Photo courtesy of Dave Norona


Kim Duess enjoys the amazing backdrop of a multi-day trip along the Vancouver Island coast.


Hiking in the backcountry is one of the best ways to discover untouched environments, see amazing wildlife and get fit. Depending on your ability and fitness level, you can get lost for a day or a week without coming into contact with civilization.

The best way to plan any backcountry hike or multi-day trip is to purchase the book 103 Hikes In Southwestern B.C. at Mountain Equipment Co-op. This book is full of awesome day hikes to get you started and multi-day trips to challenge anyone. Each write-up will fill you in with the trail location, difficulty, and all the cool things you will experience out on the trail. Below are a few cool trips that will leave you breathless on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Put them on your to-do list.

• Howe Sound Crest Trail: From most places in the Lower Mainland, the twin mountaintops of the Lions are visible. These two towering peaks can be reached and climbed as part of the incredible Howe Sound Crest Trail, which is a scenic high-level route that stretches 30 kilometres from Cypress Provincial Park in the south to just before Porteau Cove Provincial Park in the north. You can drop in for just a day or spend a few days conquering the whole trail with its amazing views and high mountain lakes. This is a tough hike due to its steep and rocky terrain and elevation gain and loss. However, your efforts are always rewarded with spectacular vistas along every section. Check it out at

• Manning Park: Just a few hours out of the city, Manning Park provides hikers with limitless options in every direction. You can experience great trails through the high alpine with amazing views and tons of flowers. Alpine lakes are littered through Manning Park, as well to provide you with a great place to cool off after a day in your hiking boots. The Heather-3 Brothers Trail is considered one of the best and “must-do” outdoor trips around with breathtaking views, swimming in Nicomen Lake, and if you hit it in July, you will be amazed at the wall-to-wall wildflowers blooming all around you. Remember to bring your camera. Details at

• Lake Lovely Water: One of the best and most spectacular hikes I have ever done is up to Lake Lovely Water. It is a bit of a mission to get there as you have to cross the Squamish River by canoe and then hide your boat and lock it so it is there for you upon your return. The trail is also truly coastal with its steep and rooty terrain. Once you arrive at the lake you will be blown away by the amazing glacier sitting in front of you and the steep mountains that surround the lake, all of which can be climbed. There is also a mountain hut that can be reserved. Put this on your places to visit and get more information at

gear guide

Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 32° sleeping bag

Description: Stay warm and toasty in Mountain Hardwear’s Ultralamina sleeping bag. The thermic micro fill is soft, lofty, compressible and durable, making it ideal for damp, cold conditions. Dual side zips allow the user to sit up, read or cook while staying inside the bag.

Price range:$199

Where to find it:

Boll Master 33+ Backpack

Description: The Boll Master 33+ is one of the most comfortable packs for alpine sports, lightweight rock climbing or overnight trekking. It offers great comfort and is manufactured with durable materials. Side zip access, hip belt gear loops, and hydration system compatible.

Price range:$145

Where to find it:

Salomon Revo GCS GTX hikers

Description: Tackle those epic hikes with Salomon’s GCS GTX lightweight hiking boot, which offers superior comfort and stability on even the most brutal trail. Gore-Tex insert keeps your feet dry through creek crossings or when the weather turns bad. The Contrgrip outsole ensures bomber traction.

Price range:$229

Where to find it:

Montane Terra Lite pant

Description: Montane’s Terra Lite pants are super lightweight, wind and water resistant, making them ideal for any summertime adventure when the weather goes sideways. The cotton-feel Tactel fabric is fast-drying, highly breathable and extremely comfortable.

Price range:$90

Where to find it: