The best snowshoeing locations in British Columbia

snowy winter mountain landscape

There are many great things to do in British Columbia (BC) during winter.

Some include skiing and snowboarding.

But there is a lot more on offer than simply downhill sports!

Have you tried snowshoeing?

It’s an awesome alternative way to check out the beautiful scenery in BC, and you’ll get some exercise. Win-win!

Read further to find out more on:

Snowshoeing in Joffre lakes, Canada

What are the five benefits of snowshoeing?

  1. It’s exercise, therefore good for cardiovascular health!
  2. Sunlight during winter can also provide you with vitamin D – an essential vitamin.
  3. It may help you connect with nature – spending time in nature can also lower stress.
  4. For many trails there are no fees, making it an inexpensive adventure.
  5. It is a fun activity you can do with family or friends.

Is snowshoeing harder than hiking?

Snowshoeing is certainly more difficult than hiking as you often have to use more energy, the weather is colder and you will need extra equipment.

That being said, snowshoeing is similar to hiking, making it easy to learn.

Also, trails are available for all levels from beginners to advanced.


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Is snowshoeing harder than skiing?

Conversely, snowshoeing is easier than skiing.

The reason is that it’s easier to learn, and it’s not as rigorous.

Generally snowshoeing doesn’t require as much equipment as skiing.

So snowshoeing is a good place to start!

person skiing in the mountains

What else do I need to know before going snowshoeing?

If you’ve snowshoed previously, you may already know that before going on your adventure, there are a couple of things to consider, such as:

  • Wear the correct gear – warm and waterproof!
  • Have the essentials with you – extra food and water, a first aid kit, etc.
  • Check the avalanche forecast – you may need to take extra precautions
  • Check for bear activity before your adventure
  • Do not litter! – Let’s not take away the aesthetic and harm nature and animals
  • Check COVID-19 restrictions for the trail you are planning to snowshoe

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Where can I snowshoe in BC?

Garibaldi Lake Trail

Garibaldi Lake Trail is located near Squamish-Lillooet Regional.

During the winter months, Garibaldi Lake Trail gives you the opportunity to snowshoe!

On this breathtaking trail, you will first be brought by Barrier Lake and Lesser Garibaldi Lake, followed by the tranquil Garibaldi Lake.

Note that since July 2021, it is required that you reserve a free day permit prior to arriving.

This trail’s difficulty is rated hard, unless you have prior experience with long-distance and uphill hiking, then it could be considered moderate.

  • Distance of trail: 18.2 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately six hours
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: not allowed

Snowshoe Grind

The Snowshoe Grind is the winter version of Grouse Grind located in North Vancouver.

Although there are a few steep sections, it is not as steep as Grouse Grind.

Hence the Snowshoe Grind is rated as moderate.

The view you have is weather-dependent.

If the sky is clear, you will be able to look out onto Vancouver, Mount Baker, and the Pacific Ocean.

That is not to say that if the sky is filled with snow clouds you will not have a picturesque view!

Although the trail is free, you will need a general admission ticket for the Skyride.

During winter the trail is accessible from November to April.

  • Distance of trail: 4.3 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately one hour
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: not allowed

Joffre Lakes

The Joffre Lakes is a remarkable place to snowshoe located north of Pemberton.

It consists of three lakes – Lower Joffre, Middle Joffre, and Upper Joffre.

Note that the parking area is not cleared from snow regularly – you will either have to dig a parking spot yourself or drive to Cayoosh or Cerise Creek to park.

Seems like an adventure? That’s a proportion of the experience of visiting the snowshoe paradise.

This trail is rated as moderate.

You will need to reserve a free day-use pass for this trail.

For snowshoeing, you can go to the Joffre Lakes from November to April.

  • Distance of trail: 11 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately five to six hours
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: not allowed

Hollyburn Mountain

Hollyburn Mountain is located in Cypress Provincial Park in Vancouver.

Although it is a moderate-rated trail, it’s friendly for beginners!

This trail will offer you a splendid view of the city and mountains nearby once you reach the top.

Snowshoeing here is possible from November to May.

  • Distance of trail: seven km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately three to four hours
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: allowed

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Bowen Lookout

Bowen Lookout is another trail located in Vancouver.

If you would like an easier trail, this is it!

At the end of the trail, you will be able to look out onto Bowen Island and Howe Sound river.

Snowshoeing takes place between November to April.

  • Distance of trail: 4.2 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately one hour and a half to two
  • Route type: out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: allowed

Frozen Elfin Lakes Melting In Spring

Wedgemount Lake

Wedgemount Lake is a steep, difficult trail located near Whistler.

Due to its difficulty, not many people will choose this trail for snowshoeing, but it is ideal if you like a challenge and want to stay in a winter wonderland.

You can stay in a hut that overlooks the lake in a valley surrounded by snow-filled mountains.

Note that you will need to make a reservation to stay in the hut overnight.

You can snowshoe here from November to May.

  • Distance of trail: 18 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately seven to 10 hours
  • Route type: roundtrip
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: not allowed

Dog Mountain Trail

Out of the many trails on Seymour Mountain, Dog Mountain Trail is a popular one.

It is situated in North Vancouver.

This is more of an easy-going trail making it suitable for beginners and families.

Once you reach the top, you will have a marvellous outlook on Vancouver.

Available from November to April for snowshoeing.

  • Distance of trail: 4.5 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately two hours
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: allowed

First Peak

Another noteworthy trail in Mount Seymour is the First Peak.

If you would like a more challenging hike than the Dog Mountain Trail, try First Peak!

Once you reach the top of the first peak you will have a compelling view – especially if the weather is clear.

This trail can be quite busy on the weekends and during the holiday seasons.

The rating of this trail is moderate to difficult.

  • Distance of trail: eight km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately 3.5+ hours
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: allowed

Elfin Lakes

The Elfin Lakes trail is in the Garibaldi Provincial Park located near Squamish.

It consists of two lakes that may not catch your eye as much during winter as they do during the summer due to the snow.

This trail is known for its continual beautiful scenery as you snowshoe and its scenic view of mountains once you arrive at the alpine meadows.

After 5km, there is the Red Heather Shelter where you can warm up.

You can continue to go to the Elfin Lakes Hut which is usually open to sleep overnight once you make a reservation online – note that due to COVID-19 it may be closed.

It is a moderate-rated trail but long.

You require a day-use pass here.

This trail is available for winter from November to July.

  • Distance of trail: 22 km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately seven – 10 hours
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: not allowed

Snowshoeing woman in Basin Mountain

Black Mountain

The Black Mountain trail is in Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver.

This trail is not as busy as Hollyburn or Bowen Lookout.

Nonetheless, the trail is filled with fantastic views of The Lions, Howe Sound, and Vancouver!

Although the trail is free, you will need a backcountry access pass.

Its difficulty is moderately rated.

  • Distance of trail: seven km
  • Time taken to complete: approximately two and a half to three hours
  • Route type: partial-loop
  • Cost: free
  • Dogs: allowed

Which location would you prefer to visit first? Let us know in the comments below!

*Updated On: December 21 2021

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