The winters in Vancouver can get rough. The cliche is true, it rains a lot. But worse than the rain is the grey - a perpetual heaviness that starts high above in a solidly grey sky, continues into a constant grey cloud bank, migrates into a grey mist that persists whether or not it's actually raining, transforms into the grey buildings of skyscrapers reflecting back those ashen skies, and finishes in puddles on pavement. It's bleak. But, the nice thing for those in the know, is that if you go up - and up, and up - you can sometimes get above that cloud, and rediscover the mountains that make this city by the sea a place we love living.
One of the better known getaways is Dog Mountain. (And yes, part of my love for it is the name.)
Drive up to Mount Seymour, and find your way to the Nordic parking area. Because it's so well known, the parking lot gets busy - on a sunny weekend day in winter, if you can't get up the mountain by 9 am (latest) don't bother.
Once you've snapped on your snowshoes (or crampons/spikes, though you'll see plenty of people in tennis shoes it's not recommended - the trail is well trampled and the steeper sections can get icy) head north, keeping to the left of the chairlift.
After a meandering trail that goes through the forest with minimal elevation gain, you'll hit the first lake - or, in winter, a field of snow. Keep following the trail west of the lake, and after an uphill that feels easy or strenuous depending on whether it's your first or fifth snowshoe of the season you'll hit the pay-off: epic views of Vancouver and beyond. On a less than clear day, the trail itself is still a nice way out of the city.
Given the name, it is pet friendly, but dogs are supposed to be kept on leashes and periodically the rangers are out giving stern talking to's as well as tickets.