Dog Mountain offers one of the greatest views of North Vancouver. During the summer months, this trail is full of root-gardens, mud, and rocks, but during the winter months, it can be smooth and beautiful covered in snow. When I last did the hike, it was foggy so the view from the top was socked in, but the winter mist made the rest of the trail even more mysterious and beautiful and it was quiet, with only the sounds of the forest keeping us company.
Give yourself two and a half hours (this is a generous amount of time, even for beginners) to complete the trail, and ensure you have lots of time for lunch at the top, as you’ll want to savor the view.
To get to the trail, take the Mount Seymour Parkway exit from Highway 1, and continue on the parkway for about seven minutes. Turn left onto Mount Seymour road, and follow it all the way to the parking lot at the top. Make sure you have winter tires, as it’s a mountain road and conditions can change quickly. Try to park as close to the end of the parking lot (near Mystery Peak Chairlift) as possible. If it’s busy, you’ll have to park further down and walk back up.
Head to the left (if looking up the ski run) of the Mystery Peak Chairlift. The trailhead will be on your left about 100m up the run and is marked by a sign. Simply follow this meandering trail until you get to First Lake. Continue past first lake along the well-marked trail. Eventually you will get to Dog Mountain and be able to enjoy the world class view of Greater Vancouver. On a clear day you may even be able to see as far as Mt. Baker in Washington!
Be safe, follow your intuition, and listen to your body! Have a great hike!