Vancouver is very neatly nestled within beautiful wilderness. And once the snow falls, local cross-country skiers head out in droves to enjoy the many great trails in the area. Here are four great cross-country ski trails near Vancouver:

Sitzmark Trail

One of the most popular skiing destinations around Vancouver is undoubtedly Cypress Mountain. Each year, thousands of people hit the slopes on this West Vancouver hotspot to tear up the powder. However, it also hosts a network of great cross-country trails, the most popular of which is the Sitzmark Trail. Along this beloved trail, visitors are taken through the woods and shown views of the Gulf Islands, English Bay and downtown Vancouver.

Because of its popularity, skiing on Cypress Mountain can feel a little competitive, however, more people are interested in the slopes than the cross-country skiing trails. Guests of the Sitzmark Trail rarely have to worry about feeling crowded as it cuts through the Hollyburn Mountain area. The trail is also kept open and maintained for night skiing.

Elaho Loop

Located just an hour north of Vancouver in Squamish, BC, is the Elaho Valley. During the summer months the Elaho Loop is a premiere hiking location, but once the snow falls cross-country skiers come out to the area to explore in their own way. Surrounded by sturdy Douglas firs and cedars cloaked in snow, cross-country skiing the Elaho Loop is a great way to experience a classic piece of Canadian wilderness.

This loop takes around three hours to complete, however it should not be confused with the hiking and cross-country trail of Meager-Ealaho, which takes enduring visitors through two days’ worth of beautiful backcountry. While the Elaho Loop may seem short and simple, the paths can be difficult to navigate because of fallen trees or branches, but it is worth the work to tour around this place of ancient nature.

Manning Park Ski Resort

Manning Park Ski Resort has been a popular hub for winter activities like downhill skiing and cross-country skiing since the early 1950s. Manning Park sits a little over two hours from downtown Vancouver, but it is well worth the drive to enjoy winter merriment in this favourite spot for outdoor enthusiasts. The resort is renowned for its abundance of dry snow, making a perfect skiing destination.

Located away from the downhill skiing area, the cross-country skiing area spans 30 km of wilderness, with trails long and short for any skill level. The favourite trail of Manning Park is by far the longest — at 15 km, the Skagit River Trail runs along the Skagit River for cross-country skiers to enjoy in the winter and hikers to enjoy in the summer. This beautiful frozen bed of water twists through mountain valleys as well as an old abandoned mine. It is truly a serene piece of nature with wonderfully smooth, maintained nordic trails, so guests do not have to worry about falling in the river or breaking a ski over a branch.

Mount Seymour Trail

The Mount Seymour Trail traverses two peaks before arriving at the Mount Seymour Summit, giving winter-sport enthusiasts a panoramic view of the area. Located 45 minutes outside of Vancouver, Mount Seymour is a beloved local winter ski spot. With fewer crowds than Cypress Mountain, guests are free to enjoy well-maintained ski trails within the park area. Mount Seymour Trail is the top rated cross-country ski trail in the area. At over eight kilometres long, it takes just over half-a-day to complete and gives guests stunning views of the Lower Mainland and surrounding mountains during the round-trip.

This trail is difficult for hikers during the summer months, and more so in the winter months for the cross-country skier. Scrambling between the different peaks is a heady task and requires a certain amount of physical fitness, so beginners might be advised to wait until they have gotten a little more experience. However, the views are nothing if not rewarding.