In addition to skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and crazy carpet sledding opportunities, Grouse Mountain also has great snowshoeing trails in winter.
Access to the trails is free with general admission, a ski ticket or an annual pass to the hill.
Snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain Ski Resort
Grouse Mountain is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Lower Mainland. Located in North Vancouver, the mountain offers a variety of activities to enjoy throughout the year. During winter, the resort is a well-known destination for skiing and snowboarding, but it also features some great snowshoeing trails that are worth exploring.
Snowshoeing Trails at Grouse
There are several snowshoeing trails on Grouse Mountain. Between them they accommodate varying levels of fitness and experience. The Blue Grouse Loop is a good starting point for beginners. The Snowshoe Grind, on the other hand, is a challenging ascension similar to the infamous Grouse Grind (but not nearly as long, strenuous or grueling). Descriptions about these and other trails are below.
Grouse Snowshoeing Trails Map
Above is a photo of a map of the trails that you’ll find up at Grouse Mountain. It shows the lodge buildings, the Skyride Tram’s lines (in red) and the various snowshoeing trails.
In the map (A) is the Blue Grouse Loop in the light green colour. (B) is the Light Walk Loop in yellow. (C) is the start of the Snowshoe Grind in orange. (D) is the Dam Mountain Loop and (E) is Thunderbird Ridge (although neither of these last two routes appears in the map. They are accessed, however, via the Snowshoe Grind further up the hill).
The five trails make up the Munday Snowshoe Park. For a PDF copy of the above map click Grouse Snowshoe Trails Map.
(A) Blue Grouse Loop
The Blue Grouse Loop is perfect for folks who want to try snowshoeing for the first time or simply enjoy a non-strenuous trek. It’s about a 1.5 km in length. There isn’t much of an incline to worry about as the terrain is quite flat throughout. The loop is enjoyable for snowshoers of all ages and fitness levels. Especially after a fresh snowfall, it’s a very picturesque route.
About half of the Blue Grouse Loop is identical to the Light Walk trail. It’s just a bigger loop. Both trails start and finish at the same spot. After going through the Light Tunnel at the start you’ll make your way to where you’ll see part of the Mountain Rope Adventure (which operates in warmer months). At that point, if you veer left you’ll be on the Blue Grouse Loop Trail. If you keep right you’ll do the Light Walk.
(B) Grouse Light Walk
Grouse Mountain has its own series of Christmas light displays to walk through during the winter. They start with the Peak of Christmas attraction in late November and then continue into the spring. The lights are best experienced on the Light Walk trail, which is an easy 0.5 km loop that starts and ends with a selfie-photo-worthy tunnel of illuminations.
The entrance to the Light Walk (and to the Blue Grouse Loop) is via the Light Tunnel which is sort of between the Sliding Zone and the ice skating pond not far from the top of the Skyride Tram and the lodge.
Snowshoes aren’t always necessary for the Light Walk. It’s a well-used trail and the snow gets packed down pretty hard. That being said, snowshoes are recommended when there has been a dump of fresh snow in the previous few days. At other times, shoes with spikes can help when it’s icy.
In the Light Walk there are several stunning photo opportunities, so be sure to pack a camera! You can access the trail anytime during the day, up until around 9 pm. The trail is especially pretty after dusk though as that’s when the area gets lit up with illuminations.
(C) Snowshoe Grind
The Snowshoe Grind trail isn’t the same as the Grouse Grind hiking trail. The summer route begins in the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain and ends near the lodge up at the ski hill. The winter route, on the other hand, starts a little ways above the lodge area and heads up from there. Both trails offer similar experiences tailored for different seasons. The winter trail though is shorter, much prettier and less gruelling.
The Snowshoe Grind is 4.3 km long (to the end and back). It has an elevation gain of about 240 metres. Although these numbers aren’t as intimidating as those of the Grouse Grind, the trail still offers a good workout for folk who are fit. The trail was chosen because of its similarities to the Grind, and it makes for a great workout in the winter when hiking isn’t possible.
