Conquering the Lions – The Howe Sound Crest Trail

One of the great things about summer is the chance to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. At Pacific Parklands Foundation, we not only help others explore the parks… our staff get out and explore too!

There are many great hikes to do in our regional parks, such as Capilano River and Lynn Headwaters, however the Howe Sound Crest Trail is actually part of Cypress Provincial Park.
The Howe Sound Crest Trail in particular demands good weather for a safe and successful journey. Luckily, the weather cooperated for our attempt last weekend and we learned some valuable lessons along the way.

The Route

Distance: 29km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: Approx 1,830m gain / 2,600m descent (starting at Cypress)
Rating: Difficult

The Howe Sound Crest Trail stretches from Cypress Bowl to Porteau Cove. The trail can be completed in both directions, although northbound is most common. We took 2 days of hiking to complete this trail. Many people start at Lions Bay and hike up to the Lions and back as a day trip.

The first half of this journey is much more difficult than the second. Lots of climbing and very little water is accessible along the trail. We left from Cypress Bowl at 6:30AM and 13 hours later we arrived at Magnesium Meadows, a popular camping spot. The views are stunning along this section, however carrying a heavy pack on a warm summer’s day you will go through water fast! We brought 3 litres each and were still thirsty by the time we arrived at the stream just before Magnesium Meadows.

This trail is technical and not for those with a fear of heights. Markers and flagging tape are present along the trail, however some sections are overgrown and harder to follow.

This hike is perfect for people with hiking experience that are looking for the next step. It is a very rewarding hike with a great diversity of terrain. The stunning beauty and closeness to the city make the Howe Sound Crest Trail a real gem in Vancouver’s own backyard. 

For more information see BC Parks Cypress Provincial Park or view the Howe Sound Crest Trail Map.

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