK
Once you go over the watershed, suddenly quite different south view opens up. Incline is small for a while till you start the Capilano peak ascent. The trail goes sometimes under the trees, sometimes on alpine meadows, while gradually increasing sheer rock exposure. As the rock exposure increases, cairns replace flagging so my attention changed. From this point, following trail becomes rather challenging. I lost the trail around this area several times until I looked at the face of the peak(looked familiar from spectrumâ??s pic in 2008 posting) and regain confidence. So I went down to the below-peak-lake, then traversed the peak face diagonally up zig-zag way in a similar route as suggested in his posting and somehow made it to the peak. This peak has made up of many terrace like step rock formations and it is difficult for a beginner to ascend though it doesn't look so from a distance.
At the descent from the peak I noticed there is a trail to go way out west side of the peak but soon I lost it and came down in zig-zag way. Also it would be very important to remember how to reconnect with the trail when you come down because the alpine area is quite large without much of landmark and you can easily get lost.

SUMMARY ON KEEPING WITH THE TRAIL FLAGGING;

-Carefully Watch for flagging at blowdown area.
-At Beth lake trail swings downhill temporarily after crossing the creek.
-Focus on cairns for following the trail past treeline.
-I found peak trail was impossible to follow. Easiest way was to go zig-zag to follow plant growth skipping terrace formation steps(2-10m high).
-Remember clearly where the trail starts again when you comedown from the peak.



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