St. Mark’s Summit
- 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.
St. Mark’s Summit gives hikers unparalleled views of the beautiful Howe Sound. Hiking to Saint Mark’s Summit can be a great hike to complete in one afternoon. From the peak, you can see the islands of Howe Sound, the Tantalus Range and even Vancouver Island.
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Route Description for St. Mark’s Summit
Begin the St. Mark’s Summit hike in the Cypress Mountain Ski Hill parking lot and walk towards the main ski lodge and the large Olympic rings. In front of the lodge, you will see two separate trail markers. Take the Howe Sound Crest Trail closest to the Lion’s Express chairlift.
It should be noted that the markers on this trail rarely mention St. Mark’s Summit. Instead, follow the trails marking the Howe Sound Crest Trail and The Lions.
Towards the start of the trail, you’ll notice a marker. Hang a right here, and you’ll immediately see the square, orange markers in the trees, which you will follow along the route to St. Mark’s Summit.
Continue until you find yourself on a ski run and keep tight to the left-hand side, always following those orange markers. The trail splits near a green water tower, until you spot a sign for ‘Howe Sound Crest Trail West’ or ‘Howe Sound Crest Trail East’. As both trails are very similar, it doesn’t matter which you choose and they eventually link back up again.
About 1.0 km into the hike, arrive at a small service road and another trail marker. Head left following the road, in the direction of The Lions and Bowen Lookout. Once the service road splits right, hop off the trail onto a flat, maintained trail, you should very quickly hit an orange marker letting you know you’re going the right way.
Stop when you reach a large Cypress Provincial Park map. If you took the Howe Sound Crest Trail ‘West’ at the water tower, this is where you will join back up with the East trail. Very soon after this junction there is a spectacular view of The Lions through a clearing in the trees.
Press onwards into a wildflower meadow, where a tiny bridge leads you over Montizambert Creek. From the point onwards, the trail steepens as you navigate some tricky switchbacks. At the 3.0 km mark, the trail flattens, but you’ll find yourself on an obstacle course, avoiding roots and rocks. Be sure to take your time.
Once you find yourself on a ridge, stop to take in partial views of Howe Sound to the left, and mountains to the right. Keep going along the trail, and pump yourself up to tackle the most difficult part of the St. Mark’s Summit.
Push up the steep incline and watch out for muddy, slippery spots. You’re so close now, keep going until you reach the Saint Mark’s Summit. The trail levels out and the awe-inspiring great Lions lay before you.
Here, find the most spectacular views of Howe Sound, better than any other trail in the North Shore area.
From St. Mark’s Summit, you can see all the Howe Sound Islands and the glaciers of the Tantalus Range.
To your right, you will notice a rocky outcrop. For the perfect photo op, very carefully walk down to reach a clearer look at Horseshoe Bay and the Sea to Sky highway.
Make sure you take time to rest and soak up the sights before retracing your steps to the parking lot. If you want a quick detour, take the junction to Bowen Lookout and returning via the Howe Sound Crest Trail West.
Insider Hints for St. Mark’s Summit
- If you were to continue on northward from St. Mark’s Summit along the Howe Sound Crest Trail, you would reach Mount Unnecessary and The Lions for a full-day hike.
- Depending on the season, the St. Mark’s Summit hike can be wet and muddy. Be sure to bring appropriate footwear for a safe climb.
Getting to the St. Mark’s Summit Trailhead
The hike to Saint Mark’s Summit starts from the Cypress Mountain 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.
St. Mark’s Summit Elevation Graph
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St. Mark’s Summit Reviews
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