Hiking Pump Peak or First Peak in Winter
Distance: 7.1km / 4.4 miles, Time: 3-4 hours, Elevation: 474m / 1,555ft, From Vancouver: 30-40 mins Dog Friendly: Yes, Toilets: Yes, at Mt Seymour Resort
Pump Peak, also known as First Peak is an amazing hike to do in Winter which is located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park in Vancouver. The Pump Peak Hike is 7.1km / 4.4 miles return with an elevation gain of 474m / 1,555ft and will take you around 3-4 hours to complete. The views from the summit of Pump Peak are of the whole of Vancouver and are absolutely incredible on a clear day.
During Winter the entire trail will take you through a magical Winter wonderland! If you are looking for a great Winter hike to do in Vancouver, this is a good choice!
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about hiking the Pump Peak trail in Winter including what to wear, how to find the trailhead and tips for hiking Pump Peak at sunrise or sunset.
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📍 Where is the Pump Peak Trail
Pump Peak is located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, about a 30 minute drive from Downtown Vancouver and can be accessed from the Mount Seymour Ski Resort parking lot. It is the first peak of Mount Seymour’s 3 peaks, hence its other name, “First Peak.”
To reach the parking lot from Vancouver, you will need to take Highway 1 across the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge over to North Vancouver. Then, take the Mount Seymour Parkway exit on your right, until turning left onto Mount Seymour Road. This road will take you all the way up to the Mount Seymour Ski Resort.
📌 Note: You will need to reserve a free day pass to park in Mount Seymour and have it screenshot on your phone when you arrive. There is a specific parking section for hikers which the Mt Seymour traffic staff will direct you to. The hiker parking is a little further down Mount Seymour Road which will add on a kilometre or so to your hike.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
Finding the Trailhead
The Pump Peak trailhead is located at northern end of the parking lot at Mount Seymour Ski Resort. Once you have park, head over to the Mystery Peak Express chairlift which is all of the way to the end of the parking lot.
Before you reach the trailhead you will come to a B.C. Parks information board in the parking lot next to the trail. Start hiking up, next to the ski run. You will see a left turn off which leads to Dog Mountain but you will want to keep hiking straight up the hill.
🥾 Pump Peak Trail Difficulty
Pump Peak is of moderate difficulty. We hiked to Pump Peak as our first hike of the year after a couple of months break from hiking and found that we were pretty exhausted by the end of it. The trail is a steady incline for most of the way there and the snow definitely makes it harder, however, although it is a bit of a grind, it is not the most challenging hike ever.
Pump Peak is a great Mount Seymour snowshoe trail for beginners to intermediate snowshoers.
We were worried that the trail would be hard to follow, however we were happy to find that the Mount Seymour Ski Resort maintain the trail and place Winter markers in the snow for you to follow to ensure you stay on the trail.
❓ Is Pump Peak Worth the Hike?
The epic views from Pump Peak are so worth the hike! You can see over the whole of Vancouver as well as Dog Mountain, Mount Baker, Cathedral Mountain, Suicide Bluffs, Indian Arm and more! Even on a foggy and snowy day, the Pump Peak trail is really beautiful.
If you are looking for another hike to compare Pump Peak to, Hollyburn Peak on Cypress Mountain is very similar in distance and elevation. Pump Peak’s views from the top are much better than Hollyburn, with less trees obstructing the view.
Pump Peak is one of the best Winter hikes in Vancouver but we would choose other hikes over it in the Summer.
📑 Things to Know Before You go
- You will need to use snowshoes or micro spikes to hike Pump Peak in Winter. Which ones will depend on the amount that it has snowed recently. I don’t recommend hiking this trail in Winter with only hiking boots as it is slippery.
- The peak is exposed and can be windy. Bring along layers to stay warm.
- The hike is a constant incline so a bit of a grind.
- The last section of the climb up to Pump Peak is a little sketchy. The snow at this section can be very hard to grip onto due to the steepness but it is only for a very short amount of time and then you have made it to the top!
- Dogs are allowed on the Pump Peak trail but should be kept on a leash.
- The trail goes into avalanche risk zones so make sure you have done your research on the conditions in advance. There is a sign along the trail which will alert you when you are crossing over in to avalanche territory.
👚 What to Wear When Hiking in Winter in Vancouver
When Winter hiking in Vancouver, you are going to want to dress in layers and make sure you wear waterproof outer layers. These are some of the things that you should bring along with you.
