Hike Rating 8The Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, south of Squamish.  The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver and, though hard to believe, the West Lion summit 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 at the wonderful plateau close to the West Lion and looking across to the East Lion.

  • 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

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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.

The Lions Binkert Trail Harvey Creek Bridge

The Lions Binkert Trail

The Lions from St Mark's Summit

The Lions from St Mark's Summit

The Binkert Trail to the West Lion Summit

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. 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 Lions Binkert Trail View of Howe Sound

Trail View of Howe Sound

The Lions Trail View

The Lions Trail View of Black Tusk

Lions Trail View of Black Tusk

The Lions Trail View of Mount Garibaldi

Lions Trail View of Mt Garibaldi

Approaching The Lions

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.

The Lions Up Close

Approaching the Lions

View Alongside the West Lion

View Alongside the West Lion

Approaching the West Lion

Approaching the West Lion

The West Lion Summit Route Ascends Down and Around

West Lion Summit Route

West Lion Summit Route Amazing Views

West Lion Summit Route

West Lion Final Ascent Route

West Lion Final Ascent Route

Steep Climb to the West Lion Summit

The Climb to the Summit

West Lion Summit Views Are Sensational

West Lion Summit View of Howe Sound

The West Lion Summit Cairn

The West Lion Summit Cairn

Looking Down on Enchantment Lake

Summit View of Enchantment Lake

West Lion Summit View of the East Lion

Summit View of East Lion

Trailhead & Parking Directions for The Lions

Driving - Vancouver Hiking TrailsThe trailhead to Brunswick Mountain is tricky to find.  It is located town of Lions Bay which is about an hours drive from downtown Vancouver or a half hour south of Squamish.  From either direction on the Sea to Sky Highway, take the Lions Bay exit onto Oceanview Road (the 2nd Lions bay exit from either direction), then immediately turn left onto Cross Creek Road, then right onto Centre Road, then left onto Bayview Road, then left onto Mountain Drive, left again onto Sunset Road and park near the black gate at the dead end. Be sure to park legally as they actively tow illegally parked cars.  More parking is available at the school 1 kilometre from here.  Arrive early to ensure convenient parking.  Legal parking is between the two cars pictured here.

Trailhead Parking for The Lions

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