Squamish Hiking Trail RatingThe Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, south of Squamish.  The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver.  The one on the left, the one pictured above, 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 here at this wonderful(second) plateau with the towering West Lion so close.

  • 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

Vancouver Hiking Trails

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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.

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(pictured here).

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 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.

Discover The Lions at HikeInVancouver.com

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Rent Hiking Gear Whistler & Garibaldi Park

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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