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.
View a map of Driving directions to St Mark's Summit.
Dogs at St Mark's Summit
Dogs are allowed on the Howe Sound Crest Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times. It should be noted that some sections of trail beyond St. Mark's Summit towards the Lions are very rocky and difficult for dogs which can put both you and your dog in danger. It is best to NOT take dog beyond St. Mark's Summit. Please pick up after your dog and pack out all waste to be disposed of as there are no garbage facilities along the trail.
Toilets at St Mark's Summit
There are washroom facilities at Cypress Mountain but no toilets along the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
The view of Howe Sound from St. Mark's Summit.
Other trails located in the The North Shore region:
Baden Powell Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon
Baden Powell Lynn Canyon to Grouse
Brothers Creek Loop
Capilano Pacific Trail
Two Canyon Loop