- Micro Spikes – if you are on a popular trail and the snow is packed down or if the trail is too narrow for snowshoes
- Waterproof outer layer
- Puffer Jacket – this is my favourite puffer jacket
- Fleece mid-layer – my favourite fleece
- Merino hiking t-shirt – my favourites are from Icebreaker
- Fleece Leggings or water resistant snow pants
- Hiking boots or insulated hiking boots
- Warm merino hiking socks
- Hiking poles if required
- First aid kit
If you are looking to purchase your own snowshoes, you can get them online from MEC here. Alternatively, you can rent snowshoes from Mount Seymour Ski Resort by purchasing a snowshoe trail pass/make a reservation in advance. You can find more information on this here.
Pump Peak Trail Description
Shortly after you leave the parking lot, you will see the sign for Dog Mountain, another great Winter hike option on your left-hand-side. Keep going straight up the hill. The uphill begins straight away and you will find that you need to take off a couple of layers very soon after starting. As you walk, you will notice that there is a ski run on your right. You will be hiking beside this ski run for almost the entire run to the top.
The hike continues at a gradual incline for the majority of the trail, with a few flat sections and a few downhill sections. Once you hike away from the ski hills, you will be hiking through a snowy Winter wonderland!
The trees are not too dense here and before long, you will reach a point with a small lookout overlooking Vancouver. I recommend stopping here and taking photos on the way up if it is clear, as the weather can change quickly and you may not get another chance on the way down. (You never know when the fog is going to roll in).
After this viewpoint, which is probably about a quarter into the hike, you will walk for a while long until you reach the avalanche warning signs, followed by another “Marked Winter Route Ends Here” sign. This sign is not, however, the end of the trail. Keep hiking and you will soon find the trail gets steeper and steep and less maintained. The final climb is a short but super steep section that we struggled with as the snow was very fresh and soft and slippery. But we made it!
The Pump Peak viewpoint is a small peak with unobstructed views! Enjoy it and take all the pictures before heading back down.
Tips for Hiking Pump Peak at Sunrise or Sunset
One of our favourite times of the day for hiking trails in Vancouver with amazing viewpoints like Pump Peak, is at sunrise or sunset. The golden light makes the view even more incredible but you need to make sure you remember these additional things if you are planning on hiking in the dark.
- Bring a headlight for hiking back in the dark. Our headlights are from Nitecore and they are great! Check them out HERE
- Make sure you have downloaded the trail maps from All Trails.
- Ensure someone knows where you are going
- Have enough food and water with you
- Bring/wear layers. There’s nothing worse than being cold on a hike or at a viewpoint!
Other Amazing Winter Hikes in Mount Seymour Provincial Park
Mount Seymour has lots of amazing hikes and snowshoes to do during Winter. These are a couple of our favourites that you should check out!
Distance: 5km / 3.1 miles | Elevation: 150 metres / 492 ft | Time: 2-2.5 hrs | Level: Easy
Dog Mountain is an easier hike than Pump Peak with less distance and elevation. It is a great Winter hike for beginners and families! The views from the Dog Mountain viewpoint look over Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and are absolutely stunning!
Dave and I love spending sunset up at this viewpoint because it’s truly magical. Dog Mountain is a hike we can absolutely recommend if you are short on time and/or energy but still want to get a hike in while you are in Vancouver.
Mount Seymour Discovery Snowshoe Trails
Distance: Varies per trail | Elevation gain: Varies per trail | Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate / Black Diamond
Apart from its backcountry trails, Mount Seymour Resort also offers a few paid snowshoe trails which are called the Discovery Snowshoe Trails. These trail are maintained by the resort and the entrance to them is at the bottom of the Magic Carpet ski hill.
There are quite a few snowshoe trails which are rated by difficulty. This is shown by different colours on the trail map, with a green circle which is easy, a blue square which is intermediate and a black diamond which is difficult.
You can do these trails on your own or you could do a snowshoe tour with a guide. Either of these options is a great Winter’s day out in Vancouver and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
💭 Our Thoughts
We did Pump Peak on a super rainy and foggy day in Winter. We were 100% prepared for there not to be any views and we still really enjoyed the hike as it was beautiful in the snow. It even started snowing and then almost snow storming once we were at the summit which was kind of unpleasant but also comedic.
With any mountain hike, you have to be prepared to be disappointed at the viewpoint because mountain weather is extremely unpredictable and can change very quickly.
If you are looking for a destination to get outdoors in the Winter time, Vancouver is great. There are loads more amazing Winter snowshoeing trails in Vancouver like Pump Peak!
You might also enjoy:
- 11 of the Best Vancouver Snowshoeing Trails
- The Best Things to do in Winter in Vancouver
- How to Spend a Magical Christmas in Leavenworth
- How to Visit Scenic Hot Springs in Washington
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