Cypress Falls Park is a park with tennis courts, nature trails, waterfalls and beautiful ancient rainforest scenery that is located in West Vancouver.
Cypress Falls Park
The attraction 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. This is about halfway between the turnoffs to Cypress Mountain and Horseshoe Bay. The main entrance and parking lot are at 4500 Woodgreen Place, just off Woodgreen Drive (which is accessed via the #4 exit from the highway).
Some tennis courts and a tiny parking lot are located at the entrance to the park. Just a little further up is a larger parking lot. There is space for up to about three dozen vehicles in total. 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. When we last looked, they were in decent condition for public courts.
The main reason people go to the park is for hiking and to see the waterfalls. Large Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees populate the forest 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. A few areas are fairly rugged. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to hike the full main loop and it’s not difficult. 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 you’ll want to keep a close eye on young children in some sections. There are lookout areas by most of the falls. Except for by one of the smaller lookouts 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.
The Falls Themselves
Cypress Falls isn’t an overly challenging place to hike yet 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.
Cypress Falls is a great place to visit if you are looking for a nice place for a short hike in nature, want to see beautiful waterfalls and don’t mind hiking up and down a couple of slopes. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk when we went, as did our dog.
Cypress Falls Video
To give you even more of an idea of what to expect, check out the following video. It was taken when we visited the park in the middle of October. As you can see, there is rainforest, both new and old-growth trees, some fairly natural terrain and four beautiful waterfalls.
Cypress Falls Hiking Trail Route
Most people who hike the trails at Cypress Falls do a loop that’s around 3.5 km long. It took us about 75 minutes from start to finish when we went. Below is a description of the route.
You head up the trail from the main parking lot. 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 and rocky part of the ravine and drops a decent amount. It’s not huge, but you get pretty close to it.
After leaving the first waterfall you continue along a path until arriving at 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.
We followed the trail up the side of the ravine after crossing the bridge. It was a bit of a trek, but wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take very long. We were on a formal trail for a little ways but it was slightly hard to tell. The path up consisted of rocks, dirt and tree roots.
Out of the Woods Section
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 and will 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 after walking past a small “Eagle Lake 5” sign on the side of a telephone pole.
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 and will 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 close supervision. The waterfall itself though is stunning.)
Finishing the Loop
After hiking down to this first waterfall and back up again, you’ll continue walking down the gravel road. The main trail through the forest starts a short way 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 side by side falls and they too are beautiful.
From this third and fourth waterfall, you continue down the trail (if you can call it that). This stretch of 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 make the most out of your visit to Cypress Falls Park.
TIP #1: 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 #2: This is a nice park to explore in winter. The forest is green and beautiful year-round, and the elevation means it doesn’t get much snow. You’re also less likely to have trouble finding parking in the winter.
TIP #3: Similar to other hiking destinations, don’t start your hike anywhere to dusk. Give yourself lots of time to get back safely. You don’t want to find yourself still hiking once it starts getting dark.
TIP #4: Bears very occasionally visit the area, mostly in autumn when looking for food before hibernating. Though the chance of encountering a bear is rare, carrying a bear bell isn’t a bad idea. And if you ever do meet up with a bear, give it lots of space and don’t turn your back. Walk away slowly and never run.
TIP #5: The best times to see the waterfalls are in the spring and after heavy rainfalls (though the trails can get muddy). There isn’t as much water flowing over the cliffs by the end of August. However, from mid-spring until early summer the waterfalls become that much bigger (while the snow in the mountains is melting).
TIP #6: Cypress Falls Park is the 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.
General Hiking Tips
TIP #1: If you want a less strenuous hike, one that’s short and fairly level, Rice Lake is another great North Shore place to check out. On the other hand, North Shore parks such as Lynn Canyon and Lynn Headwaters in North Vancouver are good options if you want a more strenuous hike with trails that are better maintained (like with wooden stairs in places and railings or a fence at the edges of cliffs).
Check out the District of West Vancouver‘s website to learn more about Cypress Falls Park
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