Big views and fall colours on Mount Seymour—North Vancouver, B.C.

Mount Seymour is among my top hikes on Vancouver’s North Shore. Located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, it makes a great summer hike and a beautiful winter snowshoe excursion. But my favourite season is fall. Dazzling reds, oranges and golds accentuate the subalpine meadows and add pops of colour to the craggy peaks. My trusty hiking buddy Eva and I did the trek on a glorious day in late September. Join me for big views and fall splendour on Mount Seymour.

Given its beauty and easy access for those living in Metro Vancouver, Mount Seymour is a tad over-loved. If you have the flexibility to do this hike on a weekday, preferably starting out early, the experience is far more enjoyable. On our Friday excursion, there were a fair amount of cars at Seymour’s downhill skiing parking lot (the trailhead access point), but the trail and the summits were not busy.

The out and back hike to Mount Seymour is 8.5 km (5.3 mi) with an elevation gain of about 580 m (1903 ft). It takes 4-5 hours to complete. Don’t let the moderate stats fool you. Mount Seymour has rugged terrain, steep drop-offs and fickle weather. During this time of the year, mud and ice can result in slick conditions. Many folks come ill-prepared for this hike. As we set out from the trailhead, park officials were checking hikers’ preparedness. I’d never experienced this before, but it makes sense given the growing number of incidents on the North Shore mountains.

One of the many things I like about this hike is that the route actually covers a series of three peaks—Pump Peak (First Peak), Tim Jones Peak (Second Peak), and Mount Seymour (Third Peak). So, depending on your time and energy, and the weather conditions, there are satisfying turn-around options. The entire route is well marked with signs, orange flagging and orange paint markings.

Another big plus for this hike is that by the time you’ve driven to the trailhead, you’ve already gained over 1000 m from Vancouver’s sea level location. Unlike many other North Shore hikes, where you’re trekking through a lot of dense forest (not always a bad thing), much of the Mount Seymour hike is spent in the subalpine with open vistas. While the three peaks are the destinations, the whole journey is totally enjoyable.

Pump Peak (First Peak)

The trail to Pump Peak (or First Peak as it is often called) is the busiest section of the route and serves as an end destination for many hikers. Don’t be disappointed if this is as far as you get. The terrain is sprinkled with little ponds and blueberry patches that turn lovely shades of burgundy in fall. There are great views along the way, particularly at Brockton Point, only 1.9 km into the hike. We were able to see the giant mass of Washington’s Mt Baker.

Eva and I took a long snack break at Pump Peak, about 3.2 km into the hike. We savoured the views over the Burrard Inlet to Greater Vancouver, and the rugged Coast Mountain panoramas.

Tim Jones Peak (Second Peak)

After tearing ourselves away from our scenic perch on First Peak, we continued along the trail to Tim Jones Peak. Second Peak was renamed Tim Jones Peak to honour the former team leader of North Shore Rescue who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2014 while coming down from the rescue team’s cabin on Mount Seymour. Tim Jones made over 1500 rescues during his volunteer career; some of his most dangerous rescues were around Second Peak.

Tim Jones Peak is 3.7 km into the hike and only 0.5 km beyond Pump Peak. I love this short stretch that first dips into a rock-strewn col and then climbs a steep, bouldery path lined with brilliant fall foliage. There’s a bit of a scramble at the very top, but nothing technical. On this outing we actually didn’t take the short detour to the peak proper, but it’s worth it, especially if you don’t plan on continuing to Third Peak.

Mount Seymour (Third Peak)

The third and final summit of the hike is amazing, however the roughly 0.5 km trail from Tim Jones Peak to Mount Seymour is beyond some people’s comfort zones and should not be undertaken in foggy or slippery conditions. On our clear, dry day, we continued steeply down into the next col where there’s a short, narrow ridge with a significant drop off. It’s not that difficult, but it may be inappropriate for novice hikers or those with a fear of heights.

After negotiating the tricky section, we got a pretty reprieve hiking among golden-hued subalpine shrubs and over a false summit with beautiful views.

There was just a bit of huffing and puffing over a short, steep section of slab rock and boulders until we arrived at the expansive Mount Seymour summit. Words can’t do justice to the 360 degree panorama. Hopefully my photos will covey the grandeur of Mount Seymour views. Eva and I took in the scene from every direction—the rugged Coast Mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean and Greater Vancouver to the south and west, the steep-sided glacial fjord of Indian Arm to the east.

Eva and I have been hiking together for a long time. When conditions are good, one of our favourite activities is to take a mid-hike mini-snooze. We had a wonderful little nap on top of Mount Seymour. Now that the inclement weather has settled in, I assume that was our last hiking snooze of the year. It’s a happy memory that will keep me smiling until the next time we catch some z’s on top of a mountain peak.

For information about this hike and others, I use Stephen Hui’s excellent book 105 HIKES in and around Southwestern British Columbia. Hiking statistics, map and directions for Mount Seymour can be found online at AllTrails.

