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Hiking the Mt Harvey trail

Hiking the Mt Harvey trail

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This summer I tackled more of the peaks along the sea to sky highway that look out on to the Howe Sound in Vancouver. I hiked the famous Vancouver lions with friends as well as the Mount Harvey hike on my own. Despite it not being the best visibility, the hike still provided incredible views, especially along the final section of the hike. It’s definitely not a hike to be taken lightly though, it’s very steep (over 1,400m elevation gain in just 6km) and it’s not the shortest either. I was aching for a good few days afterwards! If you’re looking to do the Mt Harvey hike near Vancouver then check out this guide to see what you’re in for! 

About Mt Harvey

Mount Harvey in Vancouver is one of the (many) huge, visible and hikeable peaks on Vancouver’s North Shore mountains. Mt Harvey is along the Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Parka and is near both The Lions and Mt Brunswick. The trail for all three hikes actually starts at the same trailhead.

The hike along the Harvey mountain trail is difficult due to the steepness and the uneven terrain. You’ll be climbing up through a dense forest, over tree roots and over and under trees in some instances, before coming out and walking along a ridge to the final easy scramble and summit. 

Where is Mt Harvey?

Mt Harvey is 30 minutes’ drive away from downtown Vancouver and is one of the peaks along the sea to sky highway. The trailhead is best accessed from Sunset Drive in Lions Bay.

How to get to the trailhead for Mt Harvey

The trailhead for Mt Harvey, for most, is in Lions Bay at the end of Sunset Drive. It’s the same start point for hiking the Lions, as well as Mt Brunswick. To get here simply take the Sea to Sky Highway and leave at the exit for Lions Bay Avenue. It’s about a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver to the trailhead for Mt Harvey.

There’s a small car park here which is usually full up by 8 am on weekends in the summer. Parking also costs $16. Alternatively, there are some spots along the road but pay careful attention to the no parking signs so you don’t end up towed or fined. 

Hiking Mt Harvey

If you plan to do the Mt Harvey hike, check out the following useful information first. 

Mount Harvey hike statistics

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance:
13km
Duration:
4-7 hours
Elevation: 1,400m
Trailhead: 
End of Sunset Drive, Lions Bay

Mt Harvey trail map

mount harvey trail mapThis trail map from AllTrails gives you an idea of the route. I highly recommend buying this North Shore trail map if you plan on doing much hiking in and around Vancouver.

My Mt Harvey hike report

The Mt Harvey trail can be broken into three sections: the logging road, the forest, and the ridge. 

The logging road

Arriving around 8am on a Saturday morning, the parking lot in Lions Bay was already full and so I found somewhere to park along the road. While this added a little more elevation to my hike, it did mean I didn’t need to pay $16 for parking! 

The trail begins along an old logging road and you keep following it uphill and around to the right. A couple of kilometres in, you’ll come to an intersection with a sign for Mt Brunswick and The Lions. Continue towards the right, following the sign for The Lions. 

The trail begins to flatten out slightly at this point before you start the real climb so enjoy it while it lasts! 

The forest

As you round a corner and head slightly downhill there’s a small junction which heads off into the trees at a steep angle. It’s signposted Mt Harvey so take this trail. Continuing straight puts you on the trail to The Lions.

This is where the hike gets very steep as you grind your way uphill through the forest. The morning I hiked this the mist was pretty thick and the trees covered in dew which I appreciated since the moisture helped keep me cool as I sweated through the uphill!

Soon after you take the turn off into the forest, there’s a small path to the right that looks like it’s the way you should go. Don’t make the mistake I made and follow it. This path takes you down to the waterfall, but I’m not sure it’s possible to follow it all the way to the water. I gave up and used the rather old look rope to pull myself back up the slope. 

There’s not much to see on this section of the trail but eventually, it opens up into a beautiful ridge section which is by far the best part of the hike. 

mount harvey hike vancouver (1 of 1)

The ridge

When you first come out into the open you’ll be greeted with an incredible view of The Lions. The clouds were rolling in and out during my hike but I did manage to get a glimpse of them still. Behind you is the Howe Sound which always looks beautiful. 

Here you bear left and walk along the ridge (it’s not a particularly narrow one), with Howe Sound to your left and the Lions and Cypress Provincial Park to your right. Straight ahead is the summit but first, you’ve got to tackle a relatively easy scramble to the top. 

This was the most fun part of the hike for me. You get to enjoy the views and a bit of a challenge too. 

Once you’ve navigated over the rocks to the top you get 360 views from Harvey peak and can see Mt Brunswick, The Lions and more.

Enjoy it before heading down the way you came, taking care of your knees – poles come in handy here! 

mount harvey summit vancouver

What to pack for hiking Mt Harvey

  • Bug spray: There are a tonne of bugs in the summer around Vancouver.
  • Sun cream: You’re going to want suncream no matter what season you hike in. This one is my favourite.
  • Bear spray: Ideally with a holster as it’s useless if you can’t get it out of your bag quickly!
  • Hiking poles: These are a good idea to save your knees on the way down! 
  • Lots of snacks & food
  • Plenty of warm layers & waterproofs
  • Good hiking boots or shoes
  • Camera or phone
  • Sunglasses

See a complete day hiking packing list here.

Things to know before doing the Mount Harvey hike

  • Are dogs allowed on the Mt Harvey hike in Vancouver?: Yes, dogs are allowed on leash around the Howe Sound trail. However, the trail is steep so exercise caution taking dogs with you.
  • Best time to hike Mount Harvey?: In summer when the days are longer and there’s little chance of snow. 
  • 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 
  • Remember to leave no trace

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