Coliseum Mountain is a fairly challenging hike, which offers a striking panoramic view from its alpine summit. Views of Mount Burwell, Burwell Lake, Cathedral Mountain, to the north; Mounts Seymour, Elsay and Bishop to the east; Mount Baker and the Lower Mainland to the south, and; Crown Mountain, Goat Mountain, Mount Fromme, and even Vancouver Island to the west can all be seen from the summit.
At an elevation of 1,446 m, Coliseum Mountain is best tackled late in the summer when most of the snow has melted – August or early September is ideal. The hike begins at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and it is a solid 10 hour hike with plenty of elevation gain.
There is a map of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park here.
Coliseum Mountain Hike Summary
Distance: 23.5 km
Elevation Gain: 1,245 m
Highest Point: 1,446 m
Time Needed: 8 – 10 hours
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Est. Driving Time from Vancouver: 30 minutes
Trailhead Coordinates: N49.359619, W-123.027950
Coliseum Mountain from Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
From the Lynn Headwaters trailhead you’ll follow the same route that takes you to Norvan Falls. Cross the bridge over Lynn Creek and head to the hiker registration station where you can fill out a form. From the registration station head left (upstream). For the next 6.8 km you’ll enjoy a nice flat hike alongside Lynn Creek on the well maintained Cedars Mill and Headwaters Trails. Don’t let the flat, wide trail fool you – the hike becomes much more challenging later on. The trail towards Norvan Falls is marked every 1 km from the hiker registration station.
Following the Cedars Mill Trail upstream Lynn Creek, you will reach a junction at 1.9 km marked for Headwaters Trail and Upper Lynn Loop. Ignore this junction and carry on north alongside Lynn Creek.
2.1 km further you will reach the Third Debris Chute. This wide open area is easily recognized by the green search and rescue cache, and open views of Mount Fromme and Goat Ridge to the west. The trail picks up again just above you – continue to follow north (upstream direction). From here, you have a couple of creek crossings and 3 km to reach the Coliseum Mountain junction.
About 800 m beyond the 6 km marker, you will reach the junction for Coliseum Mountain Trail, which is very well marked. Go right here (heading straight from here would take you to Norvan Falls or into Hanes Valley / Lynn Lake. Norvan Falls is worth the detour if you can spare 20 extra minutes). From this junction, the easy hiking is over and the trail becomes steep and challenging until you reach the sub-alpine. This is where the fun begins. The sign here says it is 7 hours return to Coliseum from this point. Fit hikers keeping a good pace should be able to make it considerably faster.
Follow the trail up alongside Norvan Creek, observing the square, yellow markers. The trail begins to climb immediately. The path is fairly well-worn, but in a few sections it can be hard to keep track of the trail as it climbs upwards, so just make sure you keep an eye out for the yellow markers, which are fairly frequent. You will hear Norvan Creek rumbling off to your left. Within an hour you’ll go over a few creek bed crossings. At the 8 km mark there is another small creek bed you can scramble down to Norvan Creek on your left. This is a chance to get some water or go for a quick cool-down on a hot day. It is also around this part of the hike, at elevation 750 m, where you will leave second growth forest and enter into old growth.
Continuing on, you will soon be entering into Norvan Meadows where there is an avalanche debris field and Lynn Ridge (The Needles) up above you. For this stretch of the hike, parts of the trail can be quite muddy and marshy, so gaiters might be a good idea. The trail flattens out a bit for this section, giving you a break from the steep climbing.
At 9.5 km you will cross over another creek and the trail will become steep again. This section of the trail is marked with orange flagging tape. At 10 km you will reach Norvan Pass in the subalpine. It will take about 3 – 4 hours to reach this point. The trail splits here, and to the right is a quick detour for a nice view of the Seymour Watershed. Here, there is also a bushwhacking route to The Needles which is unsafe and not recommended for hiking.
Pushing along back from the main trail and heading north, there are some short, narrow ascents/ scrambling sections that will require your hands to climb up. As you continue your climb towards Coliseum Mountain, you will get sections of views of Crown Mountain to the West, and Mount Seymour to the east.
Within an hour of Norvan Pass, you should be in the alpine of Coliseum Mountain. The trail can be hard to follow as the alpine begins to open, but you should be able to follow the orange tape and cairns. Keep scrambling your way up to the top to enjoy the spectacular view. Immediately to the north you’ll see Mount Burwell, Cathedral Mountain and the mountains of Garibaldi Provincial Park off in the distance. Just west you’ll have a great view of Grouse Mountain, Goat Mountain, Crown Mountain, and Vancouver Island beyond. To the east you’ll see Mount Seymour, Mount Bishop, and south you’ll see the Lower Mainland and (on a clear day) Mount Baker. It’s a view that is hard to beat!
It is possible to carry on to the summit of Mount Burwell from here, but this will take another 2 hours total. Cathedral Mountain looks like an enticing challenge also, however, given it lies within the Seymour Watershed, it is off-limits to the public.
To return, retrace your steps.
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Directions and Parking
From Highway #1 West take the Lynn Valley Road (exit #19 north) in North Vancouver. Follow Lynn Valley Road all the way up into the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park parking lots. The gate hours vary with the season so make sure you’re aware of the closing time.
Editor's and Reader's Hike Rating
Variety of the terrain - 85%
Views and scenery - 90%
Not too crowded - 85%
Overall 'fun factor' - 85%
Coliseum Mountain is a difficult hike not to be undertaken by inexperienced hikers. At 1,446 m the summit remains under snow late into the year, and much of the terrain is steep and technical. The hike is well worth the effort, however, as the views at the summit are incredible. The Needles, Mount Baker, Vancouver, Mount Seymour, Crown Mountain and Mount Fromme are just a few of the things you can see. There are two ways to approach Coliseum Mountain. The most common approach is via Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. An alternative route is a bike-and-hike via the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.
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Other great hikes in this area
- Hiking South Needle (difficult)
- Lynn Peak Hike (moderate)
- Hanes Valley Loop (difficult)
- Hiking Norvan Falls (moderate)
- View all hiking guides here