Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hiking to St Mark’s Summit on the Howe Sound Crest Trail

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Kristie and Eric hiking through the forest
    On Sunday, August 16 we decided to hike to St. Mark’s summit which is on the Howe Sound Crest trail near Vancouver.  Our daughter Kristie had suggested the hike and we were joined by her boyfriend Eric .  Our last hike in this area was on March 1, 2015 when we hiked to Eagle Bluffs (see our post: for more information on that scenic trail). Like the hike to Eagle Bluffs, the hike to St. Mark’s Summit begins by driving to the Cypress Bowl Alpine Ski Area parking lot and walking past the main lodge. Then for the St Mark’s summit route you need to head to the right to the trailhead at:  N 49.395863, W 123.203891. The first part of the trek starts in Cypress Provincial Park and is easy walking on a broad gravel trail. The trail winds mostly through the trees with the occasional open area near stream crossings. Trail upgrading work is ongoing and about half way along we came to the original trail which is much rougher and involves hiking over roots and rocks. The track to St. Mark’s Summit is about 5.5 km and it took us about 2 hours of steady hiking. We saw lots of people on the trail and it seems to be a very popular route. Many people also had their dogs along for the hike (dogs are welcome on a leash).

Eric and Kristie at the St Mark's Summit viewpoint overlooking Howe Sound
  The views from St. Mark’s Summit are impressive and include spectacular vistas of Howe Sound, Bowen Island as well as many other islands which dot Howe Sound. You can also get fine views of the Lions which in our case were partially obscured in cloud. We lingered for about 30 minutes at the summit where we had a snack and enjoyed the views. On our return trip we took a side trail to the Bowen Island Lookout which is well worth it and this could make a shorter hiking destination all on its own. This side trip added about kilometer to the trip and so our total length was about 12 km. Because of this extra length our return time was also 2 hours. Overall there is about 460 meters of elevation gain from the parking lot at Cypress Bowl and summit elevation is 1370 meters. Be aware though that the trail does wind up and down hill so the actual amount of elevation gain is quite abit more. We recommend this hike for the fine views and it will make an even better hike once the trail upgrades have been done. For more info see:

The Bowen Lookout is another scenic viewpoint accessible from this trail


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