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Cypress Provincial Park and Howe Sound Crest Trail Map

Cypress Provincial Park hiking trails shown here from south to north.  Starting from the Cypress Resort parking lot you will find access to Black Mountain and Hollyburn Mountain.  The Howe Sound Crest Trail then extends north to Mount Strachan, St Mark's Summit, Unnecessary Mountain, The Lions, Mount Harvey, Brunswick Mountain, Mount Hanover and finally Deeks Peak.

Black Mountain - Vancouver Hiking TrailsBlack Mountain can be reached from two different trailheads.  The trailhead from Cypress Resort and the original trail off Marine Drive halfway between Horseshoe Bay and Lighthouse Park.  The Cypress Mountain Resort is the newer, shorter and easier way to access Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs.  Located just a short and very nice, 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver, the Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs trail begins next to the Cypress Mountain Resort chairlifts.  The well marked trail branches away from the chairlift to the left and quickly ascends into the deep and beautiful forest.  Follow the clear signs to Eagle Bluffs.  The route can be done in a circle route, so try to take the other route on the way back for variety.  Black Mountain is a short side trail off this circle route.  Allow yourself 3-4 hours for the 8k return trip.  The elevation gain is 350m in 4k.  Expect to need snowshoes Dec-May.  During these months use caution as snow may obscure the trail markers and combined with bad weather can very easily make you lose the trail.  Cypress Mountain is an access point for several beautiful Vancouver hiking trails.  Hollyburn Mountain is a short and easy hike that begins near the Cypress Mountain cross country skiing area.  The Howe Sound Crest Trail extends from the Grouse Mountain Resort parking leading to several amazing mountains.  Mount Strachan, St Mark's Summit, Unnecessary Mountain and The Lions are all within hiking distance from here.

Why should you hike to Black Mountain via Cypress?

Black Mountain has great views of Howe Sound from a fairly relaxing and short trail.  Starting from Cypress Resort means you have less elevation to deal with then if you hike from the original trailhead.  The drive to Cypress is beautiful and scenic making the drive to the trailhead half the fun.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Black Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park >>

Hollyburn MountainHollyburn Mountain, in Cypress Provincial Park, is an amazing place to snowshoe or go hiking.  The Hollyburn trailhead is an astonishingly close, 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver.  The 30 minute drive is quite something as well.  From the always beautiful crossing of the beautiful Lions Gate Bridge, to the incredible views of Vancouver from the approach drive to Cypress Mountain and the Hollyburn Mountain trailhead.  You would almost expect that there would be various fees for parking, trail use, etc.  But the Hollyburn Mountain snowshoeing and hiking trail is completely free, and also quite convenient.  You will likely be able to park withing a few metres of the hiking/snowshoeing trailhead and if you don't happen to own snowshoes, you can rent them at the trailhead for a very reasonable price.  As if it couldn't get better, it does... the trail is so well marked that it can easily be done after dark, as many do.  What a perfect escape from the city.  Hollyburn Mountain is a perfect escape to a towering mountain paradise far above Vancouver below.  The city lights are amazing.  From the lights of the Lions Gate Bridge, to the beautifully bright tankers, to the wondrously glowing Vancouver towers.

Why should you hike to Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Park?

This hike has it all.  Great views, easy hike, convenient times to use, and of course free.  Hiking or snowshoeing Hollyburn Mountain is yet another spectacular piece of the whole amazing Vancouver experienceHollyburn Mountain is easily done in a half day trip from Vancouver as it is quite close and quite a short hike/snowshoe.  Go early for the amazing sunrise, or late in the day for the unbelievable sunset.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park >>

Mount Strachan - Vancouver Hiking TrailsMount Strachan is part of the trio of mountains, also Black Mountain and Hollyburn Mountain that form a bowl, or Cypress Bowl that give the resort its name.  The Cypress part of the name comes from the Cypress or Yellow Cedar that fills the valley.  Both Strachan and Hollyburn are easy hikes from the Cypress Resort parking lot.  For Strachan you can start near the main lodge walk directly up the gravel road past the chairlift and bear left.  The route is boring and uneventful as you are following ski runs, however the summit has amazing views.  Strachan is part of the 29k Howe Sound Crest Trail as it lays at the one end of this span at the Cypress Trailhead.  It can be reached by the Howe Sound Crest Trail, however, the route is not yet marked and a bit difficult to find.  Among the hiker friendly mountains (from Cypress north) on the Howe Sound Crest Trail are: Mount Strachan, St Mark`s Summit, Unnecessary Mountain, The Lions, Mount Harvey, Mount Hanover, Brunswick Mountain and finally Deeks Peak.

Why should you hike to Mount Strachan in Vancouver?

