Mt. Seymour is one of British Columbia’s favorite outdoor playgrounds. The ski resort is located near North Vancouver, making it easy for those living in the metro area to get on the slopes. “Mt. Seymour is a spoil of riches, and it’s the first exit after the Ironworkers (Second Narrows) Bridge that leads you into North Vancouver, so it’s the fastest mountain for me to get to,” says Adam Lee, host for the Community Trail Running Podcast and newsletter. “Parking is never an issue, and there are many access points to the mountain. The mountain features anything and everything you could possibly want in a training ground and is mostly made up of tough technical singletrack and all kinds of vertical. You can run year-round at lower elevations (you can run year-round with the right gear in any conditions, but you get what I’m saying here), and the bottom of the mountain is actually my favourite area. There is also access to shops for after your run, so grabbing a celebratory coffee or beer is super easy.”
Adam started trail running training while attending Athabasca University, an online university based in Alberta, Canada, from 2016-2021. He ran the trails at Mt. Seymour while training for the 2021 Squamish 50/50 with Ridgeline Athletics.
“There are so many options to take up and down the mountain that you can spend as much time as you like here without doing anything twice,” exclaims Adam. “The tough and technical trails are incredibly fun. It’s a more ‘old-school’ vibe as this mountain features trails that are mostly rugged rather than flowy. It also has some very ‘old-school’ trail names that will cause you some double-takes. It’s easy to hammer out a run with 1000m of elevation and not even hit any crazy viewpoints while doing so!”
Many of the trails are multi-use, and you can expect to see mountain bikers out enjoying the singletrack as well. “The mountain biking features along many of the trails are what makes them so fun,” confesses Adam. “It’s awesome to run along these fun features or even take a break to watch a mountain biker tackle a difficult line. There is good camaraderie between all trail users on Mt. Seymour, and that is another easy reason to love this mountain. Seymour provides fun no matter the weather. The trails are tough and wonderful. You won’t regret making the trip!”
Mt. Seymour Trail Runs
“There is not a single trail on Mt. Seymour I avoid at this point,” declares Adam. “They all have fun qualities, and each one is worth your time. Having said that, I do have some favourite routes from over the years.”
Quarry Rock Backdoor– “This is one of the first trail runs I did on Mt. Seymour. It’s a short one and absolutely gorgeous,” states Adam. “The lookout at Quarry Rock is a fun reward, and I love the elevation packed in.” The Quarry Rock Trail is actually the Baden Powell Trail (BP), which is over 40km long and travels the length of the entire north shore. Simply going past the overcrowded lookout for another 100m or so brings you to another lookout where typically nobody is around.”
Bucking Hell Descent (1st half of the relay course)- “I’m cheating a bit here because this is from Gary Robbin’s Coast Mountain Trail Running race Bucking Hell,” pronounces Adam. “I’m only bringing it up because it’s awesome, so can you blame me? How does a 1200m descent sound? How about a mountain peak to take in some views? Maybe some waterfalls? Bridges? Iconic and historic north shore trails?” This entire route is a little over 25km and packs a punch with nearly 1000m of climbing as well as all of that descending.
Huckin Bell 50k– “Well, this is kind of cheating again, but why mess with a good thing?” imparts Adam. This is the original Bucking Hell course before Gary Robbins redesigned the race for the Bucking Hell 50k. “We called it “Huckin Bell” in honour of the original,” tells Adam. This very tough course also starts from Deep Cove and runs from sea level to peak and back. It’s a little over 50km and somewhere close to 2500m in elevation.
Mt. Seymour Trail Races
The Bucking Hell 35km, 50km, and 50km relay from Coast Mountain Trail Running starts and finishes at the Mount Seymour Resort atop Mount Seymour, and runners begin by running straight up the mountain from there.
Mt. Seymour 5.8k and 10.6 k are one of five races in the 5 Peaks Trail Running Series of British Columbia.
The Phantom Run 12k, 19.5k, and 25k from Foretrails is a relaxed and fun winter fundraising race through the lower reaches of the North Shore trails near the Seymour River.
Foretrails Iron Knee 25k starts at Cleveland Park, and Tender Knee 13k starts at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and finishes at Deep Cove.
Mt. Seymour Trail Running Groups
PNW Trail Runners is a partner for Coast Mountain Trail Running trail races. The group runs are usually a section of a Coast Mountain race. The best way to find their group runs is on the Strava Club Page.
Deep Cove Run Club meets up on the North Vancouver trails on most Saturday mornings.
Bean around the World does the job for your coffee fix after a run,” states Adam. “They’re located on Mount Seymour Parkway, just south of the Old Buck trailhead parking lot. There is a ton of outdoor seating, and the strip mall has another bakery and a juice shop (amongst many other things). There will be something for everyone in your crew.”
If it’s midweek and during the offseason, heading to Deep Cove for a coffee from Café Orso is worth the trip. “It’s a great spot no matter the season, adds Adam. “But I avoid Deep Cove at certain times as it’s usually not worth it because the traffic is crazy and the parking is very limited.”
“Don’t let that scare you away from Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers, though, as it’s not located in Deep Cove, so you won’t need to worry about all that parking and traffic,” articulates Adam. “It’s on Dollarton Highway, and they have the suds you crave, a great cocktail list if you’d prefer that route, and some tasty non-alcoholic beverages to ensure everyone is included. There is a nice little outdoor area as well, so you can keep those outdoor vibes going.”
Wildeye Brewing is a taproom and bistro that serves several beers on tap along with tacos, pizza, and regular pub fare. Check out the events list for entertainment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
The Longsdale BridgeDeck restaurant and taproom in North Vancouver pour ales from its parent, Bridge Brewing. Besides the regular pub grub, BridgeDeck’s buttermilk-marinated fried chicken and house-made cornbread are worth searching for parking on Longsdale.