Cypress Falls Park is a park with tennis courts, nature trails, waterfalls and beautiful ancient rain forest scenery in West Vancouver.
Cypress Falls Park
The park has rustic hiking trails that lead to a series of waterfalls. About half the trails and waterfalls are within the park. The rest are on private property owned by the company behind the British Properties development (but which the public is welcome to explore).
Where is Cypress Falls Park?
Cypress Falls Park is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway in West Vancouver about halfway between the turnoffs to Cypress Mountain and Horseshoe Bay. The main entrance and parking lot is at 4500 Woodgreen Place just off Woodgreen Drive which is accessed via the #4 exit from the highway.
At the entrance to the park are some tennis courts and a tiny parking lot. Just a little further up is a larger parking lot. In total there is space for up to about three dozen vehicles. It’s not a big place. On busy days people have to park along the sides of nearby roads.
What to Expect at Cypress Falls
At the entrance to Cypress Falls Park are some tennis courts. They are free to play on and used mostly by people who live in the area. They were in okay condition for public courts when we last looked.
The main reason people go to the park is for hiking and to see the waterfalls. The forest is full of large Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees and the scenery is beautiful.
The trails at the park are a mix of dirt paths, mixed dirt and rock, and even wood chips in some areas. A considerable amount of the terrain is also quite rough with a combination of tree roots, hard packed dirt and rocks.
Some of the trails at the park are well-marked and maintained, but others are not. Some areas are fairly rugged. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to hike the full main loop and it’s not a difficult hike. The hike isn’t a good choice for people with mobility challenges though, including people with balance issues or bad knees.
The trails go along the edge of a steep ravine, so if going with young children you’ll want to keep a close eye on them in some sections. There are lookout areas by most of the falls. Except for one of the smaller ones though, there are no fences or railings to keep you from falling over the edge. This also isn’t a park with well-groomed trails, custom-designed staircases and fancy boardwalks. What few stair-like structures that exist consist of rocks and tree roots.
Cypress Falls isn’t a challenging place to hike, but it is on the rugged side. Much of the route is somewhat flat, but there is also a fair bit of climbing. The park is in a canyon-like ravine. You hike up one side and then down the other in a kind of loop. The river and its waterfalls are spread out in the middle.
The waterfalls at the park are both beautiful and impressive, and there are several of them. They aren’t huge or super high or anything like Niagara Falls, or even Shannon Falls or Bridal Veil Falls in the Lower Mainland. There are about four or so waterfalls though, and they are all of a fairly decent size.
If you are looking for a nice place for a short hike in nature, you want to see beautiful waterfalls, and you don’t mind hiking up and then down a couple of slopes, Cypress Falls is a great place to visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk when we went, as did our dog.
Cypress Falls Hiking Trail Route
Most people who hike the trails at Cypress Falls do a loop that’s around 3.5 km long. When we went, from start to finish, it took us about 75 minutes. Below is a description of the route.
From the main parking lot you head up the trail. The first waterfall only takes a few minutes to get to. It’s the one that has a platform with a railing. The waterfall here goes through a narrow rocky part of the ravine and drops a fair ways. It’s not huge, but you can see it fairly up close.
After leaving the first waterfall you continue along a path until you come to a bridge. We went across the bridge and up the hill on the right side of the ravine. About 50 minutes later we came down the ravine from the other side, so before crossing the bridge we could have gone up in the other direction. It’s a loop and you return to the same spot whichever of the two ways you go.
After crossing the bridge we followed the trail up the side of the ravine. It was a bit of a trek, but wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take very long. It was a bit hard to tell if we were on a formal trail for a little ways though, but we were. The path up consisted of rocks, dirt and tree roots.
As we went up the hill the trail got more defined and we eventually came out at a quiet road across from a gravel pit. At the road you turn left and go up the hill. You pass an electric plant on your right. You continue on the road in the direction of the Eagle Lake Treatment Plant (for which you’ll see signs). You’ll know you’re going in the right direction when you walk past a small “Eagle Lake 5” sign on the side of a telephone poll.