Categories: British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “Big views and fall colours on Mount Seymour—North Vancouver, B.C.

  1. That alpine terrain and exposed rock is crazy-beautiful. Even without the stunning vistas from the peaks I’d say that hike has to be a 10/10. Thanks for sharing all the details.


  2. AndyG

    What a perfect autumn day and what great colours! It’s been years since we hiked to the third peak. Glad to hear that there were people inquiring about hiker preparedness – I’ve often thought about that as a retirement project though I suspect that it’s better coming from peers…


  3. Pingback: Finding wonder and joy in the city and in the mountains | Writes of Passage

  4. Love every glorious frame Caroline! Thank you for taking us along. Have I told you how envious I am of your spectacular landscape and your ever changing seasons? Hoping to experience some of it on a visit to my sister in New Hampshire next fall…fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the change of seasons too. I hope you get to visit your sister in New Hampshire. Having lived on both the east and west sides of North America, I’d have to give the east the win on fall colours. You will be in for a treat.


  5. I am once again completely charmed by your gorgeous stomping grounds, Caroline. What a marvelous hiking season you had!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a glorious blue sky day for photos. Quite a hike with three peaks, congratulations! I loved the little pools and Mt Baker floating in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve said this before: it’s great that open, amazing natural areas are on your city’s doorstep. There probably aren’t many cities in the world that can make this claim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right Neil. I feel super fortunate but the traveler in me is itching for a different experience soon. Something cultural…Europe? We’ll see how it goes with the pandemic.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful captures Caroline!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely views! I like the photos with the tiny ponds, and also the little pops of color from the plants.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So happy to have hiked vicariously with you. What beautiful country we live in! And your photos of it are superb – so clear and sharp.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. CK Grasset

    It was so nice to read this post. I have just been home to Vancouver after nearly 2 years…indeed the colours of autumn are gorgeous. Next time I will bring my hiking boots.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I haven’t done much hiking on the west side of BC and have never hiked Mt. Seymour. It’s a gorgeous hike with so many gorgeous views and interesting rock features. I love that it has three peaks and that most people don’t go beyond the first. It’s also great that it begins so high so you’re soon above tree line. I think the thick forests are what keeps us in Eastern BC/Alberta even for longer trips. But soon we’ll switch to skis. Probably in only a couple of weeks here. Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m appreciating the thick forest right now as the rain is pounding down. At least it provides some cover and the swollen creeks and waterfalls everywhere are pretty cool. I picked a big heap of winter chanterelles today. I’m with you though…definitely great to get above treeline. Yes, snow is just around the corner. They predict it’s going to be an extra snowy winter on the North Shore Mountains.


  13. A gorgeous day out with equally gorgeous views! Thanks for sharing. Mel

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michael Sharp

    Photography is great on this hike bog!!


    Liked by 1 person

  15. JackieFrioud

    You had a beautiful day! Love this hike.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. oh to have such a magnificent place to hike! Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That is just spectacular! I’m happy to say that I will FINALLY get to Vancouver next fall, and I can’t wait! We have been making some plans for September 2022, so I will keep stockpiling your posts and other info and will surely be in touch next summer to see if you might be around!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The fall is my favourite season as well. Looks like you had beautiful weather for your trek up Mount Seymour. Your pictures look beautiful with those blue skies and reds, oranges and yellows from all the trees and plants. I like the sound of taking a mid-hike mini-snooze!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You guys in the east have an edge when it comes to the sheer magnitude of fall colours, but I also find the pops of colour in our largely coniferous forests here very beautiful. You also have more sun than we do. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that Eva and I covet those mid-hike mini-snoozes every opportunity we get.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Lovely account of the hike Caro. Yes it seems so calling, and a memorable one to end the year. Thanks for sharing

    Narayan x

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Another exciting blog post on hiking! You seem to have gone on a perfect day when the weather was perfect. While the trail looks nice and the vistas of those mountain ranges impressive, the autumn color really adds to the appeal of Mount Seymour. I also love the fact that there are those small ponds up there. You know how your hiking posts have inspired me to explore some trails outside Jakarta? James and I have gone hiking to two places in the past couple of months alone, thanks to the inspiration from you! But since rainy season has started, I wonder if that’s it for the time being as we have to wait until at least May or June to go hiking again. In the meantime, I will revisit this post of yours (and some other older posts) to plan my next hiking trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bama. I love that I’ve given you hiking inspiration. Rainy season has started here too and while it limits my hiking to some extent (no views to be had), I enjoy getting out into the low elevation rainforest on grey days. The waterfalls are at their best after our heavy downpours. It takes some effort leaving my warm, dry house but I usually return feeling energized (and grateful for hot showers).

      Liked by 1 person


    Gorgeous! I’ve so missed hiking and getting away from the city close to home this year .Sent from my Galaxy

    Liked by 1 person

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