What to Expect on the Snowshoe Grind
The trail starts as part of the Blue Grouse Loop. Not long after passing the Bear Den building you come to a wide trail which is actually a road and fairly flat for about a kilometre.
Along this early part of the trail, on your right at one point, you’ll likely see a tiny frozen waterfall of icicles. To your left for a fair bit of the way is a steep drop. At certain points on a clear day you can see the Strait of Georgia and Vancouver Island in the distance. If you return at around dusk the sunset can be amazing.
After about a kilometre the trail narrows and in parts it becomes steep, but not overly so. It can get steep enough though that having poles can be helpful on the way back down.
The Snowshoe Grind goes to Dam Mountain. From the top the view is amazing (assuming good visibility). To the top and back is about 4.3 kilometres. If you want to go further, you can continue on and do the Dam Mountain Loop.
(D) Dam Mountain Loop
Dam Mountain is beside Grouse Mountain, just to the north. When you go Ziplining at Grouse, two of the ziplines run between Dam Mountain and Grouse.
In the summer and early fall you can hike from the top of Grouse to Dam Mountain. In winter you can snowshoe the route. The Dam Mountain Loop is about 1 kilometre in length and it’s accessed via the top of the Snowshoe Grind.
(E) Thunderbird Ridge
In addition to the Dam Mountain Loop, the Snowshoe Grind also leads to Thunderbird Ridge. It’s 0.75 km one-way, so 1.5 km there and back (after you’ve already done the more than 4 km to get to the start).
The view at the end of the trail is spectacular on a clear day. Weather permitting, you can see the Eye of the Wind turbine on the top of Grouse Mountain in the distance, and Mt. Baker in Washington State even further away.
Admission and Rentals
Access to the snowshoeing trails is included with general admission to Grouse. If you don’t have an annual pass or ski ticket, you need to purchase a Mountain Admission Ticket. This allows you to take the Skyride gondola from the parking lot at the bottom of the hill up to the lodge area where you can then enjoy the resort’s ice skating pond, snowshoeing trails and restaurants.
The following are the daily rates as of early 2021.
- Adults (ages 17 to 64) – $59
- Seniors (ages 65+) – $52
- Children (ages 5 to 16) – $32
- Tots (ages 4 and under) – Free
- Families (2 adults and 2 children) – $159
In addition, snowshoes can be rented from the Fireside Hut for about $20 per pair, regardless of age and size.
(Note: Prices above are subject to change and taxes are extra.)
Below are some suggestions to help you have a fun and safe snowshoeing experience.
TIP #1: If you aren’t so fit or are new to snowshoeing, start out with the Light Walk and Blue Grouse Loop. They are short and not overly strenuous.
TIP #2: If snowshoeing on the more serious trails, head out early to leave yourself lots of time to get back before dusk. If going far, don’t plan to get back right at dusk. Plan to return well before (unless you are experienced and have headlamps and other equipment).
TIP #3: When heading out into the backcountry, always be prepared. That means having a well-charged phone, food, water and extra clothing. Emergency rations like energy bars can be good to take just in case, as can be a small First Aid kit. Being prepared also means making sure someone knows where you’re going. And if really going into the backcountry, go with people who know what they are doing.
TIP #4: Also when heading out into the backcountry, always check the weather and snow conditions in advance. Don’t go if the forecast is bad or if there is any kind of avalanche warning for the area. You don’t have to worry about the risk of avalanches with the Light Walk and Blue Grouse Loop. Occasionally you do though on the more backcountry routes (although when that happens the resort usually closes the trails).
For more information about activities and things to explore at the resort, visit our main Grouse Mountain page.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Grouse Mountain in Winter
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills
- The Grouse Grind
- Summer Activities at Grouse Mountain
- Snowshoeing at Cypress
- Snowshoeing at Mt. Seymour
- Hiking in the Lower Mainland
- Vancouver Parks and Nature
- Top Attractions in Metro Vancouver