Challenging Hikes this Summer in Vancouver

Best Challenging Vancouver Hiking Trails

St Mark's Summit - Vancouver Hiking Trails
The Lions - Vancouver Hiking Trails
Mount Harvey - Vancouver Hiking Trails
Mount Elsay - Vancouver Hiking Trails
Coliseum Mountain - Vancouver Hiking Trails

St Mark’s Summit is a relatively easy way to get hiking deep into Vancouver’s amazing mountains.  Starting this hike at Cypress means you drive most of the elevation.  Even though you still have another 460 metres in 5.5k to hike, the beautiful forest and frequent Howe Sound views make it seem quick and easy.  It takes about 1.5 hours to reach St Mark’s Summit and the views are fantastic.  Not only because of the incredible vantage point over Howe Sound, but the abruptness of St Mark’s Summit.  The cliffs below you are frighteningly vertical, making the views fantastically majestic.  Also the sheer drop off makes Howe Sound and the speck sized boats seem so surreal.  The third and possibly the best feature of the St Mark’s Summit hike is the intricately huge and varied terrain on the summit.  You stand and marvel at one viewpoint, then moments later your friend appears at an extraordinarily improbable, and worryingly dangerous rock outcrop a few dozen metres away.  This hilarious game of hide and seek, seemingly can go on forever.  As one leads to another, then another.  Over and over, the St Mark’s Summit reveals one breathtaking vantage point after another, until you are exhausted more with the views than the hike that got you there.The Lions are the two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver. The view from the top of the West Lion is spectacular.  Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance.  A tough but wonderful hiking trail.The first half of the hike is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully overgrown logging road gently uphill.  The trail after this road is very well marked with flagging tape, tree markers and paint indicators on the rock faces.  There are two plateaus before the final, very difficult ascent to the summit of the West Lion.  Both plateaus have incredible views and most make the second plateau their final destination.  It is at the base of the West Lion.  There are not really any suitable places to put up a tent, but if you had to choose, somewhere in the vicinity of these two plateaus would be the place to do it. Mount Harvey is one of the huge, visible and hikeable summits in the North Shore mountains.  It is located on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park near The Lions.  Reachable via the Howe Sound Crest Trail or by its own trailhead in Lions Bay.  The same trailhead used for The Lions, Brunswick Mountain and Mount Hanover.  There are no trail use fees, parking fees or camping fees from this trailhead.  The trail ischallenging, though not out of technical skill but due to its steepness of the trail.  You gain 1400 metres in just 6.5k.  The final scramble to the summit can be dangerous in poor weather, but generally not too difficult.Mount Elsay is a tough 16k roundtrip hike that takes you beyond Mount Seymour and the crowds into the desolate backcountry of Mount Seymour Provincial Park.  To get to the marked Mount Elsay trail you have to follow the trail to Mount Seymour.  Mount Elsay is a difficult and dangerous trail to hike if you are unprepared or poorly equipped.  The trail is often very difficult and losing the trail is very possible even in good weather.  The trailhead for Mount Seymour (which leads to the Mount Elsay trail) is easy to find once you have reached the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Resort. Coliseum Mountain is one of several beautiful hikes in the Lynn Valley’s beautiful Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.  It’s not terribly difficult, but it is very long.  12 kilometres from the trailhead to the summit.  Although the first 7 kilometres are along the very easy Headwaters Trail with little elevation gain.  The final 5 kilometres is at times challenging, but manageable by most as there is only a few short sections of scrambling terrain, but certainly not technical.  The route is well marked along the way with flagging tape, so the main safety concern is the distance of the trail.  24k roundtrip will take most hikers 8+ hours, so be prepared with lots of food and start early.


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