Dog Mountain is one of only a couple hikes that we have been on more than once. We want to make sure we keep going to new places and seeing new things, which is why the number of repeats is down to probably 2. However, this is a great little trail that isn’t too difficult but with spectacular views at the end.
Dog Mountain is part of Mount Seymour and the beginning of the trail head can be found at the bottom of the ski run where the gondola is. We were all geared up in our snow shoes that we managed to rent from the Mount Seymour Resort. Of course you can bring your own or rent from MEC, but if you do get them from the resort, you get a trail pass too. This isn’t needed for Dog Mountain as this is part of Parks Canada but it gives you some other options if you wish.
Seeing as we were already paying for it we did a loop around these. They aren’t too extensive or difficult but it’s a nice little warm-up none the less. After an hour we would make our way to the start of where we wanted to be. Because it’s quite accessible and next to a resort Dog Mountain is busier than a lot of the other trails that we have been on. So if you wan somewhere for some isolation, this isn’t the hike for you. But as a result of many people the trail in the snow is pretty pact down and it feels impossible to get lost. With the path so well trodden it’s so much easier on the legs and feet. The toes grip into to hard snow pretty well. There are some hikers in trailers only and although on the flats it’s no real problem, on the hills it was guaranteed to be more difficult
Anyway, we all had the snow shoes and had no problems at all. We reach First Lake which by now of course is completely frozen over and covered in snow, so there’s no worries about crossing this. Here there are a number of people congregating with their kids, eating pack lunches and it really is a scene of a classic Canadian Family outing (one of the days we went was on BC Family Day). One of my favourite parts of this trail in winter, is that you cross the footbridge over one of the creeks. When you look down though you realise the snow is over 5ft deep and it’s just a surreal moment that I’m walking at head height of those summer hikes.
The lake is the only real opening throughout the whole walk until the view point, and so either side, like any of these winter trails, is a wonderland that you feel like you would want to explore even further, creating your own trails. Alas, we don’t but it’s a cosy and easy enough to just enjoy it for what it is.
On the first time I did this, I had actually named it Dog S@#t Mountain. As the name suggests, there were plenty of people that didn’t find the need to pick up their mess behind them. Maybe because the snow was white, it was impossible to miss. The other times that I have been there though, there were no issues really.
After about 45 minutes from setting out the trail made a last ascent and we could see the clearing ahead of us. Now the weather had been absolutely beautiful on the days we did these hikes. Clear Blue Sky, and so once we got to the view point that was Dog Mountain, it really did not disappoint.
Firstly, Grouse Mountain and the valley between Mt Seymour was absolutely stunning. I mean, what a treat to see from above and so closely these snowy tree covered mountain sides. West we could see Vancouver Island and the gulf islands. South of that the Olympic Mountains in Washington with Downtown Vancouver is sitting pretty in the foreground. Out to the east was the view of the day. We always try to see it if we can on a clear day and today was one of them; Mount Baker looming over everything before it. Despite the trail not really being that interesting (as I am sure you can tell just from this post) the end really is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rewards greatly out weight the effort to get there. It’s this I suppose is why it’s so popular.
I don’t think you need to be too fit in order to complete this trail, so it’s a perfect introduction to hiking for people like my 16 year old brother who hates ‘walking’.