Doggin’ Vancouver: Where To Hike With Your Dog When In Terminal City

Frederick Arthur Stanley was the sixth Governor-General of Canada, presiding over

a completely uneventful five-year term beginning in 1888. He had the good fortune,

however, to be immortalized by two tangential occurrences during his service. One,

he authorized the equivalent of $48 to purchase a trophy for a hockey

tournament that became the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup and two, he was

in office when one of North America’s most spectacular urban parks opened in

Vancouver.

More than 50 miles of roads and paths twist under majestic cedars, hemlocks and

firs in Stanley Park, located on West Georgia Street, Route 99/1A, on a peninsula

north of town on English Bay. The dogwalk along the 5.5-mile seawall around the

entire peninsula is one of the most popular activities in Vancouver. Started in the

1920s to halt erosion, the stone wall took six decades to completely finish. At nearly

three dozen Vancouver parks, including Stanley Park, dogs are allowed off-leash

from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Just northeast of town is the dog-friendly Cypress Provincial Park. The lure of the

North Shore Mountains looking down on Vancouver brought hikers and skiers by

boat until the opening of the Lions Gate Bridge in 1939. This new easy access

threatened the old growth forests when clear-cut logging began under the guise of

cutting ski trails. Preservation forces aligned to save the trees, including namesake

stands of yellow cypress, and the park was created in 1975.

Alpine canine hiking is convenient to Cypress Parkway on three mountains: Black

Mountain, Mount Strachan and Hollyburn Mountain. The Hollyburn Mountain Trail is

a hardy ascent of about four miles round trip to the summit and the Black Mountain

Loop Trail visits sub-alpine meadows and glacial lakes ideal for a doggie dip. The

full circuit will take about two hours.

Less strenuous fare can be found around the mountain bases. The Yew Lake Trail is

a 30-minute canine hike from the main Cypress Mountain visitor center, on fully

accessible terrain through wetlands and meadows.

Experienced hikers can tackle the Howe Crest Sound Trail but maybe not with your

dog. Small cliffs are negotiated with ropes and you will encounter narrow trail

chutes. The rugged 18-mile trail tops several mountains and is best attempted by

canine hikers in small, well-researched bites.

To reach Cypress Provincial Park take Exit #8 off the Upper Levels Highway in West

Vancouver, and follow the road up the mountain.

copyright 2006