Hiking dangers in Vancouver?

Aug 21st, 2019, 05:51 AM
  #1  
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Hiking dangers in Vancouver?

Hi everyone,

I'm considering going to Vancouver in early December and have a couple questions about issues I might encounter. Snow (I assume at least a little, despite average low temperatures being above freezing, according to Google)? Mountain lions/cougars/pumas? The one I'm most curious about is bears. Would they simply be hibernating at this point? Does anyone know if climate change is effecting their yearly behavioral patterns?

None of these things are a turn-off for me. I'm a fairly experienced hiker, having grown up in the hills outside of LA and studied in the Everglades for several years, just want to be more knowledgeable about the area.
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Aug 21st, 2019, 02:08 PM
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The alpine hikes will be covered in several feet of snow, so you won't be hiking in the alpine. I doubt hiking in warm semi-tropical locations will be applicable for winter backcountry expeditions in avalanche terrain and so I wouldn't learn here in December unless you go with somebody experienced - it's not something you want to wing and do solo without some experience under your belt. Maybe try snowshoeing if you want to get into the mountains? You can hike in lower elevations in the rainforest year-round though and there are plenty of hikes immediately in Vancouver for that. Mountain lions and cougars? I wouldn't be concerned around Vancouver and they typically only prey on small animals/children. Bears will be hibernating. Also don't rely on your cell phone for navigation - coverage in the mountains is pretty spotty. Come prepared with the right clothing. Let people know where you're going so if you don't return, they can do a search. Again, don't expect your cell phone to have coverage or to be able to use it to call for help. There is true wilderness immediately outside of Vancouver. Also prepare for short daylight hours. It gets light out around 8am and dark again by 4pm so your window for hiking in December is pretty short. Saying all that, again, there are a lot of rainforest hikes below the snowline you can do in December, but just be smart about it. Have fun!

Last edited by BC_Robyn; Aug 21st, 2019 at 02:16 PM.
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Aug 22nd, 2019, 04:28 AM
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Just to add a bit about the average temp data you saw - Vancouver's climate is varied, thanks to its location at sea level right and on the Bay, with mountains right next to it. For example, on one May visit, people were sunbathing on the beach within Vancouver, in mid-70's temp, while less than 30 minutes away on Grouse Mountain, I looked down on them amidst a significant snow pack and could see my breath. If you're planning to hike, just be aware of that and know that a trail that seems to be quite close may be quite wintry. And bring your rain gear, for those at sea level.

Enjoy your trip, this is a beautiful region.

Last edited by sludick; Aug 22nd, 2019 at 04:29 AM. Reason: misspelling
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Aug 22nd, 2019, 05:36 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by BC_Robyn View Post
The alpine hikes will be covered in several feet of snow, so you won't be hiking in the alpine. I doubt hiking in warm semi-tropical locations will be applicable for winter backcountry expeditions in avalanche terrain and so I wouldn't learn here in December unless you go with somebody experienced - it's not something you want to wing and do solo without some experience under your belt. Maybe try snowshoeing if you want to get into the mountains? You can hike in lower elevations in the rainforest year-round though and there are plenty of hikes immediately in Vancouver for that. Mountain lions and cougars? I wouldn't be concerned around Vancouver and they typically only prey on small animals/children. Bears will be hibernating. Also don't rely on your cell phone for navigation - coverage in the mountains is pretty spotty. Come prepared with the right clothing. Let people know where you're going so if you don't return, they can do a search. Again, don't expect your cell phone to have coverage or to be able to use it to call for help. There is true wilderness immediately outside of Vancouver. Also prepare for short daylight hours. It gets light out around 8am and dark again by 4pm so your window for hiking in December is pretty short. Saying all that, again, there are a lot of rainforest hikes below the snowline you can do in December, but just be smart about it. Have fun!
Forgot to mention I just came back from the Arctic Circle in April and hiked the Pentlands while they still had snow! I know how to dress for the weather haha. Thanks for the daylight info! Arctic had the Midnight Sun and Scotland was Scotland so not something I'd thought about. In that case, I'd probably get started around 8 or 9am and I can't imagine going more than 6 hours. I may start with Mount Seymour trails or Burnaby Mountain which looked on Google to be navigable in December, though photos can be misleading, of course.
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Aug 23rd, 2019, 02:38 PM
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Take a look at https://www.vancouvertrails.com/ for researching trails, I think that will help quite a bit. They usually write up a good overview of what you can expect for each trail, including the best months to hike. Keep your eye out for trails with "Season: year-round" as opposed to "Season: July-October". There's also a comment sections where you can read people hiking those trails at various times of the year. Definitely spend some quality time on that site - you'll probably discover trails you didn't even know about. Skiing usually is happening on Seymour in December, so again, nobody's really hiking - they're wearing recreational snowshoes then: https://mtseymour.ca/snowshoe. Lower in the mountains (Lynn Headwaters Park, Kennedy Falls) might be more appropriate.

Last edited by BC_Robyn; Aug 23rd, 2019 at 02:50 PM.
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Aug 26th, 2019, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by BC_Robyn View Post
Take a look at https://www.vancouvertrails.com/ for researching trails, I think that will help quite a bit. They usually write up a good overview of what you can expect for each trail, including the best months to hike. Keep your eye out for trails with "Season: year-round" as opposed to "Season: July-October". There's also a comment sections where you can read people hiking those trails at various times of the year. Definitely spend some quality time on that site - you'll probably discover trails you didn't even know about. Skiing usually is happening on Seymour in December, so again, nobody's really hiking - they're wearing recreational snowshoes then: https://mtseymour.ca/snowshoe. Lower in the mountains (Lynn Headwaters Park, Kennedy Falls) might be more appropriate.
That's great! Thank you very much!
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