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Whyte Lake Trail Hike, West Vancouver

You won’t go wrong at any time of the year with a hike on the Whyte Lake trail in West Vancouver. It’s the perfect outing if you have one to three hours. The trail takes you through beautiful old growth forest with a lush under-story. Often you can hear the wrens singing away and you may even spot a barred owl. Though there are bears in West Vancouver I never saw so much as bear scat let alone a bear on the dozens of occasions that I hiked this trail. Nonetheless be bear aware. 

I usually hiked the Whyte Lake trail alone and never once felt scared but before you hike it, I’d suggest reading Tips for Staying Safe in Bear Country .

The start of the Whyte Lake trail in West Vancouver
The start of the trail in West Vancouver
Good signage along the trail
Good signage along the trail

Whyte Lake Trail information

The Whyte Lake trail is only 2.9 km one way. But you have to access the trail via the Nelson Canyon Trail or via the steep trail from the Horseshoe Bay trailhead.

If you hike via the Nelson Canyon Trail  – which is signed as the Trans-Canada Trail, then hike up the rough road and turn right at the small trail near the water tower (well signed). Continue up for about 10-15 minutes through second growth forest. At the first junction turn left onto the signed Whyte Lake Trail. That’s where the 2.9 km starts. You can actually do a loop and return to the Horseshoe Bay trailhead if you’ve left a car there.

There's old growth forest along the trail
There’s old growth forest along the trail
There's never a shortage of water along the Whyte Lake Trail
There’s never a shortage of water at any time of the year

Access via the Seaview Trail

Alternatively walk east along Marine Drive to the Seaview Trail all the way to the end. Go north up and under the big bridge, turn right onto the old highway and cross the old bridge; voila – you’re at your starting point. Allow at least two, perhaps three hours to hike the complete loop.

"One stream crossing"
One stream crossing
Parts of the trail can be very muddy
Parts of the trail can be very muddy
I rarely saw anyone but runners on the Whyte Lake hike
I rarely saw anyone but runners on the trail
Whyte Lake has so many different moods
Whyte Lake has so many different moods
The dock at Whyte Lake
The dock at the lake
Look out for the slimy banana slugs
Look out for the slimy banana slugs
The understory is particularly pretty
The understory is particularly pretty
The boardwalk is made from wood milled on site
The boardwalk is made from wood milled on site
My dog loved doing this hike
My dog loved doing this hike
Map of the Whyte Lake Trail
Map of the trail

Getting to the trailhead

There are several options depending on what direction you want to hike. The trail can be accessed from Westport Road just south of the Upper Levels Highway via a hike up Nelson Canyon. Or you could park at the trail head close to Horseshoe Bay at Exit #1. That’s not as pretty an approach and it’s extremely steep.

Whyte Lake fishing

I’ve seen lots of fisherman over the years and plenty of fish at surface – but I don’t think they get too big.

Dogs on the trail

Dogs are allowed off leash on all the trails approaching Whyte Lake. They are supposed to be on a leash on the Whyte Lake Trail.

If you plan to hike in West Vancouver this trail is an excellent choice.

Further reading on things to do in the lower mainland

Don’t forget to check out Tourism Vancouver’s website for more information.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The Whyte Lake hike in West Vancouver

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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