To reach the trailhead, take Exit 19 off Highway 1 onto Lynn Valley Road (north) in North Vancouver. Pass Lynn Canyon Park and just after Dempsey Road are the park gates. Another 1.5 km (0.9 mi) brings you to the parking lot and information boards.

Lynn Headwaters Regional Park has been welcoming a steadily increasing flow of visitors since it opened to the public in 1985 after being kept off-limits for decades as part of the extensive North Shore watershed system.

Trailhead and Cedars Mill Trail

After you cross Lynn Creek turn left and follow the Cedar Mill Trail up-stream on river-left. An hour from your start is a debris chute on which you go right to meet the Loop Trail, which runs parallel to Cedar Mill Trail. Another hour should get you beyond the 6.5 km miker. with Norvan Creek audible 100 m ahead. Keep going and you will cross the bridge over Norvan Creek and follow the yellow markers into the forest for around one kilometer. You will reach a junction, the one on the left goes to Hanes Valley and the right one goes to Lynn Lake.

Along the way are remnants of Lynn Valley's logging days: big stumps with springboard holes, the occasional rusting cable and other artifacts - porcelain shards, rusted stove parts, glittering pieces of broken bottle. You can look and touch, but don't take them with you, let other people to enjoy this part of the history of North Vancouver.

Crossing Norvan Creek - Go Right at the junction

You will ascend a sketchy trail that won't ease for the next 45 minutes. Finally you will reach Lynn Creek. This is the reason why this hike should be done late in the season, the next two kilometers are the creekbed itself.

This area is named after John Linn of Edinburgh, a member of the English Royal Engineers. He came to British Columbia in 1859 and settled near Lynn Creek after he completed his service. The name "Lynn" is apparently a variation on the original spelling of his name.

Lynn Creek

This area offers a good example of temperate rainforests. Temperate rainforests are one of the earth’s most productive and biologically diverse ecosystems. They are also an endangered ecosystem, as they are being rapidly exploited for their valuable timber resources. The forests of Lynn Canyon Park are second growth temperate rainforest.

I had company for a while while following the creekbed

The original forest, which was centuries old, was logged in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Many of these trees were over 90 metres high and 11 metres in circumference. As you walk through the park, you may notice some of the stumps remaining from these huge trees. Many still show the springboard notches used by early loggers.

After 75 minutes your boulder jumping will come to an end (please bring sturdy high-top footwear), you will see a small pool with a nice little fall on your right. This is Lynn Creek, you will resume your hike on ground again on the left side of the creek.

The history of this place in geologic terms is very complex and extremely ancient. Over hundreds of millions of years, this part of the world has been shaped by volcanism, submerged in the ocean, and buried by massive Ice Age glaciers. A fascinating story, but long in the telling.

Prepare to turn right on the "Lynn Falls"

There were destructive forest fires in the Lynn Valley area in the years 1910, 1920, and 1925. Burnt stumps and logs can still be seen in certain areas of Lynn Canyon Park. In addition, in certain areas trail erosion has revealed layers of ash and black charcoal below ground-level.

The last part of the hike quickly gains elevation adding more punishment to your already sore feet. A quick descent while crossing a little creek will give you the final push before you passed a slide area and walk into muddy terrain marking the ending of your journey.

If you like geology, put attention to certain parts of the slide, you may be able to see distinct layers of debris known as till. These were deposited by catastrophic flows of meltwater when the great glaciers finally melted.

Crossing slide

Lynn Creek water is clean, cold, and crystal clear with a slight emerald-coloured tint. Almost everywhere the creek goes, it jumps and splashes over enormous round pebbles and river stones. Seldom does the water slow down or get more than a couple of feet deep. However, the water runs much stronger than it appears and great care should be taken on the riverbank. In the churning waterfalls and cauldrons of the rocky canyon, the creek is extremely dangerous and can easily kill.

Lynn Lake

From the source at Lynn Lake, the creek travels many miles until it reaches the canyon. Fed mainly by rain water runoff and snowmelt, the creek retains clarity and doesn't carry a lot of sediment. But just because the water is clear doesn't mean it is safe to drink! The creek, like any almost any watercourse in British Columbia, carries harmful microscopic organisms such as Giardia.

Black bear on the other side of the lake

Giardia is a parasite that colonises and reproduces in the small intestine, causing giardiasis (also known as beaver fever). The giardia organism inhabits the digestive tract of a wide variety of domestic and wild animal species, including humans. It is a common cause of gastroenteritis in humans, infecting approximately 200 million people worldwide.

Download Lynn Lake Video Hike - 56 Seconds
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1. Elev: 228m N49.3596 W123.0278 Trailhead
2. Elev: 511m N49.4260 W123.0417 Follow river
3. Elev: 591m N49.4324 W123.0478 Turn right on Falls
4. Elev: 788m N49.4420 W123.0500 Lynn Lake

Roundtrip length: 24 km (15 miles)
Time: 9 hours
Elevation gain:
610 m (2000 ft)

Download route in GTM format available for free at
Download route in plain text

Driving distance from Vancouver: 18 km (11.25 miles)


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