Crown Mountain Trail
The Crown Mountain Trail is an exciting and technical route up one of the North Shore’s most recognizable peaks. This 9.0 km out-and-back is a difficult hike that is not meant for novices, families or hikers with dogs due to the steep incline to the summit. After making your way up the challenging final scramble, take in the sweeping views of the Fraser Valley and the Capilano Watershed.
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Route Description for Crown Mountain Trail
This 9.0 km trek into the Lynn Headwaters backcountry behind Grouse Mountain is a difficult trail due to elevation changes near the summit of Crown Mountain. Hikers will need to be prepared for exposed sections or rock along a steep decline into Crown Pass before hiking back up the severe incline to the mountain’s jagged peak. As the trail begins at the top of the Grouse Mountain gondola, hikers should arrive early to get a parking spot and take the gondola up to the summit. Alternatively, you can tack on a grueling start to your day by making your way up the steep incline of the Grouse Grind or BCMC Trail to reach the trailhead.
Regardless of how you choose to get to the trailhead, once you start off on the Crown Mountain Trail you will be met with a challenging but rewarding day. From the 1,504 m summit, you face incredible views of countless backcountry mountains to the north, Grouse and Goat mountains to the south, the entire Capilano Watershed to the west, and the Fraser Valley to the east. While the going on this trail may be tough, the views from this high peak on the North Shore are hard to beat.
To get to the Crown Mountain trailhead after reaching the top of Grouse Mountain, hikers will need to make their way to the Alpine Trail that lies beyond the Grizzly Bear enclosure on the backside of Grouse Mountain. From the chalet, head towards the Peak Ski Run, passing by the Grizzly Bear enclosure on your left-hand side. From here, the trail will split into two paths, with the right trail reaching to the summit of Grouse Mountain and the left leading under the Peak chairlift. Follow the trail to the left, making sure to stop at the trail map to register yourself as a hiker in the area. This will allow the North Shore Rescue team to better locate you in the event that something happens while you are on your hike. Continue along the trail for 500 m to reach the Alpine Trail.
As the trail begins to climb uphill, you will reach a junction for the Ridge Trail to the left. Ignore this route—unless you want to add extra difficulty and distance to the trip—and continue to the right, staying on the Alpine Trail as you skirt around the Dam and Little Goat mountains.
Make your way up the trail until you get to the zipline tower, where you will see trail signs marking the direction for Crown and Goat mountains. Continue on the Alpine Trail toward Goat/Crown mountains, passing by any trail junctions that you may come across. You will soon catch a glimpse of Crown Mountain in the distance and the rock formation just in front of it that resembles a camel.
At this point in the hike, you will reach a junction in the trail for Goat Mountain/Goat Ridge. This is a popular trail for many hikers, but as it does not lead to Crown Mountain you should ignore it, heading left down the trail that will lead you to the west of Goat Mountain.
This portion of the Crown Mountain Trail becomes far more technical, requiring hikers to descend 250 m into Crown Pass across a stretch of rocky, root-covered terrain. Parts of this descent will have chains to assist you in navigating the slippery rocks as you make your way to the bottom of Crown Pass and through a boulder field. Immediately after this descent is the steep climb up to the peak of Crown Mountain, so take a few moments to rest up before continuing on the trail.
To your right, there will be a trail down into the Haynes Valley. Pass this by, continuing straight ahead as you begin the 421 m climb up to the peak of Crown Mountain. This section of the hike will be technical, with some exposed sections of trail. Take caution as you climb up alongside the steep cliff and follow the orange route markers as you make your way along the rocky trail, continuing on as the path leads back into the tree cover.
After making the final push to the summit of Crown Mountain, you will be rewarded with incredibly beautiful views of both the Capilano Watershed and the Fraser Valley. Standing on the narrow peak known as ‘The Pyramid,’ look down on the city of Vancouver, taking in the 360°panoramic views of the surrounding area. After taking in the sights, make your way down the trail, traversing Crown Pass on your way back to the Grouse Mountain gondola and your car waiting in the parking lot below.
Hiking Route Highlights
Grouse Mountain Grizzly Bear Enclosure
At the top of Grouse mountain is a wildlife refuge that has taken in a number of wild animals over the years. The most notable of these are Grinder and Coola, two 19--year-old grizzly bears that were orphaned as cubs and brought here to live out the rest of their lives.
Next to the Lions, Crown Mountain is probably the most distinctive peak on the North Shore. Standing at 1,504 m, its uniquely pyramid-shaped summit and lower rock formation that resembles a camel make this difficult peak instantly recognizable.
Insider Hints for Crown Mountain Trail
- Bring bear spray, as there are furry friends that roam this area other than those in the grizzly enclosure.
- This trail is closed during the winter season due to dangerous conditions. If you are planning a trip shortly before the trails close or after they re-open, make sure that you bring proper gear such as crampons or microspikes to combat snow and ice.
- Proper hiking footwear is necessary as technical sections of the trail are covered in rocks and/or roots.
- Bring money for the gondola, unless you are planning to access the trailhead via the BCMC Trail or Grouse Grind (a gondola ticket can be purchased for $15 on weekdays, and $20 on weekends and holidays).
Getting to the Crown Mountain Trail Trailhead
To get to the Crown Mountain trailhead from Vancouver, take Highway 1 West across Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to North Vancouver. Taking the exit for Capilano Road, turn right and follow Capilano Road for 4.5 km until you reach the Grouse Mountain parking lot. You will need to take the gondola up, or hike either the Grouse Grind/BCMC Trail to reach the trailhead.
Crown Mountain Trail Elevation Graph
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Crown Mountain Trail Reviews
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