The road with the gravel pit and electric plant are obviously not highlights of the hike. This part of the route only lasts for about 5 or so minutes though, so it’s not bad. And it’s a quiet road with trees at the sides.
You walk along the road a little ways past the “Eagle Lake 5” sign. Almost immediately after crossing a bridge, you turn left onto a small gravel road. You’ll see a couple of small blue mushroom-like metal posts. There is a short trail that leads from there to a beautiful waterfall. The trail goes down to the waterfall where you can have a look before turning around, walking back up and then continuing on your journey down the gravel road.
(Note: The lookout area by this second waterfall is pretty much in its natural state. There are no railings or stairs, and the drop down to the bottom of the ravine is pretty steep. This is not an area you’ll want young children running around free and without very close supervision. The waterfall itself though is stunning.)
After hiking down to this first waterfall and then back up again, you continue walking down the gravel road. The main trail through the forest starts a short ways down, on your left. When we were there it was a woodchip trail at the start. If you take this trail you’ll soon come to yet another waterfall. Here there are two falls actually, side by side, and they too are beautiful.
From this third and fourth waterfall, you continue down the trail (if you can call it that). The trail isn’t so well maintained or marked. It’s more just a downward slope with dirt and tree roots underfoot. It’s fairly obvious though where you need to go.
Before long you come to the bottom, back to the bridge that you crossed 50 minutes earlier just before hiking up the opposite side of the ravine. From the bridge you retrace your steps and return to the parking lot where you started.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to Cypress Falls Park.
TIP #1: If you like hikes, this one is a really nice one and highly recommended. It’s short and a bit rugged, but the waterfalls are gorgeous and the scenery impressive.
TIP #2: Wear good walking shoes – leave your high heels and flip flops at home. Hiking boots can be good too as the trails can get muddy and slippery in parts after it rains.
TIP #3: This is a nice park to explore in winter. The forest is green and beautiful year-round, and the elevation isn’t so high that it gets much, if any snow. Except for on especially beautiful sunny weekends, it’s also less likely in winter that you’ll find parking a problem.
TIP #4: If you want a less strenuous hike, and one that’s short and fairly level, Rice Lake is another great North Shore place to check out. If you want a more strenuous hike but one where the trails are a bit more well-maintained (like with wooden stairs in places and railings or a fence at the edges of cliffs), other North Shore parks to explore include Lynn Canyon and Lynn Headwaters in North Vancouver.
TIP #6: The same as many other hiking destinations, don’t start your hike anywhere close to dusk. Give yourself lots of time to get back safely. It takes over an hour to do the full loop at Cypress Falls, but longer if you are slower or get lost. You don’t want to find yourself still hiking once it starts getting dark.
TIP #7: Bears do very occasionally visit the area, especially in autumn when looking for food before hibernating. The chances of encountering a bear are rare. Especially if hiking on your own on a quiet day when few other people are around, carrying a bear bell isn’t a bad idea (as you don’t want to startle a big black furry creature). And if you ever do meet up with a bear, give it lots of space, don’t turn your back, walk away slowly and never run.
TIP #8: The best times to see the waterfalls are in the spring and after heavy rainfalls (although in the latter situation the trails can be muddy). By the end of August, after a long period of time without precipitation, there isn’t so much water flowing over the cliffs. The falls are pretty to see any time of the year. From mid-spring until early summer, however, while the snow in the mountains is melting, the waterfalls become that much bigger.
TIP #9: Cypress Falls Park is easiest to get to by car. Bus #253, however, has a stop conveniently just steps from the entrance to the park. Bussing can also be a good idea on sunny weekends in the summer when the parking lot can get full.
To learn more about Cypress Falls Park see the District of West Vancouver‘s website.
Other great parks to explore in West Vancouver include Lighthouse Park, Whytecliff Park and Whyte Lake. There are also great trails to explore at Cypress Provincial Park. Places for more leisurely ocean-side strolls include Ambleside and Dundarave.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Parks & Places in Nature
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Cypress Bowl Ski Hill
- North Vancouver
- West Vancouver Restaurants
- Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar
- The Sea to Sky Region