For a full breakdown of the journey, I have a short video of the whole trip on my YouTube channel. I encourage you to take a peek 😉
I just want to start this post with a recommendation. I used the information on Vancouver Trails to help me locate the trail head for this hike. Not that it is difficult to find the start, but check out the website for a concise explanation.
Like I mentioned in my previous post about the Grouse Grind, I was ambitious when I decided to tackle Goat Mountain after a solid hour of leg burning on my way up the Grind. I still had a lot left in the tank, but it was still a little ambitious.
Goat Mountain Trail
The trail to Goat Mountain from Grouse Mountain is an 8 km round trip, open from July – October.
It’s expected to take up to 4 hours to get there and back.
The elevation variance over the trail is 300 metres. Expect a fair amount of scrambling up and down rocks and tree roots as the trail can become quite narrow.
To paraphrase the directions to the trail head, as you exit the Grouse Mountain lodge, you will have the Gondola station on your left. Walk straight out the doors, with the station on your left, and follow the bear prints to the Grizzly Habitat. Side note, I had no idea this was on Grouse, and was blown away that I had timed it perfectly for their meal time.
This was my first encounter with a Grizzly Bear. Make that two.
View this post on Instagram
Bonus treat after finishing the Grouse Grind this morning. Met a pair of male Grizzly Bears just before their lunch. I had a chat to the caretaker, the pair were orphaned at 6 months old then raised in captivity. This is how 2 males are able to coexist in close proximity, they were raised together, there's no competition for food or females, and they started this from a young age. I had no idea these guys were here, so I'm pretty happy to say the least! I'm glad my first encounter with a Grizzly was separated by an electric fence 😅🐻🇨🇦🏕 What's been an amazing surprise for you today??? #grousegrind #grousemountain #grizzly #bear #hiking #outdoors #nature #vancouver #canada #bc #explore #summer #explorecanada #yvr #adventure #wanderlust #travelblog #travelwriter #backpacking #wanderer #solo #bearaware #friday #earlystart #enjoynature #orphans #travel #travelgram #traveler #travels
After the Grizzly Habitat, make your way towards the white wind turbine on top of the hill. There is a chairlift that goes to the summit, which you will walk underneath as you follow the gravel path the veers to the left. Keep following that and you come to the trail.
There wasn’t very good signage as far as I could tell, and I even asked some hikers half an hour into my hike if I was even on the right trail. Turns out I was, with confirmation from Google Maps.
At the time of writing, there is quite a lot of snow on the ground at the moment, and for large patches it completely hides the trail. Take care to follow orange trail markers hanging from branches and nailed to trees. I don’t recommend running shoes, as part of the way is quite boggy, and being the amateur that I am, was treated to a shoe-full of mud and water.
View this post on Instagram
There was a lot of opportunity for more appropriate footwear today. #amateur #amateurhour #hiking #outdoors #nature #vancouver #canada #bc #explore #summer #explorecanada #wanderlust #runningshoes #snow #mountains #mountainadventures #solo #solohiking #soloadventure #adventure #travel #travels #wanderer #outdooradventures #friday #enjoy #travelgram #daily #discover
I am going to assume you’re better prepared than myself, and have opted for actual hiking shoes.
In terms of signage on the trail, it appeared that it had either been taken or knocked down. I had no indication that I was traveling the right direction, other than constantly referring to Google Maps and keeping my eye out for the orange trail markers. A good portion of the start of the trail is quite narrow, so it’s easy to follow as you scrabble up rock between the foliage. It’s when it opens up to the wide snow covered areas, it takes some time to pick up the trail again.
I had followed two hikers that I met on the trail for about half and hour before we reached a summit on the Ridge Trail. By this time, there was huge swathes of snow covering the ground, which made my choice in footwear rather treacherous, as I was sliding all over the place if I wasn’t careful.
I parted ways with the hikers on that small summit to see how far the trail would admit my passage. I backtracked multiple times as I was constantly missing the trail markers, which were getting progressively difficult to find. It was only when the snow abated and a trail revealed itself, was I sure I was traveling in the right direction.
I got a point where I was border on all sides by thick vegetation. With the snow on the ground, and no clear path to a trail, it was beginning to become a little treacherous if I decided to continue. I was now on my own, with rain and rolling clouds beginning to descend. I decided the safest option was to turn back, and give the Goat Mountain in the distance a wave goodbye.
It was a shame that I couldn’t make it all the way to the summit, but in the interest of self preservation and common sense, I’m glad I turned around when I did. I had tried to entered the foliage and explore a little bit before coming to that decision, but I couldn’t clearly make out where I would pick up the trail again.
That’s a wrap
It was relatively easy to retrace my steps, with some unintentional glacading to speed me along. In total, it was about 2 hours to get to my turnaround point and back to Grouse Mountain. I maintained a steady pace throughout, with time to rest to take photos and survey my surroundings.
It would be an incredible hike in good weather, as it is not too strenuous, with opportunity for some incredible views from the summit and along the trail.
Hiking in pairs would be preferable as far as safety is concerned, as is robust hiking shoes.
I was beginning to cramp a little bit as I made it back to Grouse Mountain, as the return journey requires descending over rocks and streams, and coming off the back of the Grouse Grind, fatigue was beginning to take its toll.
If you have someone who has been up here before, or meet someone on the trail who knows where they’re going, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and direction. Trying to blaze your own trail can lead to trouble incredibly quick. Every year there are fatalities on trails in BC, even well known trails, so just be conscious of your limits and expertise.
Be sure to check out Vancouver Trails if you live in the area to get the low down on all the best hikes in South West British Columbia.
Don’t forget to like, comment, share, follow and sign up for my blog via email if any of this relates (or at the very least interesting!). Would love to hear your thoughts. You can find more words and pictures in the social media links to the right and in the menu above.
Happy hiking everyone.