- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Mount Strachan is a wonderful hike in West Vancouver, offering quiet trails and stunning panoramic views of Howe Sound.
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Route Description for Mount Strachan
The Mount Strachan hike may be a tad more difficult than nearby St. Mark’s Summit, but it offers quieter trails and stunning panoramic views of the Sea to Sky Mountains on one side and views of the Howe Sound on another.
We like to hike the Mount Strachan hike in a clockwise loop starting from the Cypress Mountain Resort parking lot.
From the parking lot, walk to the large Cypress Creek Lodge. Standing directly in front of the lodge, you’ll see the Lions Express Quad Chairlift. Towards the bottom of the chairlift, find a marker for the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Press forward onto the trail and into the trees.
Immediately, the path forks again. The marker will tell you to go right for Howe Sound Crest Trail, but you want to head straight in the direction of the Bowen Lookout for a more scenic hike.
Soon, you will come to another junction with another chairlift on your left – the Eagle Express Quad Chair. Continue straight until you reach another junction, marked for Bowen Lookout.
Follow the signs for Bowen lookout, until you pop out onto a gravel road. Go left onto the road. Follow the easy trail over a small stream and then head uphill again.
If you’ve never seen the view from Bowen Lookout before, detour off the trail for 500 m to the peak, it’s a nice view. Retrace your steps from Bowen Lookout back to the come back to the trail and head left onto the trail – in the same direction you were walking before into the forest.
Walking uphill, it’s not long before you hit a major junction. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot a large map for the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Go left from this point, keeping a lookout for The Lions off in the distance. From this point, you are following the route to the St. Mark’s Summit.
It is imperative that from this point, you pay close attention to find the trail to Mount Strachan.
Around 3.5 km into the hike you will come to Strachan Meadows. There are two small, wooden bridges going over a creek. The trail to Mount Strachan is off to your right between these small bridges. Between the two bridges on your right, you will see an overgrown trail into the brush. It’s hard to see, but it’s there. Go right onto the trail.
This part of the trail is bushy and can be hard to follow, look up into the tree branches for trail markers.
Tackle a steep debris chute, commonly known as Christmas Gully. Continue to scramble all the way up to the top if safe to do so, don’t do this while there is still snow. This gully is snow bound well into spring and summer.
On your left, find a trail that veers into the trees, follow it and climb parallel to the gully for about 10 minutes, before you come back to Christmas Gully. Go up the centre of Christmas Gully all the way to the top, keeping an eye out for loose rocks.
At the top enjoy the stunning views behind you, and you will also find a clearing between the two summits of Mount Strachan. Head to the left to tackle the 10-minute scramble up the north summit of Mount Strachan first. Follow the bright orange rocks.
You’ve made it! Enjoy panoramic views stretching from the North Shore to the Sea to Sky mountains. You’ll also notice Golden Ears, The Lions and if you’re lucky, Mount Garibaldi.
When ready, retrace your steps back to the clearing at the top of the gully. This time head to the south peak which is now directly across from you.
Prepare your aching muscles for another hike to reach the south peak, where you’ll find views overlooking Howe Sound.
Continuing to follow the trail on the southern side of South summit of Mount Strachan. You should find yourself next to the Sky Chair chairlift.
While it may feel like you’re on the way home, this is where things get tricky, as the trail can be very hard to spot from here. Take your time to find the trail markings, you may think you’re on the path only to find a dead end.
Don’t be discouraged, the trail should be down a ways and left from the chairlift. You should find two bright orange markers, where the path heads into the trees a few meters, then becomes a defined path once more.
Once the trail drops down sharply, you will know you are on it.
Follow the steep trail as it zig-zags back and forth. In about 20 minutes you will find the wreckage of the T-33 military jet along the trail. Please be mindful of the historical importance and of those who lost their lives in the wreckage. Do not touch the plane.
Pressing onwards, continue until the trail turns into a gravel road/ski run, from this point on it’s an easy hike down to the lodge and the parking lot.
Insider Hints for Mount Strachan
- Snow starts early in the winter and persists late into the year. When there is snow, avalanche risk exists.
- Bears are common on the Mount Strachan hike outside of winter. This is not a route for the inexperienced hiker.
- Note: Instead of descending the ski run/ gravel road, you can stay on the trail which continues shortly before it merges to the ski run. This adds significant time and technical terrain to the hike. If you’re tired, just go down the ski run.
Getting to the Mount Strachan Trailhead
The hike to Mount Strachan starts from the Cypress Mountain Resort parking lot. Take Highway #1 West and take Exit #8 onto Cypress Bowl Rd. Follow this highway for 15.0 km to the downhill ski parking lot.
Mount Strachan Elevation Graph
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Mount Strachan Reviews
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