Located about 15 km north of Downtown Vancouver, Mount Seymour Provincial Park is one of the best places to escape the city and explore the surrounding wilderness of the Coast Mountains. Vancouver has to be one of the best cities in the world for outdoor enthusiasts, as there are many interconnected hiking trails across the Burrard Inlet for you to experience the great outdoors. We recently visited one of these incredible spots, taking the popular hiking trail to Mystery Lake and were rewarded with some incredible views of the lake and surrounding backcountry.
Mount Seymour Provincial Park is bordered to the east by Indian Arm and to the west by the Seymour River Valley, and there are many popular trails to explore in the area. Mount Seymour was designated as a Provincial Park in 1936, named after Fredrick Seymour, the second governor of British Columbia. The park has several peaks that you can visit in the 35 square kilometer protected area, including Mount Bishop (1509 meters) and Mount Seymour (1449 meters). Mount Seymour first became a popular place to visit in 1938 when a Swedish Entrepreneur set up shop operating the area as a ski resort, which still exists to this day.
The best part about hiking at Mount Seymour is that you’re able to use the road up to the day lodge of the ski resort which helps to avoid a lot of the elevation change that would be normally required to arrive at these amazing views. The hike to Mystery lake is about 3 km (about 30-45 minutes each way) and wasn’t too challenging. From the parking lot, it is only another 180 meters of elevation to get to the lake, winding around the side of Mystery Peak.
In the summer, Mystery Lake has become a popular destination for locals to hike to. The lake is the perfect place where to come either for a swim, or to leisurely float in something inflatable on the calm waters of the lake. It wasn’t too hot on the day that we visited – and the water didn’t look overly clean – so we didn’t stop for a swim. There are many local hikes that will take you to different alpine lakes of the area, and we actually prefer Cabin Lake on Cypress Mountain if you’re planning to go for a swim.
After taking a few pictures at the lake, we continued to hike around the side of Mystery Peak towards another viewpoint. It was still early in the melting season (we visited mid-June) and there was still snow on the ground at some of the higher elevations, so we had to tread lightly on the deteriorating ground as there was evidence of other hikers having their feet drop through the thin snowpack. After another 20 minutes of hiking, we found ourselves a great viewpoint looking back towards the city above the chairlifts below, and we hiked back down the cleared ski run towards the parking lot.
Vancouver is one of the best cities in the world for hiking, and there are many incredible places on the North Shore where the locals go to escape the city and explore the mountains. There are several great hikes of varying degrees of difficulty that will make your forget that you are less than an hour from the city. Mystery Lake is worth the effort, and we’ve already started planning our next local hike, which we will share with everyone soon.