Cypress Hike: St. Mark’s Summit Along Howe Sound Crest Trail

Went on my first real hike of the year, and summer’s almost over. Will it be my last? Quite possibly, although I do like hiking.

The group began hiking at around 9:45am. It’s a popular trail and we went on a Sunday, so it was a good thing we got there well before noon. I’d recommend getting there even earlier if you want a genuinely quiet hike.

Vancouver Trails says St. Mark’s summit is about a five hour round trip hike with an “intermediate” difficulty. I’m super unfit, so I might agree with the “intermediate” part, but minus the lookout point detour that we took twice near the beginning of the hike, I’d say that an adult group hike takes less than four hours round trip.

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The lookout point, early on in the hike.

St. Mark’s is a good workout. I incentivized myself to push ahead as best I could, and enjoyed some peaceful moments with nature (interrupted only by my laboured breathing). One of my favourite parts about hiking is getting some time alone in the forest. Sweet serenity.

We got to the summit after about an hour and forty-five minutes. Some clouds were passing through our side of the mountain, so the gorgeous view vanished as soon as it appeared. Still, a worthwhile hike!

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Like most hikes on the North Shore, reaching the highlight lookout point of your trail inevitably entails spotting a raven and chipmunk or two.

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A gorgeous view of Howe Sound.

If you continue along the trail, you can go to the Lions or do Unnecessary Mountain, the latter of which is visible in the distance. St. Mark’s was probably my physical limit–Unnecessary Mountain seemed more like Impossible Mountain to me, when looking up at it from St. Mark’s summit. I really should exercise more… but if you’re young & unfit like me, St. Mark’s is a good way to get back into things! And when clouds aren’t passing through, the view is pretty great.

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