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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 trials in the North Shore and is used by many daily from hikes, runs and mountain biking. Completing the trail has been on my list for some time and I decided to tackle half of it in one day as a Baden Powell trail run/hike. You could say I was inspired by the craziness that is the Knee Knacker Ultra Run which I saw one year on my return from hiking Lynn Peak.
I took on half of the trail in one go so that I could use public transit to get to the start and return home from the end, avoiding having to arrange for a car at each end. It was a very fun trail to take on and this half can easily be broken up in two again to make it a more manageable day hike.
Hiking Baden Powell Trail, North Vancouver: Grouse Mountain to Deep Cove
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.
The trails aren’t hugely difficult and they’re typically well marked. You will find yourself crossing bridges and navigating uneven terrain however.
Here’s everything you need to know about hiking this section of the Baden Powell Trail.
Logistics: How to hike the Baden Powell Trail
As I mentioned earlier, hiking from the foot of Grouse Mountain to Deep Cove meant I could use public transit to get to and from the trailhead.
This hike starts at the foot of Grouse, by the Gondola and ends in Deep Cove, both are easy to get to and have parking. However, it’s pay parking at Grouse and Deep Cove parking is limited on weekends.
If you’re doing this with other people you can arrange to leave a car at each end instead of taking public transport.
There are several spot with water fountains where you can refill water bottles. If you have a Sawyer Squeeze (or similar) there are generally plenty of streams where you can fill up your bottle too.
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 run/hiking the Baden Powell trail.
Baden Powell: Grouse to Lynn Valley
[Baden Powell Trail map]
Starting from the parking lot at the base of Grouse Mountain, you’ll begin the trail as if you’re going to do the Grouse Grind. Just a few 100 metres in, you’ll see a sign pointing you towards the BCMC and off of the Grouse Mountain trail. At this stage the trail is covered in thick forest and it’s pretty uneven too. Pay close attention to the orange markers on the trees as it can be easy to start following the wrong route.
You’ll cross a bridge, a log on relatively flat terrain and come to West MacKay Creek where the trail continues to take you over the creek, making two crossings.
From here the trail begins to descend – watch your footing. When you come to a fork and can hear a road at the end, stick with the trail on the left hand side and you’ll pass the bottom of the Skyline Trail which is another route up to Grouse. If you miss this junction (like I did) just continue along the road until you meet back up with the trail in the forests.
Bear right, to head downhill, looking for Baden Powell signs and cross over Mosquito Creek.
The Baden Powell Trail stays fairly flat at this point as you traverse the bottom of Mt Fromme. Keep your eyes and ears open for the sound of mountain bikers as they’re pretty common in this area and you don’t want to run into one!
Follow the well marked trail, cross over Mountain Highway and in not long you’ll begin to descend into Lynn Valley.
As you emerge from the forest you’ll come out on to the road. Turn left and make your way up the road until you come to the parking lot and Lynn Creek. That’s the first stage of this Baden Powell route done!
Baden Powell: Lynn Valley to Deep Cove
[This section isn’t strictly the Baden Powell but avoids as much travel on roads and avoids crossing Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge which is not only super busy most of the time, but was closed when I completed this part.]
This area of Lynn Valley has washrooms and water fountains, plus it’s a nice relaxing spot for a break. Once you’re ready to get going again, take the bridge across Lynn Creek and then turn right following the slightly inclining gravel trail. Carry on along this gravel route until you come out to the roundabout by the Rice Lake Trail.
Bear right, and you’ll find yourself on a path running parallel to the road going up to Lower Seymour Conservation and Rice Lake.
Stick on this trail until you come to Twin Falls and carry on the same path, headed south, along the river. There are a few boardwalks and steps in places here and it’s a great little run in the forest!
Once you’ve passed Twin Falls, you’re officially back on the Baden Powell Trail so you can look for the little BP trail marker signs to keep on track.
As you turn left, away from the river, the trail begins to climb slightly and you’ll cross over the Lower Seymour Conservation road and head back into the forest coming downhill to Seymour River.
The Baden Powell sign joins up with the Fisherman’s Trail for a few hundred metres and then separates – you’ll carry on straight.
You’ll cross over Canyon Creek a few times and pop out onto Hyannis Road, cross it, and go back into the forest.
Follow the trail until you come up to a junction with an information sign and lots of options. You’re back in mountain biking territory again here so remember to keep listening for bikes and be ready to jump out of the way. At this junction, take the left-most trail.
This section of the trail doesn’t have too much elevation and I had fun navigating my way through the forest.
When you reach a road – Mt Seymour Road – cross over and head down into the forest for the very last section before you arrive in Deep Cove.
If Quarry Rock is closed, I advise staying off the Baden Powell Trail. When I hiked this part of the trail there were park rangers ticketing people who were still trying to hike Quarry Rock despite its closure. Instead, you can plan a route in advance, or look at my trail map above, and pick some trails which avoid the main (and usually very busy) Quarry Rock hike.
The trail in this part of the forest can get very muddy and I took a tumble right into a pile of mud! Luckily I came to a waterfall not long after so I could wash off most of the mud before arriving in Deep Cove!
When you emerge from the forest, follow the road down to the main centre of Deep Cove.
Honey’s Donuts and Covert Neighbourhood Cafe make great places to stop for lunch or a drink to refuel!
What to pack for hiking the Baden Powell Trail
Make sure you look at these packing lists for the Mt Gardner hike.