- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 5 hours
- Round-Trip 11km
- Elevation Gain 460 meters
- Season July - October
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 45 minutes
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly On-Leash
March 20, 2020
Road access and the Parking Lot at Cypress Provincial Park is closed indefinitely due to the recent events around COVID-19. Access to St. Mark's Summit is restricted.
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.