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Snowshoeing At Grouse Mountain In North Vancouver

Snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver

With more darkness than daylight and my energy levels falling precipitously in December, I know it’s time for some fresh air, mountain scenery and a dose of happy hormones. Cue a half day of snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver to make me feel happy and alive again.

"The top of Grouse Mountain"

The top of Grouse Mountain

It’s busy in December at the top of Grouse Mountain

The top of Grouse Mountain can be a zoo in December – but in a good way. There are families galore skiing, skating, sledding, checking out the reindeer and some of them are even snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain.

If it’s a weekend it’s best to head to Grouse Mountain first thing in the morning before the crowds form. Getting to the starting point via the Skyride does not come cheaply. For adults it’s $59.00 in December 2020 which is a lot if you’re only planning to snowshoe. If you’re a local you can buy a yearly pass for between $139 and $199 depending on the benefits you want. 

Kids admiring the reindeer

Kids admiring the reindeer (that they bring up in the Skyride)

If you don’t have snowshoes you can rent them at the Fireside Hut beside the skating pond. It will cost you $20 for a full day or $15 for two hours. Strap them on and off you go. The trails start right beside the skating pond.

You have a choice of trails for snowshoeing 

If you’re new to snowshoeing or you just want a quick dose of mountain air then take an easy stroll on the Blue Grouse Loop – a green marked trail.

My preference is to get away from the crowds and do about a three mile loop that climbs Dam Mountain and heads out along Thunderbird Ridge. This choice gets the heart pounding and the blood pumping. Best of all, the views are fantastic.

"Snowshoeing on top of Grouse Mountain"

Snowshoeing on top of Grouse Mountain

"The flat section heading towards Dam Mountain"

The flat section heading towards Dam Mountain

I was pleasantly surprised at how great the conditions were for early December.

Massive amounts of snow some years by December on Grouse Mountain

Massive amounts of snow some years by December on Grouse Mountain

Lots of snow for snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain

So much snow as you near Dam Mountain

The snowshoe trail up Dam Mountain is very steep in places. I like to bring ski poles with me to make it a tad easier both going up and coming down. That way it’s more of a full body workout too. Despite the proximity to the top of Grouse Mountain I still take a backpack with some extra clothes, a flashlight and a few bars. Just in case.

You can register before you climb up to Dam Mountain which I think is a very good idea, especially under stormy conditions or when you’re by yourself. Just don’t forget to drop in the slip of paper when you pass by at the end so parks people know you’re safe.

"Hiker-snowshoer registration"

Hiker-snowshoer registration

It only took me about 45 minutes to reach the top of Dam Mountain – and that was with plenty of stops to take pictures. Some families were struggling on the steep pitches so definitely allow more time. From the top of Dam Mountain the views are sublime. You can see the back ranges and the whole of the lower mainland plus Washington State.

Grouse Mountain snowshoeing and enjoying views of the back range from the top of Dam Mountain"

Views of the back range from the top of Dam Mountain

Views of the lower mainland from Dam Mountain

Views of the lower mainland from Dam Mountain

Descend the way you came (steeply at times) or head off over the top of Dam Mountain.

Then you can walk out the ridge and do a big loop that adds more mileage. It’s not hard but it will take longer to return this way and after a snowfall you may find yourself breaking trail.

Snowshoe trail near the ski hill at Grouse Mountain

Snowshoe trail near the ski hill at Grouse Mountain

Looking down to the Grouse Mountain Lodge

Looking down to the Grouse Mountain Lodge

After a few short hours out on snowshoes I felt infinitely better. The combination of exercise and fresh air in December goes a long way to keeping me happy.

Travel from fall to winter on the Grouse Mountain Skyride

Travel from fall to winter on the Grouse Mountain Skyride

More Grouse Mountain facts

  • The Skyride starts at 8:45 AM during the week and at 8:15 AM on the weekend.
  • Parking is $4 all day in the lower parking lot but free on the street. You must park on the west side of the street or you will be ticketed.
  • There are coffee bars, cafes and fancy restaurants at the top. There is a Starbucks at the bottom of Grouse Mountain.
  • You can rent winter clothing.
  • You can buy your Skyride tickets online.

Where to stay in North Vancouver 

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

There are a couple of top-notch hotels in the Shipyard District at the bottom of Lower Lonsdale – both offering superb views of Burrard Inlet and Stanley Park.

I’s recommend the The Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier or the Seaside Hotel North Vancouver.

Further reading on things to do in and near Vancouver

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain in North 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

This Post Has 15 Comments
  1. After reading your post I think I know what my next weekend’s plan is going to be 🙂 being stuck here down in the city during the working week gets can get pretty grim and right now I can only find refuge in reading blogs like these and dream about getting out there!

  2. I’m not normally one for winter and I have never snowshoed before but I have to say the views from the top definitely look like they are worth braving the cold 🙂 Lovely photos!

  3. I freaking hate snow and winter but this looks damned dreamy. If I were a kid, this is definitely where I’d find santa.

  4. WOW..Grouse Mtn is more beautiful than I remembered…would LOVE to try snow shoeing again,,,can”t wait to get to Muskoka for New Years…got any tips on the size and kind of snow shoes to rent/buy?? June

  5. I’m going snowshoeing this coming Monday evening at Grouse and was googling up what the experience would be like because this is my first time, then I saw your blog. Nice pictures and nice log of your adventure. Hope I’ll have as much fun! Free snowshoe rental would be great!

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