Mount Strachan is a short but beautiful hike that can be done in just a couple hours from the trailhead at Cypress Mountain Resort.  It's a nice taste of the Howe Sound Crest Trail that extends to the horizon from here.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Mount Strachan in Cypress Provincial Park >>

St Mark's Summit View of Howe Sound in VancouverSt Mark's Summit is a relatively easy way to get hiking deep into Vancouver's amazing mountains.  Starting this hike at Cypress means you drive most of the elevation.  Even though you still have another 460 metres in 5.5k to hike, the beautiful forest and frequent Howe Sound views make it seem quick and easy.  It takes about 1.5 hours to reach St Mark's Summit and the views are fantastic.  Not only because of the incredible vantage point over Howe Sound, but the abruptness of St Mark's Summit.  The cliffs below you are frighteningly vertical, making the views fantastically majestic.  Also the sheer drop off makes Howe Sound and the speck sized boats seem so surreal.  The third and possibly the best feature of the St Mark's Summit hike is the intricately huge and varied terrain on the summit.  You stand and marvel at one viewpoint, then moments later your friend appears at an extraordinarily improbable, and worryingly dangerous rock outcrop a few dozen metres away.  This hilarious game of hide and seek, seemingly can go on forever.  As one leads to another, then another.  Over and over, the St Mark's Summit reveals one breathtaking vantage point after another, until you are exhausted more with the views than the hike that got you there.  When you estimate your hiking time for St Mark's Summit, but sure to include an hour at least at the top.  And before you begin your hike back to Cypress, take a moment to glance back at the distant Lions.  This incredible trail continues to them and beyond, you've just done 5.5k of the 29k, phenomenal Howe Sound Crest Trail.  St Mark's Summit is part of the amazing Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park and is one of the many beautiful peaks to be climbed if desired on the 29k trail.

Why should you hike to St Mark's Summit?

One stunning vantage point after another at the end of a relatively easy hike.  The 5.5 kilometres are steadily uphill, but not terribly strenuous.  Once you reach St Mark's Summit, the places to explore are everywhere.  The startlingly abrupt cliff overlooks Howe Sound and on a sunny day the world is filled with blue sky, blue ocean and lush, green forests covering all the islands.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - St Mark's Summit in Cypress Provincial Park >>

Unnecessary Mountain on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in VancouverUnnecessary Mountain gets its peculiar name from the fact it once was part of the route to reach The Lions whereas now the route avoids it.  This now, unnecessary mountain, no longer needs to be climbed to reach The Lions.  Unnecessary is part of the amazing Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park and is one of the many beautiful peaks to be climbed if desired on the 29k trail.  Among the hiker friendly mountains (from Cypress north) on the Howe Sound Crest Trail are: Mount Strachan, St Mark`s Summit, Unnecessary Mountain, The Lions, Mount Harvey, Mount Hanover, Brunswick Mountain and finally Deeks Peak.  As Unnecessary lays in the middle of the Howe Sound Crest Trail, it has its own trail from Lions Bay which makes it a manageable day-trip.  The trail is well marked but very steep and overgrown.  It is sometimes compared, as so many other North Shore trails, to the Grouse Grind.  Harder, better views and no people, is the usual description.

Why should you hike to Unnecessary Mountain in Vancouver?

Stunning views of Howe Sound and an infrequently hiked mountain on the Howe Sound Crest Trail.  This beautiful peak is an amazing place to spend the night under the stars.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Unnecessary Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park >>

The Lions West Lion Summit TrailThe Lions dominate the skyline in North Vancouver, about one hour from downtown Vancouver.  The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver.  The view from the top is spectacular.  Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance.  A tough but wonderful hiking trail.The first half of the hike is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully overgrown logging road gently uphill.  The trail after this road is very well marked with flagging tape, tree markers and paint indicators on the rock faces.  There are two plateaus before the final, very difficult ascent to the summit of the West Lion.  Both plateaus have incredible views and most make the second plateau their final destination.  It is at the base of the West Lion.  There are not really any suitable places to put up a tent, but if you had to choose, somewhere in the vicinity of these two plateaus would be the place to do it.  If you continue to the summit be prepared for a four metre rope descent.  The ropes are there, fixed to a tree above, but are alarmingly worn.  If you have ropes, you may want to bring them for this part.  After this, you will cross the narrow col connecting to the West Lion.  This begins the very difficult section.  Clinging to narrow rocks and ledges you have to make your way around the right hand side of the steep West Lion.  This section is so dangerous that there are permanent ropes fixed in places to prevent you falling several dozens of metres if you lost your grip...

Why should you hike the West Lion(Binkert) Trail to the West Lion?

The trail to the Lions is through a beautiful forest with occasional views of Howe Sound.  Closer to the West Lion you get amazing, almost 360 degree views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains.  If you are brave enough to summit the West Lion you get a full 360 degree view and the satisfaction of conquering this very challenging Vancouver icon.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - The Lions in Cypress Provincial Park >>

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