The Baden Powell Trail runs across the North Shore mountains for about 50km from Horseshoe Bay in the west, to Deep Cove in the east. Along the way you climb up the mountains making up Mt Cypress ski resort, cross the feet of Grouse Mountain, Mt Fromme and Mt Seymour before descending into the quaint little village of Deep Cove.
It’s one of the most famous trails on the North Shore and is used by many daily for hikes, runs and mountain biking.
Back in 2020 I completed the Baden Powell hike from Grouse to Deep Cove and have been looking to do the other section for a while now.
The remaining half is from Horseshoe Bay to Grouse Mountain climbing up to the top of Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs and then across the x-country ski area along the bottom of Hollyburn Mountain before a long descent towards Capilano Dam and a short climb back up to rejoin the trail at Grouse Mountain.
Hiking Baden Powell Trail, North Vancouver: Horseshoe Bay to Grouse Mountain
The Baden Powell trail is typically broken down into four sections. From west to East this is Horseshoe Bay to Cypress, Cypress to Grouse Mountain, Grouse Mountain to Lynn Valley and Lynn Valley to Deep Cove.
Starting from Horseshoe Bay there’s a long ascent up to the top of Eagle Bluffs but from there to Grouse it’s almost all downhill.
The Baden Powell is well marked if you’re familiar with the tree tags from hikes around Vancouver. Besides the boulder field on the way up to Eagle Bluffs, most of the terrain is fairly easy to hike up.
I personally prefer the other half of the Baden Powell, but this side has its pluses too! Here’s everything you need to know about hiking this section of the Baden Powell Trail.
Horseshoe Bay to Grouse Mountain
Duration: 3-5 hours mostly hiking since the first section is steep and too much snow to run at the top
Elevation Gain: 1337m
Logistics: How to hike the Baden Powell Trail
We only have one vehicle (our trusty Elvis the Van) and with the prices of gas, we opted to use public transit. You can catch the bus from downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, and then pick up a bus down from Grouse Mountain or rent an EVO.
There are always lots of EVOs in the Grouse Mountain parking lot!
Depending on the time of year you’re hiking (ie. spring or in fall) you’ll likely hike past a lot of streams. Using a Sawyer Squeeze (or similar) filter means you can fill up your water on the go. Alternatively, Cypress Bowl has a water fountain in the cafe and the backcountry registration/washroom hut towards the back of the parking lot.
Can you camp on the Baden Powell Trail?
There is no camping available on the Baden Powell Trail. For that reason, it’s uncommon to complete the entire Baden Powell trail in one day if you’re hiking (unless you plan a super long day!).
Hiking Guide to Baden Powell Trail
Here’s the route I followed when running/hiking the Baden Powell trail.
Baden Powell: Horseshoe Bay to Cypress Bowl
[Baden Powell Hike Trail map]
Starting from the village of Horseshoe Bay we began our climb by running back out of the village and to the start point marked on the Baden Powell trail map above.
Once you cross under the highway, you’ll run on the road for a very short section before making a left where there’s a small parking lot and the start of the Baden Powell Trail.
The trail starts off with a reasonable climb on gravel in the forest with some short steep sections.
You’ll soon come to a junction with a sign pointing you right towards Whyte Lake. Take the left to head towards Eagle Bluffs and the Baden Powell Trail.
You’ll begin to climb again and soon you’ll come out to a BC Parks sign marking the boundary of Cypress Provincial Park. Stick to the Baden Powell Trail as it gets rocky.
There’s a creek to cross over and then the trail climbs steeply up through the forest finally emerging at a boulder field. Take your time navigating the boulder field as a lot of accidents happen here with sprained ankles requiring rescue from SAR. Stick to the right hand side and look for orange markers or spray paint on the rocks as you go up.
After the boulder field, you’ve done the hardest part of the Baden Powell hike but there’s still a bit of a climb to go!
Follow the route up through the trees and the rocks and round the corner to reach Eagle Bluffs. This is a good time to take a break and enjoy the view before you enjoy the descent!
After taking in the views at Eagle Bluffs, walk away from the viewpoint and look for the markers taking you into the forest to continue your Baden Powell hike.
Follow the trail up a small ascent until you come out at Cabin Lake.
The trail can get a bit confusing here either sending you up to Black Mountain or straight back down towards Cypress Bowl and the parking lots. I’d recommend keeping an eye on the GPS for this section, especially if still snow-covered as it was when we went as the trail isn’t super obvious at this point.
When you start descending you’ll follow the trail alongside the ski run right back down to the parking lots and the Cypress Bowl area.
Baden Powell: Cypress Bowl to Grouse Mountain
From Cypress Bowl, there are a couple of restrooms and places to fill your water bottle up before you head off to the next section of the Baden Powell hike.
The Baden Powell picks up again through the forest at the bottom of the Easy Rider Quad Chair. It’s pretty flat through the forest as you go parallel to the road towards the x-country ski area.
Once you meet the x-country area, you’ll follow the wide trails and Baden Powell signs. You’ll make your way past the fourth lake and First Lake, with a few rolling hills, but nothing too steep.
As you pass First Lake, you’ll start making the long descent down leaving Cypress Provincial Park behind. The trail is a near-continuous descent with a few boardwalks and bridges as you join up with some of the Brothers Creek Loop.
At the end of the descent, you’ll make a left and have a choice to either stick to the trail through the forest, or go along a wider gravel path which runs parallel to the forest.
The trail continues in a straight line as you work eastwards towards Capilano Dam and Grouse Mountain.
There are a few road crossings as you enter a more urban area before the final wooded section on the approach to Capilano Dam.
Once you’ve reached the dam, you can continue up to Grouse Mountain, or just catch the bus down from by the parking lot at the dam.
What to pack for hiking the Baden Powell Hike
Make sure you look at these packing lists for the Mt Gardner hike.