Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Vancouver’s North Shore has a secret. Since 1912, one of its municipal parks has played host to locals and tourists in the know, but many more have no idea that a gem of a park is tucked into one of North Vancouver’s suburban neighbourhoods.
Lynn Canyon Park is named for the deep canyon that’s been carved by 10,000 years of running water. With blissfully green waters in the summer and roaring white torrents in the winter, Lynn Creek is a stunning sight. In the summer, visitors flock to the warm rocks by the river to relax and watch the creek meander by. In the fall and winter, the creek becomes so powerful that it sweeps up boulders and small trees, pounding them down the canyon with a force that vibrates the ground.
Feeling Brave? Dare to Look Down!
Lynn Canyon’s suspension bridge is well known to locals but less familiar to many tourists. Although it’s a little shorter than the bridge that crosses Capilano Canyon, it’s a grand adventure for those who are wary of heights. For those who are feeling brave and dare to look down, the view into the canyon below features the lovely 90-foot (27 metres) pool waterfall.
In the rainy fall and winter weather, the park’s quiet trails are a retreat from the busy downtown core, with a feeling of wilderness on the urban fringe. Bears roam through the park, salmon spawn below Twin Falls, and more elusive creatures such as the pine marten, pileated woodpecker, and river otter also visit the park, even if they prefer to stay out of sight.
The hikes around Twin Falls and to Thirty Foot Pool are beautiful rain or shine. On the 30-to-45-minute hike to Twin Falls, you descend into the canyon’s forests and cross Twin Falls Bridge, where you can look down onto the two waterfalls that spill into the river below. The shorter walk to Thirty Foot Pool takes you through the flattest part of the park, and you’ll see the place where the creek emerges from the canyon, spilling into an open area and cutting a deep hollow into the rock. For those who are eager to get away from the crowds, the quiet Beaver Trail is a lovely walk in the moss-covered forests above the river.
If you’re looking for a longer hike, Lynn Canyon Park connects to two larger, regional parks — the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. Choose from challenging day hikes up a mountain or quiet meanderings near the Seymour River or Lynn Creek. Find local park maps on the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre’s website.
Searching for a bit of accessible urban wilderness? Visitors to Vancouver often head to Stanley Park, but there are even more wild places to explore beyond the beaches, ski slopes, and urban parks. Venture out into the North Shore mountains, and within a short trip you’ll be able to access some of the most beautiful suburban parks on the coast, all within walking distance of a bus route.
MORE ABOUT LYNN CANYON PARK
Hours: June to September, 10 am to 5 pm
October to May: Noon to 4 pm
Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Getting There: Lynn Canyon Park is easy to access via transit from one of the North Shore’s two bus loops at Lonsdale Quay and Phibbs Exchange. From the Quay, take the 228 or 229 bus to the park. From Phibbs Exchange, take the 229 bus that stops at Peters and Duval Road, half a block from the park entrance. Sunday service can be more challenging: check the Translink website for details.
If you’re looking for directions, stop in for a map and a look around the local nature centre, the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre, which features displays about the temperate rainforest and offers programs for children and adults. At the trailhead just up from the suspension bridge, you’ll find a large map of the area as well.
Looking for provisions for your hike? The Lynn Canyon Café is closed in winter, but the End of the Line General Store at Lynn Valley and Dempsey Road is near to the park and the 228 bus stop, and it has coffee, sandwiches, and features local gifts and art as well.