Cypress Provincial Park is one of the top places to visit in Vancouver in winter, but did you know that tucked away in the forest on Cypress Mountain are a collection of quaint cabins? If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver in winter, snowshoeing to the Cypress Mountain cabins should be on your list. Cypress Mountain is beautiful year-round, but especially so when covered in a blanket of snow.
The Cypress cabins, also know as the Hollyburn Cabins, have grown in popularity in recent years. If you’ve ever visited Cypress Mountain, you’ve probably passed by them unknowingly. The cabins make for a great day of snowshoeing, and you can choose how far into the forest you want to go.
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Essential Items To Bring Snowshoeing
- Snowshoes – On a heavy snow day, snowshoes are essential on this trail. If you go during the weekdays, there’s often less foot traffic so the snow can get really deep.
- Microspikes – Microspikes can also be used on this trail, especially when the snow is packed down and icy.
- Backpack – A good sturdy backpack to carry all your essentials (camera, first aid kit etc…)
- Camera – You won’t want to visit the cabins without a camera, they are so beautiful! I’m using the Sony A7R with the Sony GM 16-35 lens.
- Water bottle –
- First Aid Kit – Although this trail is fairly flat and with little to no elevation, I still carry a first-aid kit just in case.
- Hand & Toe Warmers – My hands and feet hate the cold, especially when snowshoeing, so I bring hand & toe warmers.
History Of The Cypress Mountain Cabins
The cabins on Cypress Mountain first started popping up in the late 1920’s after the Hollyburn Ski Camp opened in 1927. Many people lacked the knowledge needed to build a cabin, and learned through trial and error. I think this really adds to the rustic and quaint vibes of these cabins, as each and every one is unique.
As more people built their cabin here, a community developed and by 1931 there were over 200 cabins in the area. In 1973, the Hollyburn Ridge Association was formed. The association aims to protect and preserve the Hollyburn Cabins, and promote recreational use and public access to the area. Today there are around 100 privately owned cabins still standing in the forests on Cypress mountain.
How To Get To The Cypress Mountain Cabins
Getting to Cypress Provincial Park takes approximately 30-minutes from Vancouver. If using Google Maps, you’ll need to get directions to the Cypress Mountain Nordic Area. There are two routes you can choose from when visiting the cabins.
Free Parking (just before the proper parking lot) – Route One
The first is a from the small parking lot just off the highway before you reach the Hollyburn Nordic area. This parking lot isn’t maintained by the resort so it’s free to park here.
Once parked, there is a wide trail which if you have an appropriate vehicle, you can further up the road. It does get rough half-way down, so I’d recommend just parking at the beginning.
You’ll want to start by heading up this wide trail/road and from here the trail gets a bit confusing. I headed left, based on the google maps screenshots below. As you head further into the forest, you’ll start to see the cabins. This is where your GPS comes in handy. We did veer off the main path and needed to use GPS to get back to the car.
Holly Burn Nordic Area Parking Lot – Route Two
The other route starts from the Hollyburn Nordic area parking lot. Once you turn left into the parking lot, continue all the way to the end where the very last parking lot is (just past the tube park). From this parking lot you’ll see a sign and an obvious trail.
On this path, you’ll come to a crossroads and can either go left or right. I think going left is where the prettier cabins are.
There are other snowshoe trails in the area that require purchasing a pass. You can also go tubing or nordic skiing, so if you want to spend the whole day here after visiting a few cabins there is plenty to do.
I have taken both of these trails on separate occasions, and I think the better option is to take the trail that starts at the nordic area. This is also a more obvious trail so it’s harder to get lost here.
The Hollyburn Nordic area parking tends to fill up early in the day, especially after a heavy snowfall. If this parking lot is full, you may be able to find a spot along the side of the road.
Important Things To Know
- Bring GPS. It is very easy to get lost in and around these cabins. There is no official trail that is groomed or maintained so veering off route can get you lost.
- The cabins are privately owned, please be respectful when visiting.
- Wrap up warm, conditions in the mountains can change at a moments notice.
- Leave early if you are looking to snowshoe to the cabins. On a pow day, the traffic going up to Cypress ski area can be seriously backed up.
- Bring snowshoes or micro spikes. Snowshoes are great if the snow is deep after a heavy snowfall, or micro spikes if the snow is more compact and icy.
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