Howe Sound Crest Trail

Vancouver Metro Area, British Columbia

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Howe Sound Crest Trail


  • The ascents and descents at either end of the trail offer an abundance of picturesque creeks and waterfalls.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Creek crossings between Deeks and Brunswick Lakes.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Beautiful light streaming through the clouds and canopy.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Brunswick Lake with the emergency shelter perched above.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • You'll be treated to some breathtaking views of Howe Sound and across to the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island as you sweep around Brunswick Mountain. - Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Cresting the pass through Taylor Meadows opens up views of the Lions.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Early morning views across the sound to the Sunshine Coast and Tetrahedron Park.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Most people hike the trail over two days, and finding a campsite can be challenging along the steep crestline. However, the views are truly spectacular.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Looking north into the backcountry.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • Thomas Peak, between east and west Lion, offers stunning views down to Vancouver and on toward Bellingham.- Howe Sound Crest Trail
  • - Howe Sound Crest Trail
Overview + Weather
Great views. Variety of forest and terrain. Transit accessible.
Crowded in the summer. Limited water supply in late summer.
Vancouver Metro Area, BC
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,800.00 m (9,186.35 ft)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
29.00 km (18.02 mi)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
115.00 m (377.30 ft)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Howe Sound Crest Trail is an iconic one-way hiking trail on Vancouver's doorstep. The trail is most commonly done as an overnight hike due to the varied and, at times, very demanding terrain; however, it is possible to complete it in a single day. Whether you are choosing the more conventional start of Cypress Ski Resort or beginning closer to sea level at Porteau Cove, you will experience a variety or forests, terrain, lakes, wildlife and stunning views that extend along Howe Sound and across to Vancouver Island, Vancouver itself, and even into Washington state.

The trail traverses the series of peaks that separate Vancouver from the Howe Sound. The lower elevations lead hikers through lush green forests with a towering canopy of pines and firs that can provide welcome respite from the summer heat as you climb up the trail. Once the crest is reached the forests give way to sparser alpine terrain and the smooth trail turns to a loose and rocky surface that will test your footing. The trees thin out and give way to an abundance of meadows filled with wildflowers and a succession of spectacular views across both sides of the crest.

The mid-section of the trail between Brunswick Mountain and Mount Unnecessary is the most challenging, combining steep and technical sections. Hikers will need to persevere through a series of scrambles that often require the aid of the provided ropes and chains. The equally steep descents test even the more seasoned backpackers. The hard work is more than offset by the ever-changing and always impressive views. Look also for soaring eagles and ravens that frequent this part of the trail, along with black bears.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(10 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(82 within a 30 mile radius)

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