Marine Drive & Taylor Way
Outside the White Spot
West Vancouver, BC
The trail description below is from vancouvertrails.com and describes summer conditions but I have read elsewhere that St. Mark's is an excellent snowshoe trail in winter - below is a very good description of the trail.
Please note that the trip will likely take longer on snowshoes.
St. Mark's Summit is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail that spans over 30km from Cypress to a point along the Sea to Sky Highway near Porteau Cove. The section of the trail that St. Mark's Summit is on starts from Cypress Mountain which is the first mountain along this route and offers spectacular views of Howe Sound on a clear day.
From the Cypress Mountain downhill parking lot, head north towards the nearby chairlift and look for the Howe Sound Crest Trail sign. The trail follows alongside the several ski runs until a sign that points to the right to the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Follow this trail uphill until it merges onto a wider ski run and veer to the left towards a large green water tower. Just before the tower, go right onto a trail and walk uphill through the trees.
After a short hike, the trail reaches a gravel road. Go left at the gravel road and continue as a short distance later the road narrows and becomes a trail. You are now on the Howe Sound Crest Trail and this route will take you to St. Mark's Summit. About 10 minutes after entering the forest, you reach a junction with a map of the area. Just beyond the mapboard is a clearing with a view of the Lions off in the distance. Continue along the trail as it winds along the mountainside and gradually heads uphill.
The trail emerges briefly into a small meadow and crosses two bridges before continuing uphill. A few minutes later, the climb begins to steepen as the trail goes through a series of switchbacks. The path then begins to level and a brief downhill section along the top of the ridge offers some relief from the steep hill on a warm day. The relief is short lived as the trail climbs again through another series of switchbacks that are steeper than the previous ones.
As the trail levels out, you have reached the upper region of St. Mark's Summit. Continue another short distance over the rocky terrain until you reach a point where you can see Unnecessary Mountain and the Lions off in the distance. Do not descend but instead, go left to a scenic viewpoint of the area. On a clear day, you can see views of Howe Sound, the Tantalus Range, and even the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island off in the distance. There are a few other viewpoints along the short ridge that are worth checking out before making your journey back towards Cypress Mountain.
After resting and soaking in the gorgeous views over lunch, make your way back to the trail and retrace your steps heading back downhill through the switchbacks towards Mt. Strachan Meadows and eventually the parking lot at Cypress Mountain.
How to get to St Mark's Summit
Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver: 45 minutes
St. Mark's Summit starts from the northernmost parking lot at Cypress Mountain. Follow Highway #1 westbound and take Exit #8 to Cypress Provincial Park. Stay on Cypress Parkway as it heads uphill and continue to the left to the northern (downhill ski area) parking lot.
Toilets at St Mark's Summit
There are washroom facilities at Cypress Mountain but no toilets along the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
PLEASE BRING A HEADLAMP. Although there are plenty of daylight hours to do this hike, a headlamp is always a good idea, especially now. Also bring lots of warm clothing/layers.
The wet weather plan is this: If the forecast is for light to moderate rain, we get wet, if the forecast calls for heavy rain I will cancel. We will miss the views if the weather isn't great but it will still be good to get out at this time of year! If we are lucky enough to get a sunny day, what a bonus :)
Sorry, no children or dogs on the hike.
REMINDER! What to Bring:
Water-proof &/or wind-resistant Jacket
Layered Clothing (*Expect lower temperatures at higher elevations)
Hat / Sunglasses
Water (*2-3 Litres)
Food (*Lunch, fruit, trailmix etc)
Change of clothing (*for after the hike)
In consideration of the environment, the limited parking available, and the high cost of fuel, it is recommended that we carpool whenever possible. While the group does not endorse any formal policy, it is typically suggested that passengers offer the driver $5.00 per half hour of driving (includes mileage and vehicle wear & tear). However, private arrangements between passenger(s) and driver may be made ahead of time. Please note in your RSVP whether you can offer a ride or need a ride, and where you will be coming from. Passengers, please ensure you show up on time and bring an extra bag for wet/muddy footwear and clothing.
Please do not leave carpooling arrangements until the last minute. The organizer is not responsible for arranging carpooling opportunities on your behalf - that is strictly the responsibility of every individual member. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Please note that we are not a professional organization nor a group composed of trained professional guides. Ecospirit is run entirely on the efforts of volunteers and the active participation of members. The success of each event depends on the cooperation & efforts of every member who participates. Although we always make an effort to look out for one another, to the best of our ability, each of us is nevertheless responsible for our own safety and well-being during every event. By RSVPing "yes" for this event, you acknowledge and accept these terms.
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