St. Mark’s Summit is a peak along the Howe Sound Crest Trail that offers spectacular views of Howe Sound on a sunny and clear summer day in Vancouver.
The hike to St. Mark’s Summit is 11km roundtrip with an elevation gain of 460m. Your total hike time will be around 3.5-5 hours roundtrip, depending on your speed, plus the time spent at the summit and the Bowen Island viewpoint, near the beginning of the hike. Six friends and I did the hike in about 4 hours, including the stop at the Bowen Island viewpoint and the summit.
I hiked in mid-August and while it was a little cooler at elevation, you definitely get warm as you hike. Luckily, most of the hike is in shaded tree cover.
There are two great viewpoints at the summit where you’ll be greeted by some friendly critters looking for snacks. The birds and chipmunks are very tame because they’ve gotten used to people feeding them.
The hike to St. Mark’s Summit is a good half day commitment and it’s best on a sunny day in July to October (some clouds are fine and they make for good pictures, but an overcast day will likely result with a disappointing view).
The drive to Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver is about 45 minutes from Vancouver, depending on traffic, and the hike starts from the Cypress Mountain ski area parking lot. There are proper toilets in the parking lot, but there isn’t anything at the summit, so bring toilet paper if you need to go to the bathroom along the way.
As usual, also wear and bring sunscreen, bring lots of water, lunch and snacks, and bug spray. And take your garbage with you. There weren’t many mosquitoes when I hiked, but there was an insane amount of flies. I didn’t think they were the biting type, but I ended up with a few bites.
For more information on St. Mark’s Summit and how to get there, see here.