St. Mark’s Summit

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.

Olympic rings on Cypress Mountain

Olympic rings 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).

Wildflowers along the trail.

Wildflowers along the trail

Glimpse of Howe Sound along the trail

Glimpse of Howe Sound

A shot of the Lions from Howe Sound Crest Trail

A shot of the Lions from Howe Sound Crest Trail

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).

A wooden bridge crossing

A wooden bridge crossing

Climbing over a rock near the top

One of the steeper sections

Reflection pool

Reflection pool

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.

From St. Mark's Summit, you can see Bowen Island (the large one on the left) and the smaller Anvil Island (centre)

From St. Mark’s Summit, you can see Bowen Island (the large one on the left) and the closer and smaller Anvil Island

You can see other hikers enjoying the view from the next bluff

Other hikers enjoy the view from the next bluff

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.

St. Mark's Summit. Random person got in my photo

St. Mark’s Summit. Random person and dog got in my photo

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.

View of Unnecessary Mountain (left) and the Lions, poking up like ears

View of Unnecessary Mountain and the Lions, poking up like ears

A long way down from the ledge we ate lunch at

A long way down from the ledge we ate lunch at. You can spot a ferry in the distance leaving Horseshoe Bay

It was a great day hike I would definitely recommend!

 

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