North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Time: 1 hour
Distance: 3.8 km (return)
Elevation Gain: 100 m
How To Get There: The start of the Baden Powell Trail begins along Panorama Drive just beyond the park area of Deep Cove. Look for the sign on the left side of the street and walk up the edge of the driveway towards the wooden steps.
If you’re looking to get in a good cardio/lower body workout, look no further than Quarry Rock Trail. Just off the shore of Deep Cove is a large rocky outcrop called Quarry Rock. The trail intertwines with the eastern part of Baden Powell Trail. There’s no better hint that a trail is going to be an uphill climb then when it starts off with a seemingly never-ending series of stairs.
For the first part of the hike, you step up stair after stair while enjoying the surrounding forest of tall Douglas Fir and Hemlock trees.
The stairs slowly fade away into a maze of roots as you climb higher (gaining the majority of your elevation in the process) and then the first of many small creek runoff intercedes across, giving a good view of the classic Vancouver north shore wooded area around you.
You cross a sturdy wooden bridge (again, the first of many) and the trail begins to level into a combination of widened dirt pathway, various bridges and shorter version of the stairs you’ve already climbed.
Mini waterfalls trickle their way around giant smooth stones that fill the creek bed below the bridges we crossed.
There is a lot of variation for the knees, as one second we’re climbing up a set of stairs and just as suddenly making our way down a set.
I can only imagine the level of upkeep that is needed for this trail as a vast majority of it is spent on human constructed bridges and walkways.
There is a special sign along the way stating that the staircase was built in 2003 by members of the Golden Age Hiking Club and all I could picture was the Golden Girls hard at work on trail construction.
The trail is interesting for its large trees in their various states of decomposition. Many trees have fallen over time and others have been hollowed out. It made for some fun pictures.
About ¾ of the way, the trail heads down towards a larger wooden bridge. We crossed the bridge and then climbed up another set of wooden stairs on the other side.
The trees begin to thin out in the last section of the hike and there is a crossroads where you can go either left or right.
Veering right takes you to a clearing in the trees and the path takes you to solid rock.
This is Quarry Rock, where you are offered great panoramic views of the ocean blue below and Indian Arm and the mountains around Belcarra in the distance. Be careful though, as the viewpoint sits on a cliff face with a steep edge.
While the views are great, they’re slightly marred by the popularity of the trail. It was impossible to find a quiet spot among all of the fellow visitors.
This is why I highly recommend that after you take a moment on Quarry Rock, to backtrack and take the left at the fork. There, you can climb up higher yet to the top of another unnamed rock cropping.
There are far less people up here and while the views aren’t quite as panoramic, they’re also nothing to scoff at. This is where we took a moment to have our lunch, enjoying the peace and quiet among an otherwise busy trail.
It’s been suggested to me by a friend that Quarry Rock is best visited in the early hours, when most hikers are still asleep in bed. It’s definitely something I’ll consider for any future visit. While the trail is beautiful and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature along the way, it’s also often overpopulated. So if you’re looking for some quiet time, either take the trail in the early morning or consider something else. But if you’re just looking for a fun walk and a nice reward, this hike is a good bet!