Baden Powell Backpacking Trail
The Baden Powell Trail is the penultimate hiking route on Vancouver’s North Shore, stretching over 45.0 km from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. While there isn’t much in terms of accommodation along this lengthy trail, it is a popular route that is most often split into manageable portions, with each section being a good day hike. No matter how you decide to tackle this trail, its stunning views and legendary reputation are sure to leave you feeling like an accomplished adventurer
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Route Description for Baden Powell Backpacking Trail
The Baden Powell Trail is a rugged 45.5 km backpacking trail along Vancouver’s North Shore that was created in 1971 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of British Columbia becoming a province of Canada. This trail is difficult and is most often split up into several sections, allowing it to be completed over multiple days. This raises the issue of accommodation, as there is no camping along the trail and the nearest campsite is over 5.0 km south of the main trail. Due to this, many hikers attempting to complete the Baden Powell Trail will need to divert south through Capilano Canyon to reach the Capilano RV Park for camping or drive to and from the trail when completing each section.
Logistical issues aside, this is an amazing trail that truly showcases the natural beauty of Vancouver’s North Shore. Along this route you will summit Black Mountain, pass through old-growth forests near Hollyburn Peak, and cross the Cleveland Dam over Capilano Canyon. On the back half of the trail, you will pass by the famous Grouse Grind Trail, cross over the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, and experience beautiful views of Deep Cove and the Indian Arm from Quarry Rock. There is a lot packed into this lengthy trail that is just sitting there waiting to be explored.
Day 1: Horseshoe Bay to Cleveland Dam
The Baden Powell Trail can be conquered from either direction, but for the purpose of this guide it will be taken from west to east, starting in Horseshoe Bay along the coast of Howe Sound and ending in the village of Deep Cove along the Indian Arm.
Setting out on the trail, follow it northeast alongside the Sea to Sky Highway, as you make your way toward Cypress Provincial Park. Through this stretch of uphill terrain, you will pass over the rocky Eagleridge Bluffs and experience its amazing sightline over Howe Sound. Continuing on the trail, you will shortly summit Black Mountain and traverse the trails along its edge to reach the Cypress Downhill Ski Area.
From here, the trail will head east through the park before turning south and passing through the scenic old-growth forests of Douglas Fir and Western Cedar that can be found near Hollyburn Peak. As you leave Cypress Provincial Park, the Baden Powell Trail will take a more direct line east, passing through an urban area on the approach to the halfway point at Cleveland Dam.
After reaching the halfway point, hikers can take in the stunning views from atop the dam and explore the Capilano Canyon area before setting out for their accommodations for the nights. If you are staying at the Capilano River RV Park, you will need to follow the Capilano Pacific Trail south for 5.3 km to reach the campsite. Otherwise, travel to any other pre-arranged accommodations and rest up for the next day of hiking ahead.
Capilano River RV Park
The Capilano River RV Park is the only campsite that is located near the Baden Powell Trail. It can be found near the halfway point along the trail at Cleveland Dam; however, hikers will need to travel an additional 5.3 km off the trail, heading south through Capilano Canyon to reach the RV park.
- Tent Sites: 32 tent sites available.
- Summer Site Fee: $54/night.
- Winter Site Fee: $44/night.
- Based on double occupancy. $4.50/extra person.
- Dogs allowed: Yes.
- Washroom/Shower Facilities Available.
Day 2: Cleveland Dam to Deep Cove
After resting up from the previous day of hiking, pick the Baden Powell Trail back up to the east of Cleveland Dam and follow it north along Nancy Green Way to reach the base of Grouse Mountain. If you are a glutton for punishment, you can make your way up one of its famous and exhausting uphill climbs, such as the Grouse Grind or the BCMC Trail. If not, continue east along the trail as it traverses the vast network of hiking routes that can be found along the slopes of Grouse Mountain.
Arriving at Lynn Creek, follow it south to make your way into the adventure packed Lynn Canyon Park and cross over the swaying expanse of the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge. After making your way across the canyon, follow the Baden Powell Trail south to enter into the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.
Crossing over the majestic Seymour River, continue east and keep an eye on the GPS, as you make your way through another maze of trails that make up the lower portion of Mount Seymour Provincial Park. From this point, the trail heads directly east and passes over Mount Seymour Road before arriving at the spectacular lookout at Quarry Rock. From here, you will have awesome views of the Indian Arm and your final destination of Deep Cove down below. Continue down the trail as it skirts the shoreline and makes its way down to the village. Once you have reached Panorama Park, you can sit alongside the water’s edge and reflect on your amazing completion of the legendary Baden Powell Trail.
Backpacking along the Baden Powell Trail is a bit of a tricky affair due to the lack of nearby accommodation. It is possible to complete the route in a day, but it is only recommended for hikers with a high fitness level and adequate experience. This trail is best split into two portions, the first half covering the 21.0 km from Horseshoe Bay to the Cleveland Dam and the second portion covering the remaining 24.5 km of trail between Cleveland Dam and Deep Cove.
- Day 1
Horseshoe Bay to Cleveland Dam (20.5 km/1,302 m)
Distance: 21.0 km
Elevation gain: 1,302 m
Campground: Capilano River RV Park
- Day 2
Cleveland Dam to Deep Cove
Distance: 24.5 km
Elevation gain: 1,271 m
Backpacking Trail Highlights
Built in 1954, the Cleveland dam is a 91 m tall concrete dam that was built to block the waters of Capilano Lake. This body of water is used as a freshwater drinking source for the entire Lower Mainland.
Grouse Mountain has become a popular spot in the North Shore hiking scene, as it is the home of several well known and challenging routes, such as the Grouse Grind, BCMC, Skyline, and Flint and Feather trails. Also located on this mountain are the Grouse Mountain Gondola and the Grizzly Bear enclosure.
Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge
Since its opening in 1912, the Lynn Canyon Park has served as a popular outdoor recreation area for its many visitors. The main attraction of the park is the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, spanning 48 m across and 50 m above the Lynn Canyon. Crossing over the bridge is free of charge and provides access to the network of trails that can be found within the park.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Baden Powell Backpacking Trail
How long is the Baden Powell Trail?
The Baden Powell Trail is 45.5 km long, stretching from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay.
Insider Hints for Baden Powell Backpacking Trail
- As with most BC trails, bring bear spray when travelling the Baden Powell Trail.
- This is a one way trail. Plan ahead and leave a car at the end of the trail or find public transit arrangements.
- There aren’t any accommodations along the trail, so it is best to either find something close by or split the trail into multiple sections that can be tackled on different days.
Getting to the Baden Powell Backpacking Trail Trailhead
To reach the Baden Powell Trailhead in Horseshoe Bay from West Vancouver, travel west on BC-99 N and take exit 2 for Eagleridge Drive. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto the ramp for BC-99 N and turn left after 700 m to reach the parking area.
Baden Powell Backpacking Trail Elevation Graph
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Baden Powell Backpacking Trail Reviews
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