Hiking with kids: Lynn Headwaters, North Vancouver

To celebrate Mother's Day, my family took me on one of our favorite hikes: Lynn Loop trail in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver.

The weather was beautiful, the sunniest and warmest it's been this year so far, so it was really a perfect day for this hike. Lynn Loop trail is just over 5 km long, and it's an easy walking trail for the most part. There are some steep sections, and a couple of stretches that are a bit rough with exposed tree roots, rocks and mud puddles, but it is definitely suitable both for kids and parents.

This is not a trail you want to do with a stroller: if you're bringing one, it's better to stick to the lower part of Lynn Loop that follows the river. It is doable with a baby carrier however, and is fine for kids from about 4 and up I would say (younger might be alright too, depending on your child!).

The upper part of Lynn Loop makes for some really beautiful hiking. There are lots of huge trees, gigantic tree stumps with "baby trees" (like my daughter calls them) growing on the top, little creeks running down the slopes, and some cool, rough wooden bridges to cross (trolls may or may not be hiding underneath... just so you know!).

There's lots of plant life to see here apart from the trees: skunk cabbage in the muddy, shady patches of the lower-lying areas, blueberry bushes, huckleberry bushes, all sorts of tiny forest flowers, moss and lichen, and even a fungus and mushroom or two if it's the right time of year. I've even seen chanterelles here on the trail heading up to Lynn Peak!

The lower trail along the river is a great walk too: you can throw rocks in the water, cool your toes in the stream, or just sit and watch all that icy cold water run by. While the upper Lynn Loop is a narrow forest trail that winds and snakes its way through roots and rocks and trees, the lower trail is wide, gravel covered and mostly smooth walking.

To do the Lynn Loop trail, you can either start out by following the river and then turn right at the switchbacks when you come to that point, or you can turn right as soon as you cross the river at the park entrance, and then turn up the steep trail into the woods on the left when you get to the sign for Lynn Loop. We usually do the latter, that the lower trail comes last: that way the kids have an easier walk towards the end when they are more tired.

This is a great hike, and the park is easy to get to. There's lots of parking at the various parking lots along the road that enters the park. Facilities, including pit toilets, drinking fountain (with a tap for dogs), and picnic tables are located at the entrance. There are no facilities along the trail (unless you count a couple of benches...).

This is definitely a great trail to do if you want to see some of British Columbia's coastal, temperate rain-forest up close and personal!

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