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Crown Mountian on Vancouver’s North Shore is one of the most difficult hikes near Vancouver. It’s not exceptionally long at a distance of about 10km from the Grouse Mountain lodge, but there’s a lot of steep climbing then steep down climbing followed by more steep uphill climbing and a short scramble section to reach the Crown Mountain summit. All that up and down can feel like a lot more effort than just going up! Still, this hike near Vancouver offers beautiful views (when you get a clear day) and you can cut out some of the up and downhill by taking the Grouse Mountain gondola. You can even celebrate with a drink at the lodge!
Crown Mountain hike, Vancouver
Crown Mountain lies behind Grouse Moutain. You’ll see where it got the name from when you look at it from a distance; the jagged rocks at the peak do make it look like a crown!
On a clear day, you’ll be able to enjoy views of The Lions, Capilano Watershed, and downtown Vancouver in the distance, plus many of the other coastal mountain peaks. As mentioned, the hike downhill before going back uphill makes this hike more difficult than you’d first think. You essentially have to hike the elevation change twice!
How to get to the Crown Mountain trailhead
When it comes to getting to the Crown Mountain trailhead you’ve got two options. You can either hike from the bottom of the Grouse Mountain gondola via the Grouse Grind, BCMC, or one of the other trails alongside them. Or, you can take the gondola up to the lodge and hike from there.
Since I have an annual pass for the gondola I took the easy route and met some friends at the Grouse Lodge.
From the Grouse Lodge, you’ll want to take the Alpine Trail. You’ll find this by following the grizzly bear feet on the floor towards the bear den (say hi to Grinder and Coola!) and continued past them with them on your left towards the ski run. Left of the ski run you’ll see a gravel road that takes you into the backcountry behind Grouse. This is the beginning of the Crown Mountain tail!!
Crown Mountain hike stats
Crown Mountain hike guide
Continue on the gravel road as you walk with steep rocks on your right and mountain views to your left. This road is wide and nice and flat so make the most of it!
As soon as the trail comes to an end you’ll start making your way uphill and through the forest. The trail narrows and you’ll pass over and under a few pipes, keep your eyes open for the trail markers and small wooden signs. You may also hear some screaming from the ziplines nearby too! The signs you’re looking for are the ones pointing you to the Alpine Trail, the first one says Ridge Trail, the second one has the Alpine Trail and you’ll come out to a zip line platform.
Continue on the Alpine Trail climbing up and going past a few junctions which would take you to Thunderbird Ridge, Dam Mountain, and Little Goat Mountain. After the last junction to Little Goat, you’ll start descending and should take a path down to your left marked for Crown Mountain. If it’s a clear day (not like when I hiked it!), you should be able to see your destination!
One of the trickiest parts of the hike starts now as you walk, or slide in some mud, downhill towards Crown Pass.
It’s often pretty slippery down here and there are some chains bolted into the rocks to help you navigate the rocks and mud. Take your time and once you’ve managed that section there’s a small boulder field to cross. Then you head back into the forest and the junction of Crown Pass with the Hanes Valley Trail.
Head uphill to the left and climb steeply over large roots and rocks. It’s steep here until you come out to another boulder field, a bit larger than the last one. Follow the yellow spray-painted markers on the rocks to make sure you stick to the trail. If you don’t see them, just make sure you’re headed to the gap in the forest across the boulder field.
There’s more climbing to go yet as you come out to another boulder field!
This boulder field offers views towards the Capilano Watershed area. Continue along the trail and up over some rocks until you see a large spraypainted dot on the side of the rock. This is your final climb! Either climb up onto the peak by the big dot or follow a small trail to the left and climb up onto the rock around the side. Make sure you’re super careful here as slipping and falling could end very badly.
If you’ve hiked to Crown Mountain on a clear day, spend some time up here enjoying the view of Vancouver, Hanes Valley, and the mountains as far as Squamish!
Head back the way you came before taking the gondola or the BCMC down the mountain to the parking lot.
What to know before you go
- Best time for Cypress Falls Park: Good all year round.
- Be adventure smart: Remember to respect the terrain, environment, and other users while you are enjoying the trails. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials AdventureSmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors
- Pack your 10 essentials.
- Take bear spray, you’re hiking in bear country! And remember your bear safety tips.
- Remember to leave no trace.
- Cypress Falls Vancouver is dog-friendly.
What to pack for the best hikes near Vancouver
Make sure you look at these packing lists for your Crown Mountain hike.
Other difficult Vancouver hikes
Looking for more challenging hikes near Vancouver? Here are some of the best Vancouver hikes!