Last Saturday, a couple friends and I climbed St. Mark’s Summit, probably one of my last hikes of the summer, sad to say. It’s number 3 on this list, which, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m slowly working my way through.
St. Mark’s Summit is accessed from the northernmost parking lot of Cypress Mountain, following Howe Crest Sound Trail East that starts near the Lions Express chairlift. I think this might have been the first time I’ve been on Cypress Mountain.
The trail was gorgeous, offering glimpses of Howe Sound and the Binkert Lions along the way. I always love hikes that give you pay-off as you climb, not just at the top (which is my biggest beef with the Grouse Grind).
We got to the top in just over 2 hours. The beginning and end sections are fairly easy, but the middle section contains a series of switchbacks over some very uneven ground/root systems. I didn’t have hiking boots on and I managed fine, although you do have to pay more attention with where and how you’re placing your feet on the way down (I tend to find the way down harder for this reason—maybe my knees are getting old already).
Considering it was a Saturday, I was surprised the hike wasn’t as busy as it could have been, at least not along the way. There were quite a few people at the summit though, which isn’t a very large platform to begin with. People took turns shifting out of the prime location spots to take photographs.
The view was incredible, not quite as amazing as the Chief, but still pretty close. It also wasn’t as hard of a hike though. I would classify it somewhere between Dog Mountain and the Chief.
If you walk a little further, there is another bluff you can sit on and enjoy the view. My friends and I stayed up here a while to enjoy lunch, and then headed back down in about 1 1/2 hours.
It was a great day hike I would definitely recommend!