Guidebook

Classic Hikes & Scrambles Above the Stunning Howe Sound

The spectacular range of Howe Sound offers numerous spectacular hikes and scrambles all within a 30-minute drive of Vancouver.

Tam McTavish

Description

The Howe Sound Crest is spectacular. Even when viewed from a distance, it is a remarkable towering wall of green. The peaks are abrupt, rising and falling in very tight concentration, giving them a unique aesthetic.

But this is challenging terrain. All of the routes require a lot of ascent, so aside from Tunnel Bluffs and St. Marks, these routes are best for intermediate hikers. In recent years this area has become very busy. The small trailhead parking lot is quickly filled up by 7:30 am on the weekend. The Elementary School lot closer to the highway is available on weekends. There is also a pull out at Brunswick Road that connects to the main routes via a lovely trail through the woods. Be sure to stay well clear of the road, or they will tow vehicles.

Tunnel Bluffs is the one hike that is a great choice for those with only a couple of other hikes under their belt. St. Marks is also a great option as it is well marked, and much of the ascent is removed due to the Cypress trailhead being high up already.

The Howe Sound Crest Trail runs along the ridge crest from Cypress, and runs between all the peaks mentioned. It is often done as a multi-day route with a few summits tagged along the way. But the route involves some tricky scrambling, so packing light is highly recommended.

Strachan and Harvey are great introductory scrambles. They both have very little exposure, and some good terrain to test one's abilities. Once you’ve tried those, you can work towards Mount Brunswick, and one of the more challenging routes in the area, the West Lion.

These routes all have spectacular views stretching out across the Howe Sound, Sunshine Coast, and out towards the Island. The hikes are tough, but rewarding, and well-worth trying.

Tunnel Bluffs
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tunnel Bluffs

4 - 5 hrs
12.4 km
718 m
717 m
The safe and legal option for hiking Tunnel Bluffs.
Easy
Private
St Mark's Summit

St Mark's Summit

Cypress Mountain
3 - 4 hrs
11.4 km
618 m
616 m
This is a great hike which is a part of the Howe Sound Crest trail. At the top you are rewarded with great views over the Howe sound. Be prepared for crowds, leave early and beat the crowds.
Moderate
Private
Mt Harvey - Southwest Ridge

Mt Harvey - Southwest Ridge

7 - 8 hrs
12.8 km
1,546 m
1,609 m
Steep hike, with easy scramble to the summit
Severe
Private
Mt Strachan Loop via Christmas Gulley
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mt Strachan Loop via Christmas Gulley

Cypress Mountain
3 - 4 hrs
7.7 km
625 m
625 m
A more challenging ascent of Mt Strachan, that involves a bit more routefinding, and some hands on sections.
Severe
Private
Mt. Brunswick Scramble

Mt. Brunswick Scramble

1 day +
14.2 km
1,700 m
1,728 m
A steep climb with an short, but thrilling narrow exposed ridge to a beautiful summit.
Severe
Private
Howe Sound Crest Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Howe Sound Crest Trail

Cypress Mountain
26.1 km
1,797 m
2,626 m
Traverse of the coast ridgeline along the Howe Sound.
Difficult
Private
West Lion via Binkert Trail

West Lion via Binkert Trail

15.7 km
1,529 m
The shorter, but steeper approach to the West Lion
Easy
Private