Monday, 8 August 2016

Hiking to the summit of Mt Strachan in Cypress Provincial Park near Vancouver

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     On Saturday, August 6 we were in Vancouver visiting with our daughter Kristie and her boyfriend Eric. We often like to do a new hike when we are in Vancouver and so for this trip we decided to hike to the top of Mt. Strachan which is accessed by an extensive trail system that exists in Cypress Provincial Park. In past hikes we have trekked to St Marks Summit and to the Eagle Bluffs lookout and details of those hikes can be found by here: and  Mt. Strachan is a loop trail but is not marked on the trail maps that are posted at the trailhead and along the way so if you decide to do this hike it pays to do some further internet research to help you figure out the route. Mt Strachan is one of three mountains that make up Cypress Mountain Ski Resort and it offers great views of the Lions, Howe Sound and the surrounding peaks. 

Kristie and Eric walking up the gully 
    The trail starts near the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort day lodge and we decided to take the trail in  Total distance was close to 7 km and it took us about 3.5 hours to walk this route. We enjoyed this hike but will have to return when it isn’t so cloudy since we didn`t get much of a view from the top.        
Parts of a plane crash can be seen enroute
a clockwise direction. We followed the well marked Howe Sound Crest Trail toward Bowen Lookout and St Mark`s Summit. Then when you cross 2 small wooden bridges keep your eye pealed for a faint unmarked trail that heads up a steep valley on your right. The trail is located between the 2 bridges and is occasionally marked by flagging tape. The trail winds its way up the gully and is generally easy to follow. At the top you are are between the North and South Peaks of Strachan Mountain. Clouds had been obscuring the peaks throughout our hike and although the North Peak was now clear the view from the summit was anything but. We could see fleeting glimpses of cargo ships in Vancouver Harbour but little else. At the summit we had lunch and hoped the clouds would part. But after spending 20 minutes on top we decided to continue the hike and it heads up the South Peak of Strachan and then begins to descend to the right of the ski lift. Watch for flagging tape that marks the route. The descent becomes very steep in places and after 20 minutes we came across the wreck of a plane crash that occurred in 1963. Two people were killed and a memorial has been created near the base of the Sky Chairlift. From there we headed down the Collins ski run to the base of the mountain although there is also a hiking trail which parallels this ski run.
Keith walking across the top of the South summit with the North summit of Strachan disappearing in the fog

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