I love the long, slow hikes. The hikes with pretty views and minimal elevation gain that are perfect for lazy weekends or late mornings after big nights. Norvan Falls is one of those long, slow hikes - and it's dog-friendly and accessible all-year.
Start your hike in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park by crossing the bridge and following the gravel trail of Lynn Loop. This loop is perennially popular with families, joggers and tourists, so best to keep the pup on a leash.
After a couple of km, you'll leave the gravel (and most of the crowds) behind and start into the woodsier and muddier Cedar Mills Trail.
After 4 km, you'll hit the debris chute (aka a clearing comprised of rocks and boulders.) On sunny days, this spot offers pretty views of the mountains across the way. Head up the chute, and turn left at the trail markings for Headwaters Trail.
This part of the trail has a real Tolkien vibe, with richly hued moss hanging over gigantic trees, and beautiful views across the river. The crowds will have all but dispersed, so now's a good time to let well-behaved pups off-leash.
Eventually you'll emerge from the woods and run up into Norvan Creek. There's a bridge to the left which has led a few hikers astray, but if Norvan Falls is your destination turn right and head up-stream 200 meters. Soon you'll see the falls, and have your choice of picnicking spot - high vantage points along the cliff at the end of the trail, or rocks and logs along the creek bed. Whichever you choose, protect your lunch from the likes of my eager dog (sorry about that, friendly strangers).
In summer time, the water would be mighty tempting for a dip, but in winter it's best to enjoy the view, eat your snacks, and head on back. The same trail will take you back to the parking lot.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 14 KM
Elevation gain: Minimal
Driving time from Vancouver: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy, minus the distance
Worth-It Factor: 8/10