Shadow does an awful lot of hiking with his parents on the weekends, and we thought that as an older pup, we’d love to know what are great hikes for our small to medium sized four legged friends that aren’t as bouncy as those young pups out there.
Below is translated from Westish
If we haven’t met, my name is Shadow the Hedgehog Yamanaka. I’m a westie, I’m 13 years old and I love fresh air, stretching my little legs, meeting other dogs and chasing squirrels. I’m happy to share with you some of my favourite hikes in the Lower Mainland.
Is that all I have to say, mum?”
I’m listing these in order of easy to more challenging , considering how long it takes, terrain and elevation gains.”
“This is a perfect “hike” for lazy days. Sometimes mum hates the parking game in the summer, but she cusses less in the fall and winter so I guess it’s better during those seasons.”
Why I love it: “It’s pretty darn flat the entire hike, and it’s more like a walk in the woods. I get to be off-leash and sniff everything my heart desires. I see a lot of groups of people, runners, couples and families, and some with their dogs too!
It’s a great introductory “hike” that is accessible year round and just beautiful. It’s only one big path, so you won’t get lost, with a few exploratory loops that more challenging and are also well marked. There’s something for everyone in Lynn Valley!”
Time: “This can be as short as 2-3 hours out to the debris chute with no elevation gains. If you take some of the other loops and go out to Norvan Falls, it can be 5 to 6 hours, so you have options! The hike to Norvan Falls is a bit more technical, but still relatively flat and do able! Just take lots of breaks if you’re an old dog like me.”
Footwear: “You could easily do this hike in runners, but sometimes it gets muddy during the rain, so hiking boots or water resistant shoes are great for the wet season.”
“This is another example of a walk in the woods with a little bit more variety and interest along the path, compared to Lynn Valley. There are even beaver dens and toadlets sometimes! It’s a bit of a drive out to Minnekhada (it’s in Poco), so we like to bring a snack to have while there. Heck, I like snacks any time of the day, so that’s the best piece of advice I can give you. Bring snacks.”
Why I love it: “There is changing scenery from lakes and marshes to a great lookout of fields and pastures. There are two short climbs to the lookouts that are really peaceful. One trail takes you to Minnekhada lodge (http://www.minnekhada.net/minnekhada-lodge/) which is a really neat heritage site, and you can tour the house and pick up a little history while getting fresh air. We saw a wedding there one time! You’ll also see families walking and hiking in this area.
This one is also hard to get lost on, as the trails are wide, well marked and in one big loop (although once we went around a smaller loop a few times …but we made it out! Mum and dad should’ve asked me to show them the way to the car, really).”
Time: “Minnekhada can take 2-3 hours, depending on how much poking around you’d like to do at the lodge and which loop to take. Elevation gains are minimal except those two climbs to the outlooks.”
Footwear: “Athletic shoes would be fine for this hike, but use your best judgment ex: if you feel like your ankles need more support, then hiking boots would be great for a couple small sections.”
Big Cedar / Kennedy falls
“Another great North Van hike, I think this is more hike-y than Lynn Valley and Minnekhada. It IS a few levels up in terms of technicality and time. “
Why I love it: “It’s an interesting hike and is a beautiful environment throughout. You’re close to trees but never feel like you’re being suffocated by them. This hike is interspersed by several little water cascades (not water falls, they’re a bit more like streams) and during rainy season, mum and dad have to help carry me across as my paws aren’t as confident as they used to be, but a few years ago I was totally fine crossing on my own.
There is one section where there is a support rope to climb up and down a few roots, mum and dad definitely have to carry me on this part.
Lots of tree, and their roots – just keep an eye out for your footing.”
Time: “The big long version of this hike takes you to Kennedy Falls (5-6 hours) – it’s wonderfully cool in the summer, but for beginners and old dogs like me, I like to stop at Big Cedar for a snack, turn around and go home from there. Big Cedar is …well a big cedar (3 hours). It’s a hard checkpoint to miss!”
Footwear and environment: “With the water cascades, you’ll definitely want water resistant hiking shoes / boots. No one likes walking around with wet / muddy paws. A few “up and down” sections but elevation gain is pretty minimal.
The first part of this hike IS SHARED with mountain bikers, so just keep your eyes and ears open for them. There is a sign that delineates where it’s mostly hiking (you can see that mountain bikers would not be on this terrain).”
“One of my favourites! Parking is rarely an issue at this hike since it shares the same mountain as Eagle Bluffs, St. Marks summit and a few others with beautiful / gorgeous pay offs, but isn’t as “sexy” a hike (I guess Instagrammers really want that payoff, and bragging rights haha because those others are a bit tougher). Holly burn is…lovely. At the top, you can see the Lions and far away mountain ridges. The view can be obscured by clouds and fog, but we just enjoy the hike so much that the view isn’t the point.”
Why I love it: “This hike gently undulates it’s way up Cypress with differing terrain and scenery at different points. My mom’s favourites are the Whiskey Jacks that come to say “hi” if you have seeds for them. I like that it’s not very busy and I can handle 99% of this hike (there are 2 or 3 big steps that are too far for me to reach with my little legs…if I only had opposable thumbs).
It’s not one of those hikes where you think you’re going straight up a mountain! There is an elevation gain, but it’s gentle. At some spots you have to watch where you step, but you’re not so focused on the ground and where you step, that you can’t enjoy the scenery.”
Time: “Hollyburn takes about 3 hours round trip and really accessible from Vancouver.”
Footwear: “Also do-able in athletic shoes with an “aggressive” base (like mountain bike tires versus street bike tires) to help get around rocks and roots, hiking shoes or boots will provide more traction than runners. We find that because this hike only accessible / open for a few months of the year, you won’t need special gear beyond good footwear. “
Shadow discovered his passion in health and personal protection while accompanying his parents to work as a youth and meeting amazing people. Inspired by what he saw, he helps people streamline their lives through showing them how to enjoy the simple things in life like food, sleep, burning off energy and love.