If you are looking for a less well-known hike within driving distance of Vancouver that offers beautiful views, then check out the Hunter Trail! Hunter Road Trail is located in Mission, a rural district in Fraser Valley about an hour’s drive from Vancouver. While the majority of the hike itself isn’t that exciting as you follow an old logging road the whole way to the top, the view at the end of the hike is epic.
The Hunter Trail in Mission, BC, offers spectacular views over Stave Lake and the surrounding mountains and as it is a bit further from downtown Vancouver, you will find it to be quieter than many of the popular hikes closer to the city. If you are coming from the city then we recommend making a full day trip out this direction and checking out Cascade Falls.
While you won’t get this hike to yourself, it is nice to escape the crowds and still have an awesome view to enjoy from the top. It can get snowy here during the winter but this is still one of the many good winter hikes near Vancouver.
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Hunter Road Trail Overview
How to Get to Hunter Trail Mission, BC
The drive from downtown Vancouver to the trailhead takes just over 1.5 hours and you’ll feel like you are a million miles from the city as you drive through the rural district of Mission. The trailhead is located in the Steelhead area of Mission.
To get here you will take Highway 1 East and just before crossing the Fraser River you will exit left onto Highway 7B towards Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. You will then turn right onto Highway 7 and follow this until the outskirts of Maple Ridge where you will exit left onto Dewdney Trunk Road.
Follow this road all the way into Steelhead before turning left onto Cardinal Street, then another quick left onto Ainsworth Street and right turn onto Roach Street.
Follow Roach Street, which then turns into Sabo Street, all the way to the very end where you will find a forest service road with a metal gate and a small gravel parking lot where you can park your car. This small parking lot tends to get busy on the weekends and you may have to park along the small road unless you get here early.
There are no facilities of any kind at the parking lot or anywhere along the trail.
Hunter Road Trail, Mission
Once you have parked your car, you can make your way past the gate to begin your hike. The entire trail is along a gravel road, which while not particularly interesting, is still fairly pleasant. The first and last sections of the hike are where you will do the majority of the elevation gain, with the middle section of the trail being quite flat and easy.
The trail starts with a moderate climb up the gravel road for about 15 minutes before it levels out. You will pass a few junctions along the way but you will want to keep along the main trail and you will end up doing a small spiral up to the main viewpoint. As you climb this first section there is one spot where you can catch a glimpse through the trees at Stave Lake.
The middle section of the trail is nice and easy as there is very little elevation gain although there isn’t much to look at as you make your way along the road. The final section is another moderately steep climb that loops up around the side of the hill. As the trail finally levels out you pass another fork in the road – for the main viewpoint you will want to keep left.
After walking the final flat stretch of road you will get to the first viewpoint that overlooks Stave Lake. This is worth a quick stop but some of the views are blocked by trees. Follow the road for just a few more seconds and you will reach the main viewpoint in Hunter, Mission.
From the main viewpoint you will get spectacular, uninterrupted views over Stave Lake and the surrounding mountains. We visited in April and the mountains were still covered in quite a bit of snow which made it even more spectacular. Stave Lake is quite large and stretches out for miles in front of you, with towering mountains at the far end.
You can enjoy the view from the end of the gravel road or you can climb up on the rocks to get a slightly elevated view of the lake. This is a great spot to stop and refuel while admiring the beautiful views. While the Hunter Road Trail in Mission may not be the most exciting hike along the trail, the reward at the end is absolutely worth it.
Return Journey and Secondary Viewpoint
As you make your way back from the viewpoint you can choose to turn left at the junction near the top. This is about a 20-minute detour and will add another 50 metres of elevation gain to the hike. At the end of this road, you’ll get views over the rolling hills and countryside of Mission.
It is nowhere near as good of a view as the main lookout over Stave Lake, but if you want to extend your hike to get some more exercise then it is a good detour. The other nice thing about this side road is that almost nobody follows this trail, although we did run into a couple of lost hikers who were looking for the main lookout.
To make your way back to the parking lot you can just follow the same trail all the way back, staying on the main trail at all of the forks in the road. Most of the side trails veer off to the left, but just stay straight/right on your way back down. It is a more pleasant hike back as it is downhill almost the entire way. Including the extra detour that we decided to explore, it took us just over 2 hours to complete this hike.
Cascade Falls and Suspension Bridge
If you make the drive out to Mission to complete this hike then we highly recommend you also drive out to Cascade Falls. It is a 35-minute drive from the Hunter Road Trail to Cascade Falls and it is worth the short drive. From the parking lot, it is only a 5-minute walk to reach the falls.
There is a wooden viewing platform that gives you a perfect view as the falls plunge over the edge of a cliff and into the green pool below. Cascade Falls also has an awesome suspension bridge across the river to a secondary viewing platform that will get you a little bit closer. The waterfall hits the pool below with such power that you will feel the misty spray hitting you in the face as you look out over the falls.
It is only a quick stop here but we think if you are going to make the drive out to Mission you may as well add this beautiful waterfall to your itinerary.
If you are searching for an awesome hike that is off the beaten path and less crowded than the more popular hikes in Vancouver, then Hunter Trail, Mission is a great option. It isn’t too difficult and you get amazing views from the lookout at the top.
Looking for more hikes around Vancouver? Check out some other awesome trails here: