Hiking the BCMC trail, Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain was our final hike in North Vancouver but it was also my favourite so I couldn’t wait to write about it. There are two trails on this mountain: The Grouse Grind and BCMC trail. The Grouse Grind can be quite crowded so we opted for the quieter BCMC trail instead, especially as it looked a bit more scenic.

If you are looking for a leisurely hike, the BCMC trail is probably not the one to choose. It’s the equivalent of a 200 storey building in height and is a steep, uphill climb all the way. The Grouse Grind is largely steps but the BCMC trail is a tangle of roots, rocks and dirt ledges. It’s my favourite type of hiking even if it’s a bit more precarious under foot.

Golden rule of hiking… always read the warnings:

Trail warning sign

Bear warning sign

We timed this adventure perfectly — the weather was the coolest it had been all week and the air quality had improved after the ongoing BC wild fires.

Dark, wooded trail

As we climbed, the mist got thicker and colder. Mountains always look better in less than perfect weather in my opinion and a few people mentioned how beautiful it looked when we crossed paths.

Tall trees and mist

Silhouettes of trees

Misty forest trail

Moss covered trees in fog

Me hiking up steep trail

As you can see, the trail was pretty mammoth. There are 160 numbered orange markers to help you roughly gauge your progress. Or in my case, how long until our mid way cookie break at marker 80. These markers are good motivation for when your legs start to burn!

Man scrambling up rocks

Orange trail marker

This is me about 2/3 of the way up. As you can see, I was a total sweat bag! I can see why the signs recommend bringing a minimum 1 litre of water. People who hiked up the mountain were easy to spot because their clothes were super sweaty — anyone not caked in sweat was a Gondola go’er.

Me on BCML trail

Me looking like a sweat bagSmiley face cut into tree

These photos don’t really do the scale of everything justice so I made a short video of clips from my phone. Some of them aren’t great quality but at least you can see what it was like. I got a bit of a wobble on a couple of times but I promise I was more stable than I looked.

Me hiking up tree roots

Rugged forest trail

Rocky trail

Two hours and lots of photos later, we approached the summit of Grouse Mountain. The mist hid any decent views below but the hike up was so beautiful it didn’t matter.

Misty summit

Grouse Mountain chalet

Due to the steepness there were a few signs advising it wasn’t safe to hike down. The trail is very narrow in places and I think you could put other people in danger if they had to step to the edge to move out of your way. As much as I would have liked to hiked down we took the Gondola instead. Although there wasn’t much to see, I loved the eeriness of seeing trees creep out of the mist as made our way down the mountain.

Misty tree silhouettes

And that’s our hike on the BCMC trail. We had such a great day! It’s easily one of my all time top 3 hikes. I’m really proud of our bodies for plodding up and up and up. Good work legs, we bloody made it!

Travel notes — public transport to the BCMC trail

The BCMC trail is easy to get to from Central or North Vancouver. From Central Vancouver:

  1. Take the train to Waterfront.
  2. Then board the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay (North Vancouver) — the entrance is in Waterfront station so it’s easy to find. The journey across the water takes around 12 mins and leaves every 15 mins.
  3. Take the 236 bus from Lonsdale Quay to Grouse Mountain. The bus station is opposite the SeaBus entrance/exit. Lonsdale Quay market is a great place to pick some last minute hiking snacks too.

We bought a single use Compass day pass for $10 each which covered all of the transport above. Bargain!

3 Comments

  1. Ooo looks quite scary, like something out of a horror movie with all the mist, I think I would have been scared a bear might be lurking in the trees 😳 Scenery is stunning though but I’m happy to see it whist sitting on a comfy sofa ❤️ Xxx

    • Gemma Evans

      I said to Scott on the day, I didn’t think you’d be keen on the height 🙂 We were a bit worried about seeing a bear to begin with but there were a few other people on the trail too. I’d happily go and do it again!

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