New hiking reservation system goes live as B.C. tries to reduce crowding on popular trails
VANCOUVER -- A big change took effect Monday morning as the new provincial reservation system for hikers at six provincial parks went live.
The change means hikers will need to reserve a spot online before hitting some popular trails.
The system, which is a pilot project, is in place for some trails at Cypress Park, Mount Seymour Park, Garibaldi Park, Golden Ears Park, Stawamus Chief Park and Mount Robson Park.
The province has said the goal of the new system is to cut down on overcrowding, reduce environmental impacts and address safety issues, such as people parking along the sides of highways.
Brian Crow logged on to the reservation site a few minutes before 6 a.m. Monday ahead of his hike on Mount Seymour.
“Quick and easy," he told CTV News about the process. “I prefer having the confidence it’s going to be a reasonable number of people on the trail.”
Hiker Laura Weston, who was also at Seymour Monday, said she is hopeful the new system may improve conditions for those who hit the trails at the busiest times.
“I think it’s fine. It’s going to reduce the numbers on the trails. I think everyone sees it on the weekend — the parking lot is packed and so are the trails. It’s trial and error, right? We’ll see how it goes,” she said.
Few details are known about plans for enforcement, but some new fencing has been installed at Mount Seymour, funnelling hikers through one area to reach the park trailhead where they were asked by staff that appeared to be from B.C. Parks whether they had reservations or were aware of the new system.
The province hasn’t said how many reservations are available each day.
Some people looking for reservations at Golden Ears Park Monday morning would have been left out of luck fairly early. By 9 a.m. the boat launch and canyon parking at Alouette Lake for both the morning and afternoon slots were sold out, leaving spots in the South Beach parking lots only.
The passes are now available on the Discover Camping website at 6 a.m. for daily bookings. They cannot be booked in advance, and cannot be transferred to another date, time or location, or shared.
One pass is required per person, with a maximum of eight people per booking, for access to the upper mountain trails, including the Howe Sound Crest Trail, Hollyburn Mountain trails and the Black Mountain Plateau trails.
The passes are designated for morning or afternoon. Those with a morning pass must arrive before 1 p.m., while afternoon pass holders can't get there until after 1.
Each person needs to have their own pass for access to trailheads at Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus. These passes are for the full day, and park-goers can arrive at any time.
A vehicle pass is required for a maximum of eight people per pass for access to all day-use areas and trails. These passes are morning or evening, and the a.m. pass requires arrival before 3 p.m., while the p.m. pass is for anyone arriving after 3.
Mount Robson Park
A vehicle pass is required for access to the Berg Lake Trail. This pass is also for the morning or afternoon. A.m. pass holders need to be there before 1, while afternoon pass holders can arrive any time after 1.
Access to upper mountain trails including the Seymour Main Trail, Dog Mountain Trail and Mystery Lake Trail will require a pass per person. These passes are also morning or afternoon, with the same time of 1 p.m.
A pass is required per person for access to the Chief Peaks Trail, also called the Backside Trail. Morning pass holders need to arrive before 1, while afternoon pass holders can visit the park after 1.
Read more on the types of passes on the BC Parks website.