View Capilano Mountain in a larger map
What: 1685m. A big mountain with a commanding view.
Where: Capilano Mountain is located between Vancouver and Squamish, approximately 13 kilometers southeast of Furry Creek, BC.
||Wide variety of terrain. Long single day return distance.
||Totally runnable to Beth Lake trailhead with some nice sections to lake and in alpine.
|Unobstructed views in 360 degrees.
||Wide variety including old growth, alpine lakes, sheer cliffs, city views and rocky, open alpine.
||Return trip to peak is long way.
||Sharp rocks in alpine.
Route overview: Widely varied. A bit of gravel road. Some decommissioned logging road. Some rough single track. Some scrambling. Trail is hard to follow in the alpine area.
Trip distance: Roughly 26 kilometers round-trip from gate at end of paved road. Shorter if you drive closer to Beth Lake trailhead.
Trip time: Budget 6 - 8 hours out and back from the gate at end of paved road. This assumes a moderate running pace, where running is possible, and some contingency for getting lost.
- Cellular coverage is poor to non-existent.
- GPS is inconsistent until Beth Lake due to heavy tree canopy
- No emergency shelters in the area
- Given routefinding challenges in alpine, not recommended on a foggy day
- Recommend you bring your Baggers Companion.
History: Assumed to be named after Chief Joe Capilano of the Squamish nation.
Headwaters for: Capilano River.
Getting there: Take Highway 99 to the Furry Creek golf course. Once off the highway, take the paved Furry Creek Drive paralleling the highway on mountain side. From Vancouver direction, go straight past the entrance to the country club (Country Club Road.) As the paved road goes left to a tunnel under the highway, go right and uphill. From Squamish direction, take first Furry Creek exit then tunnel under highway and uphill to end of pavement. There will be a dirt road and a yellow gate. A sign warns that the gate could be closed at any time. All trail measurements from here.
Route Details: The trail to Capilano Mountain is less traveled. There is only one clear route we recommend for baggers.
- first question is, "How far do I drive?" If you don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, you are in any way worried about scratching your 4-wheel or you are worried about getting locked in if someone closes the gate, park your car in the guest lot at Oliver's Landing. (Take paved road under Hwy #99, go right towards water. It's about 1 kilometer from parking lot to the gate.)
- Gate to the trail-head access road. Reset odometer. Follow the powerlines 3.9km uphill to cutoff. At 1.4km, you will come to a quarry. Go right. At 2.5km you will pass by a gate leading steeply downhill. Don't go here even if the gate is open. Cross 2 bridges (2.8km and 3.1km). At the fork in the road at 3.7km, stay left. At 4.3km, take the smaller road left. We noted 28.3 on the hydro tower near this fork.
- Power lines to trailhead. This is a narrow dirt road that goes from being drivable to almost imperceptible singletrack through alders as you reach the trail to Beth Lake. If you are driving, go as far as you dare. We went 600m to a small parking area and recommend you park here, too. The road to our parking spot was OK, but alders were very close. From here, it's about 20 minutes at a moderate running pace to the Beth Lake trail. Pass a rock slide area, then cross 3 large creeks (don't count the small waterbars.) You will know you have arrived at the last creek because on the near side, this one has some big old logs that remain from a bridge. About 100m past the creek, look for surveyor tape and metal reflectors in the trees on your right.
- Access road to Beth Lake. Nice trail with runnable sections takes you up to the lake. Watch for metal tags on the trees. Anticipate minor detours around blowdown.
- Beth Lake to the tree line. Enjoy the view of this breathtaking amphitheater. At the edge of the lake, go right over a logjam and look for metal tags on the trees on the far side. Head slightly back downhill, then at the foot of the cliff, head sharply uphill on west side of lake. Some orange tape and some metal markers on the trees. You will reach a boulder field below the ridge in about 30 minutes. Trail marking in this section is very hard to follow as there are few places to hang tape. Generally stay left of the rocks up to the ridge.
- Ridge line to the summit. Nice view of downtown Vancouver from the ridge! The trail continues left in and out of the trees for a short distance then it's open and rocky to the peak. From here, route-finding is a challenge. Look for small rock cairns to the summit. Pass by a couple of beautiful small lakes, many small ponds and probably some patches of snow. There's a bit of scrambling as you make your way up the final pitch, but nothing too challenging. View from the top is breathtaking!
- given the distance and time considerations, there are no other peaks we recommend for this trip
Submitted by: Ean Jackson and David Crerar with help from Neil Ambrose
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