Snow on the eagle bluffs hike on cypress mountain

Hiking in Vancouver: A Snowy Summer Trail to Eagle Bluffs

Starting at the base of the downhill ski area of Cypress Mountain, the trail to Eagle Bluffs is an 8km roundtrip summer hike which takes about 4-hours.

After parking in the Cypress Mountain lot, head towards the “Eagle Express” chairlift.  We didn’t see any signs on the map specifically calling out the Eagle Bluffs hike, so look for the chairlift as a landmark near the beginning of the trail.

The most heart-pumping section of the trail is at the beginning, where a series of steep and rocky switchbacks, and some stairs, continue up the side of Cypress for about 30 to 45 minutes.  You’re essentially hiking upwards alongside a ski slope. There’s not a lot of shade in this area, so if you’re hiking on a sunny summer day, you will likely work up a sweat.

eagle bluffs hike
The first part of the Eagle Bluffs trail is the steepest.

After the section of switchbacks, a great stopping point is at Cabin Lake.  We saw several people taking a dip in the icy cold water!  There are flat rocks surrounding the lake, so lots of areas to sit down to take a break and hang out for a while.  If you’d like to make a quick detour, you can take the 250m trail up to the Yew Lake Viewpoint and have your snacks there instead.

eagle bluffs hike cabin lake
The scenic Cabin Lake is a good resting point along the Eagle Bluffs hike.

The rest of the trail isn’t as difficult from a cardio perspective, but you are faced with a new set of challenges:  snow, overgrown tree roots, steep rocky sections, and SNOW.  Yes, you read that correctly: snow!  Eagle Bluffs is the only summer hike I’ve ever been on, where there was still snow on the trail in July.

Snow on the eagle bluffs hike on cypress mountain
There was still snow on the Eagle Bluffs hike in July!

My friend and I don’t own hiking boots, so we went in our regular runners.  Despite this, the snowy parts of the trail are still doable, you just have to be careful not to slip.  Also, as the snow begins to melt, there are air or water pockets that form under the snow, so if you accidentally step on an unstable surface, your whole foot mall fall into a hole.  My recommendation is stick to the well-trodden path, follow the brown snow and footprints, and if you are unsure of any surfaces, slowly test your weight.

We didn’t look forward to the snow on the way up or down the trail, but we did agree that the snow provided an interesting and unique terrain for the hike, and it was also refreshing as it cools you down while you’re working up a sweat.

You know you’re getting close to your final destination at Eagle Bluffs when the trail starts going downhill with several steep sections. There is sunshine at the end of the forested tunnel, and the trees finally open up to Eagle Bluffs.

Because your beginning elevation is already so high on Cypress Mountain, and you’re hiking even higher, the view from Eagle Bluffs is exceptionally expansive.  On a clear day, you will definitely be able to see downtown Vancouver and Bowen Island, and beyond, with Vancouver Island and Mount Baker.

The view from Eagle Bluffs.
The view from Eagle Bluffs.

I love all the flat rock that makes up Eagle Bluffs – there’s no shortage of places to sit down and eat lunch.   There are no garbage cans at the top of the hike, so please be responsible and take your garbage home with you.  At the top we saw lots of chipmunks and ravens, and even spotted an eagle.

We took the same trail back down to the bottom.  The hike wasn’t challenging from a cardio perspective on the way down, but it took mental effort to get a good footing as you’re making your way downhill.

Overall, I enjoyed the diversity of the trail, and the multiple viewpoints along the hike.  If you have hiking boots, bring them, but if not, be warned that your shoes will likely get wet and muddy.  If you want to check the recent conditions of the trail, I always use the geo-location tag on Instagram and ask other hikers how the conditions are.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *