Baden Powell (West Side)

November 07, 2010

The Baden Powell trail is the most extensive trail in the area, beginning in Deep Cove the trail follows the North Shore mountains to Horseshoe Bay.

To start from the west side, if coming from the east, follow Highway 1 and take exit 2 (Eagleridge), and go straight ahead when you come to the roundabout or traffic circle. This is a narrow road alongside of the ferry terminal entrance lanes. Go downhill for a few hundred meters and on the right you will see the gravel for the parking lot. There is enough space for six cars.

Top: Trailhead
Bottom: Howe Sound and Highway 99

The trailhead will go underneath a bridge allowing a safe crossing of Highway 99, then you will follow the highway for a few hundred meters before turning right on a wide access road.

Eventually the road will end and you will walk through mixed and coniferous forests. Along this route, you will meet the trail intersection of Whyte Trail. Stay on the main path.

The trail crosses a big rock slide which is very slippery if wet. Pick you way up and across, following the orange markings and orange flags through the talus. Watch your footing - many an ankle has been twisted here.

Top: Rock slide
Bottom: Howe Sound

Follow the path to Eagle Bluff. With Eagle and Whyte lakes shimmering below and great views in front of you, this is the perfect spot for a well deserved break.

Top: Eagle Bluff
Bottom: Horseshoe Bay and Highway 99

After leaving Eagle Bluff, the trail heads back into the forest following the markers to Cougar and Owen Lakes.

Cougar Lakes

Later on you will reach the highest point of Baden Powell Trail, Black Mountain. On a clear day you can enjoy 360° views. From here the trail heads down and north for another 10 minutes to Cabin Lake, where you can brave the chilly waters for a swim if you are so inclined.

Cabin Lake

Look for the orange squares showing the way down which switches back following the outskirts of the ski hill boundary. This section of trail was newly completed in 2008, and replaces the older trail which used to primarily follow up the ski hill and maintenance roads.

The trail continues across the olympic sign. Follow the maintenance road for a few meters. You will see a sign showing the continuation of Baden Powell Trail.

Cypress Mountain Ski Area

Baden Powell crosses (or is being crossed) by Cypress Cross Country Skiing Area. Be sure you are following the clearly marked Baden Powell Trail, there are many trails on the area and is easy to get lost.

Baden Powell briefly shares its path with Blue Gentian Lake Trail, from here there is a long and gentle downhill walk to the Skyline Trail.

Burrard Inlet

Once you reach the power lines, go left and follow the Skyline Trail. The trail dips into the canyon of Brothers Creek, a through carved out of the bedrock by ancient glaciers. The west canyon wall is granite, which pushed to the surface about 100 million years ago; the east wall is basalt or lava, which crystallized about 32 million years ago.

Brothers Creek

Once you reach West Vancouver, for the next 30 minutes you must literally hike through backyards where the only views are of swingsets, barbecues and sundecks.

Eventually you will reach Cleveland Dam. From the top of the dam are northward views of The Lions and of Capilano Lake, which supplies water to the Greater Vancouver area.

Once through the dam, the lake waters plunge 90 meters to the Capilano River below. Having taken in the power of nature, walk east across the dam to end the west section of the Baden Powell Trail.

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1. 49 22.02338-123 16.51335 Elev 111m - Trailhead and Parking Lot
2. 49 23.45486-123 13.13039 Elev 1211m - Black Mountain
3. 49 23.79557-123 12.28764 Elev 921m - Cypress Ski Area
4. 49 21.55859-123 06.42979 Elev 166m - Cleveland Dam

Distance One Way from Black Mountain: 15 km (1.86 mi)
Total Distance from Horseshoe Bay: 24 km
Total Time: 7.5 hours
Elevation gain: 1100 m (3641 ft)

Download GPS Route (GTM Format) - Starting from Black Mountain
Download GPS Route (Waypoint + Text Format) - Starting from Black Mountain

Driving Distance from Vancouver: 20.5 km (12.73 miles)
About 20 minutes