Hikers have long been using the two main trails and their spur trails to access the mountains above the Village of Lions Bay, Howe Sound. A recent improvement to transit service now makes it easier to get to Lions Bay by bus.
For many years the only local bus service on West Vancouver Transit to Lions Bay was the #259. This route still operates with very limited service, Monday to Friday (not including holidays). For a day hike to Lions Bay the only useful trip leaves Park Royal at 6:20am. The last trip from Lions Bay is at 6:35pm.
West Vancouver Transit has added the C12 Community Shuttle bus route from Caulfield in West Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay and north to Lions Bay. This bus operates more like a normal bus route: daily service from morning to evening. This route began testing about 2009 and was added to the regular schedule in 2012. The 2009 schedule remains the current one.
The current schedule is hourly most of the time.
– To Lions Bay from Horseshoe Bay: Monday to Friday from 7:25am; Saturday from 9:25am; Sunday from 11:00am.
– Return from Lions Bay: Monday to Thursday, last trip at 7:15pm; Friday and Saturday 11:15pm; Sunday 6:40pm.
From Vancouver take either the #257 Horseshoe Bay Express, or the #250 Horseshoe Bay (note that not all of the #250 buses go all the way to Horseshoe Bay).
Of course the bus gets you only to (or from) Lions Bay near Hwy 99. You then have to walk up to (or down from) either of the trailheads at Sunset Drive or Oceanview Road. Bring a map that includes both Lions Bay trails and roads, such as the North Shore Trail Map 1:20,000 (Trail Ventures BC, 2012).
Experienced hikers may want to try long trips, such as through hikes from the #253 Caulfield bus stopping at Cypress Falls Park and going up to Cypress Bowl, then taking either the Sunset Beach trail down to hwy. 99, or continuing on the Howe Sound Crest Trail to one of the trails descending to Lions Bay (the latter a very long hike).
This link http://goo.gl/maps/MKGii includes a map of Lions Bay with bus stops shown at high magnification. I cannot confirm that all the stops are correctly shown, and some will be for the #259, some for the #C12, some for both routes.
To return to Vancouver from Lions Bay take the C12 stop on the west side of the underpass on Lions Bay Avenue: the C12 goes off Hwy 99 on the exit ramp to the underpass. The #259 stops in the underpass. A driver on the C12 told me that he will stop almost anywhere if safe to do so.
An approximate map of the C12 route is found here: http://bit.ly/173Ok0Z
Note that the C12 is often timed to connect with the #257 Vancouver express.
The schedule information here is from the May 2013 Blue Bus Rider’s Guide. Before going on any of the routes discussed here, you are advised to get a copy of the current schedule (Vancouver Public Library downtown has copies; or phone West Van Transit to get one), or visit the West Vancouver Transit website http://westvancouver.ca/transportation-roads/blue-bus/blue-bus-schedule
Not all stops are shown on the timetable. And stop numbers are also not shown, but may be added later. Stop numbers are shown on http://www.translink.ca/
The Next Bus SMS text to 33333 feature may work but only for schedule times; real times using GPS may be added later.
Also advisable is to add to your phone the number for West Van Transit: 604-985-7777.
Under the current 2013 fare system, from Vancouver it is a 3-zone fare to Lions Bay on weekdays up to 6:30pm. You must have the correct fare when boarding the bus.
The Compass card fare system will be implemented throughout the Lower Mainland later in 2014, and the current fare and zone system will still apply at first.
—-Update submitted by Robert Batt, member of the North Shore Hikers