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A Hike On The Whyte Lake Trail In West Vancouver

A Hike on the Whyte Lake Trail in 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 alone on this trail alone and never felt scared. 

The start of the Whyte Lake trail in West Vancouver

The start of the trail in West Vancouver

Good signage along the Whyte Lake Trail

Good signage along the Whyte Lake Trail

Whyte Lake Trail Info

The Whyte Lake trail is only 2.9 kilometres 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. At the first junction turn left onto the signed Whyte Lake Trail. That’s where the 2.9 kilometres starts. You can actually do a loop and return to the Horseshoe Bay trailhead if you’ve left a car there.

"It's temperate rain forest on the Whyte Lake Trail"

It’s old growth forest on the Whyte Lake 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

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 trail

I rarely saw anyone but runners on the trail

"Reflection in Whyte Lake on a sunny day"

Reflection in Whyte Lake on a sunny day

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.

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.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The Whyte Lake hike in West Vancouver

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 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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