Mystery Lake Loop
The Mystery Lake Loop is a popular hiking trail on the North Shore due to its picturesque namesake lake. While most people head up the trail for a swim in the cool waters of the lake, the loop continues around to the top of mystery peak, offering a view of the city of Vancouver on a clear day. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including the salamanders that call the lake their home.
To get to the Mystery Lake parking area from Vancouver, drive along the Trans Canada Highway/BC-1 W and make your way over Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. Take exit 22B Mount Seymour Parkway, and drive for 4.3mi, turning left onto Mount Seymour Rd. Continue north, arriving at the parking lot in 8.1mi.
|When to do|
Yes - On Leash
Older Children only
Mystery Lake Loop
Mystery Lake Loop Description
Although the Mystery Lake Loop is a short 3.0mi, it is rated as moderate due to the initial steep climb, exposed roots, loose rocks, and stretches of mud that are found in the first portion of the trail leading up to the lake. As beautiful as Mystery Lake is in the summer months, be sure to bring bug spray, as large swarms of flies frequent the trail in June and July.
The hike to Mystery Lake and nearby Mystery Peak is located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. While the views from the peak may not be as stunning as those from other nearby mountains, Mystery Lake happens to be one of the most picturesque lakes in the Vancouver area. Not only popular with photographers, the lake is also frequently used as a swimming hole for the many hikers looking to cool off as they head up the trail in warmer weather.
To get to the trailhead for the Mystery Lake Loop, make your way to the north end of the parking lot, where you will find washroom facilities, the King of the Mountain Cafe, and a map highlighting the trails within the park. From this map, walk along the gravel trail toward the Mystery Peak express chairlift.
Very quickly, you will approach two green trail posts. The post on the left will be the trailhead for Dog Mountain. Ignore this and follow the trail post on the right to get to the trailhead for Mystery Lake. Passing under the chairlift, the trail will become covered with exposed roots and loose rocks as it begins to climb uphill. This technical section of the trail will continue for the duration of the short hike to Mystery Lake.
Following along the orange trail markers for roughly 2297ft, you will arrive at a wooden boardwalk. Follow the boardwalk as it skirts around the edge of a small pond, after which the trail will traverse a ski run. From here, hikers will have a decent vantage point of the city of Vancouver in the hazy distance. Upon crossing the ski run, continue on the trail for 656ft, and you will arrive at the picturesque Mystery Lake. While you can most certainly hang up your boots at this point of the hike and go for a swim, the trail continues to loop around beyond the lake for those inclined to extend their hike.
To do this, continue on the trail as it hugs the right side of the lake, and keep following it left until it transitions into a wider gravel path. Keep following the path for 1148ft until you reach a junction that heads up to the top of the Mystery Peak chairlift on your left. As previously mentioned, the view from the top of Mystery Peak is not as distinguished as those found on neighbouring mountains. After spending a few minutes on the small, rocky outcrop, head back down the gravel path and follow it to the left to continue on the loop to return to the lake.
Along the way, you will encounter several trail junctions. Ignore these and keep left, following the trail as it eventually emerges at the lake, skirting along its southwestern edge. Having completed the loop, find a secluded spot around Mystery Lake to lounge in the sun, or jump into its refreshing waters to get a break from the hot sun. While spending time in the area surrounding the lake, be careful to stay on designated trails and avoid marshy areas, as the lake is home to a species of salamander and their breeding grounds are a sensitive part of the ecosystem.
After spending some time relaxing by the lake and eating lunch, you can begin the journey along the same route to return to the carpark, having completed the Mystery Lake Loop.
Hiking Trail Highlights
The main highlight of this trail is its namesake, Mystery Lake. Sheltered from the wind by the rocky outcrop surrounding it, the water at Mystery Lake is trapped in an almost constant mirror-like state, allowing hikers to snap beautifully reflected photos of the forest backdrop.
Although it might be a bit chilly, a quick swim in Mystery Lake is the perfect way to cap off your hike up the trail. Just be sure not to disturb the habitat of the salamanders that call the marshy areas around the lake home.
While children can (and do) use this trail often, the route is steep and unsuitable for younger children or strollers.
Swarms of flies are a real issue in the summer months. Bring bug spray.
Portions of the trail are covered in mud, loose rocks, and roots. Wear proper footwear or crampons if using the trail in the winter.
Be mindful of marshy areas around the lake, as they are a sensitive breeding ground for salamanders.
Bring sunscreen, as portions of the hike are exposed to direct sunlight.
Similar hikes to the Mystery Lake Loop hike
The Lynn Lake Trail is a lengthy hike through the Lynn Headwaters backcountry that is sure to get you off…
The Old Buck and Bridle Trail Loop is an amalgamation of the Old Buck, Bridle, and Baden Powell trails that…
The Goldie and Flower Lake Loop is a short trail that makes its way through the peaceful terrain surrounding these…