Squamish Hiking Trail RatingThe Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, south of Squamish.  The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver.  The one on the left, the one pictured above, can be climbed.  You don't have to, however, as the plateau before this difficult summit has amazing views.  In fact, most finish their hike to The Lions here at this wonderful(second) plateau with the towering West Lion so close.

  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProIconic Vancouver mountains
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProDifficult & very rewarding summit
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProLots to see before the summit climb
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProPart of the Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProFree backcountry camping
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProDogs are welcome on the trail
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProSurreal to see The Lions up close
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProAmazing Howe Sound Views
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ConParking is absurdly inadequate
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ConHalf the trail is steep & boring

Hike in Vancouver

Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBlack Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBrunswick Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBurnaby Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBurnaby Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverColiseum Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverCrown Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverCypress Falls Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeeks Peak Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeep Cove Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeer Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDog Mountain Moderately Steep Pay Use Trail - Hike in VancouverGoat Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverGoldie Lake Steep Trail - Hike in VancouverGrouse Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverHollyburn Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverKitsilano Beaches Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLighthouse Park Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLynn Canyon Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLynn Peak Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Elsay Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Fromme Very Steep Technical Terrain - Hike in VancouverMt Hanover Very Steep Technical Terrain - Hike in VancouverMt Harvey Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Seymour Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Strachan Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMystery Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverPacific Spirit Easy Trail No Dogs - Hike in VancouverRice Lake Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverSt Mark's Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverStanley Park Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverThe Lions Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverUnnecessary

It is beautiful enough, tough, and very rewarding to get to this plateau. To get to the West Lions summit is considerably more challenging and comparatively more rewarding. The view from the top of the West Lion is spectacular.  Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance.  A tough but wonderful hike in easy conditions.  In wet, cold, or snowy weather, a summit attempt is very treacherous.

Not only is cold, snowy, icy or wet weather a consideration due to the slippery footing and hand holds, but also cloudy and foggy weather.  Fog can reduce visibility enough to make finding your way, and more importantly, finding your return route, difficult to find.  Losing your way from the top of the West Lion has proven fatal in the past. The first half of the Lions Binkert Trail is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully overgrown logging road gently uphill.  After the first 30 minutes of hiking you come to a Y junction, take the path on the right and continue as the path eventually narrows and beautiful views of Howe Sound become visible.

You will pass two waterfalls, then come to a sign (The Lions>>) that blocks the old, very overgrown logging road and points to a narrow path to the right.  You will cross Harvey Creek over a beautiful little bridge with wonderful views, then the first significant uphill hiking starts.  From this point on the trail is very well marked with flagging tape, tree markers and paint indicators on the rock faces.

There are two plateaus before the final, very difficult ascent to the summit of the West Lion.  Both plateaus have incredible views and most make the second plateau their final destination.  It is at the base of the West Lion.  There are not really any suitable or marked places to put up a tent, but if you had to choose, somewhere in the vicinity of these two plateaus would be the place to do it. If you continue to the summit be prepared for a four metre rope descent.  The ropes are there, fixed to a tree above, but are alarmingly worn.  If you have ropes, you may want to bring them for this part.  After this, you will cross the narrow col connecting to the West Lion.  This very narrow approach has stunning views of Howe Sound framed by cliffs on either side(pictured here).

This begins the difficult, class 3 section.  Easy if you are a seasoned climber, though very difficult if you are an average hiker.  Keep in mind that going up is not too challenging, however, climbing down is tricky and dangerous.  Clinging to narrow rocks and ledges you have to make your way around the right hand side of the steep West Lion.  This section is so dangerous that there are permanent ropes fixed in places to prevent you falling several dozens of metres if you lost your grip.  There is one section of rope now missing which is a bit unsettling.

The East Lion summit is in the watershed area and is forbidden to climb.  The West Lion is just outside the watershed and climbable.  It is however, quite difficult and the wet and cloudy climate make it somewhat dangerous.  In September 2006 two climbers after reaching the West Lion Summit and smoking celebratory cigars began their descent.  Unfortunately the all-too-common fog of Vancouver had engulfed the mountain and they lost the trail.  They reportedly attempted to climb back to the summit and find the ascent trail again, however, at a free climb of a small cliff one of the hikers fell 100 metres to his death.  A combination of fog, wet and loose rock holds caused this tragedy.

The beautifully visible twin peaks of the Lions were known by the Indigenous Peoples of this part of the world as The Sisters.  They are still considered sacred as they are a legal marker of a past peace treaty that ended a war between the Squamish and the Haida tribes.  In more recent times they have inspired the naming of the Lions Gate Bridge and the BC Lions football team.

Hike in Vancouver

Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBlack Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBrunswick Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBurnaby Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBurnaby Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverColiseum Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverCrown Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverCypress Falls Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeeks Peak Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeep Cove Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeer Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDog Mountain Moderately Steep Pay Use Trail - Hike in VancouverGoat Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverGoldie Lake Steep Trail - Hike in VancouverGrouse Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverHollyburn Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverKitsilano Beaches Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLighthouse Park Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLynn Canyon Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLynn Peak Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Elsay Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Fromme Very Steep Technical Terrain - Hike in VancouverMt Hanover Very Steep Technical Terrain - Hike in VancouverMt Harvey Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Seymour Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Strachan Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMystery Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverPacific Spirit Easy Trail No Dogs - Hike in VancouverRice Lake Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverSt Mark's Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverStanley Park Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverThe Lions Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverUnnecessary

Vancouver Hiking Trails

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Mount Elsay is a tough 16 kilometre roundtrip hike that takes you beyond Mount Seymour and the crowds into the desolate backcountry of Mount Seymour ...
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Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park, is an amazing hiking and snowshoeing trail. The Hollyburn trailhead is an astonishingly close, 30 minute ...
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Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver is a beautiful and astoundingly huge network of hiking/walking/biking trails.  An estimated 8 million hikers, walkers, ...
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Mount Harvey is one of the huge, visible and hikeable summits in the North Shore mountains. It is located on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress ...
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Squamish Hiking Trails

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Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC.  The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old ...
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Levette Lake is a nice mountain lake located in the enormous Squamish Valley that drains the Squamish River into Howe Sound.  There are some nice views and ...
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Whistler Hiking Trails

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The alpine hiking trails on Whistler Mountain are the ultimate in luxurious hiking. Little hiking effort gets you amazing views of turquoise lakes, snowy ...
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The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Flank Trail, Rainbow Falls, ...
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