Level: Difficult

Distance: 8½ km

Time: 6 h

Elevation Change: 1040 m

Season: May to Nov

Topographical Map: 92 G/6

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Access: Visit the Appendix for details on Getting to Horseshoe Bay

Get off the #250 Horseshoe Bay bus near the end of the line immediately after passing first Gleneagles Golf Course and then an elementary school on the left in quick succession. The bus will stop just before a stop sign on a short but steep uphill grade. Follow the green highway sign to the right across an overpass to Highway 99. The trailhead is just a short distance east, back in the direction of Vancouver, after you cross the busy highway. Exercise caution at this intersection as motorists are usually accelerating and jockeying for position on the treacherous road to Squamish and Whistler.

From the trailhead the route climbs very steeply, leading first to Eagle Bluff [1094 m] then on up to Black Mountain [1217 m]. Both prominences offer spectacular views of Howe Sound, Vancouver Island and the City of Vancouver. On a clear day the American San Juan Islands can be seen due south while Mt. Baker may be visible in eastern Washington State. Black Mountain is home to a record-sized Mountain Hemlock. Though, at 44.8 metres, it is not the tallest on record, its 5.46 m girth is a species first.

The going gets easier after Black Mountain as the trail winds down into Cypress Bowl at the heart of the Provincial Park.

If enamoured with big trees, a side trip to the south side of Yew Lake will reveal the world's chubbiest balsam or amabilis fir, a whopper at 7.14 metres around at the base and 43.9 metres tall.

Nothing is uglier than a ski hill bereft of snow and Cypress Bowl is no exception. In the off-season the park is not serviced by any kind of public transportation other than an expensive taxi ride. If you do not plan to continue hiking beyond the park you should ideally arrange for someone to pick you up at the ski lodge parking lot. Hitchhiking is also a possibility but just keep in mind that the most dangerous creatures in the wilderness are not the animals. Never hitchhike alone and, for obvious reasons, women should never hitchhike.

The hardiest souls will want to continue walking through the park and beyond to the British Properties. That route is detailed below.

The End


Trillium

Dwarf Dogwood

Since the Dogwood is the provincial flower in British Columbia, "bunch berry," is a protected species. Following pollination and fruiting, dwarf dogwood produces a bunch of bright red berries, hence the name. Bunch berry berries are edible either raw or cooked though they are not particulary tasty. They have further been used both internally and externally to counteract natural toxins from mushrooms, poison ivy and even bee stings. Dwarf dogwood is a perennial and a perennial favourite with hikers as this low ground cover will be found along most forested footpaths on the coast. The white petal-like mane surrounding the central flower are actually specialized leaves called bracts.

Illustration by Manami Kimura