Howe Sound Crest Trail Hike Backpacking Adventure – Advanced Class (3 days/2 nights)
The Howe Sound Crest Trail is a gorgeous, advanced hiker trail. Follow along the summits of the coast mountains of the most southern glacial fjord in the northern hemisphere and experience breathtaking backcountry views of mountains, lakes, creeks and a tangle of ocean inlets and islands. Two expert backcountry guides will take you for an incredible private one-of-a kind experience.
You will have two professional Hiking and Backpacking Guides, for safety reasons and to appeal to varied interests and skill levels of guests. On arrival at our backpacking starting point, you will learn how to prepare and set up the packs for your amazing journey. Throughout your adventure, our experienced guides will escort you on amazing day long hikes which can be customized based on the experience you are looking for or how leisurely you wish to progress each day. You will experience the Coastal Mountains’ natural wonders with its lush old growth forests, meadows full of wildflowers and scenic mountain landscapes abundant in wildlife.
We will pick your private group up at a Metro Vancouver location and will enable you to discover and treasure some of BC’s most scenic and true backcountry mountains, lakes and rivers only 45 minutes from Downtown Vancouver. This 3-day adventure will take you through thick forests, up alpine terrain, through colourful meadows, over turquoise lakes, past waterfalls and creeks and finish with a walk on a beach. You will start the hike at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver and end at the Porteau Cove Marine Park, a distance of 29 kms (18 miles) located along the south eastern shore of Howe Sound. You will have two professional Hiking and Backpacking Guides, for safety reasons and to appeal to varied interests and skill levels of guests. On arrival at our backpacking starting point, you will learn how to prepare and set up the packs for your amazing journey. Throughout your adventure, our experienced guides will escort you on amazing day long hikes which can be customized based on the experience you are looking for or how leisurely you wish to progress each day. You will experience the Coastal Mountains’ natural wonders with its lush old growth forests, meadows full of wildflowers and scenic ocean and mountain views. The first day is a minimum 11km. Your expert guides will ensure an incredible experience as the trail takes you over multiple summits, offering spectacular views of Howe Sound, the famous Lions peaks, as well as beautiful Vancouver, providing outstanding photography opportunities. Then, leaving the views of the city behind, the route cuts deeper into BC’s rugged backcountry where nature’s magical colours come to life. You’ll marvel at the towering Western Cedars, Douglas Firs and Hemlocks, learn how trees collaborate to survive and thrive and explore the incredible vegetation native to the west coastal mountains: wildflower meadows, thundering white waterfalls, beautiful turquoise Deeks Lake and Brunswick Lake. Natural surprises seem to appear around every bend in the trail. These are dramatic hiking trails consisting of uneven, rocky terrain, rope and chain assists over high steep cliff edges with “no fall” zones, and some flat valley sections. You’ll learn about camp set up logistics, how to efficiently pack a backpack and be trained on backcountry safety & nutrition. In terms of food program, you can choose between experiencing a true backpacking style, home-made dehydrated food experience or if you’d prefer, a more ‘backcountry gourmet’ experience. At the end of this one-of-a kind adventure, on the last day you’ll enjoy a 7-9km downhill hike back to the vehicle pick up point, and then a relaxing ride back to Vancouver full of unforgettable memories, stories and pictures.
- Fitness Level: Participants should be active, agile and must be capable of walking on dirt paths with some rough terrain for up to 30 minutes at a time. This specific tour is for intermediate/advanced fit people due to terrain conditions. Not advisable for those with a respiratory or heart problems, nor is it recommended for those with significant physical disabilities. This is an active excursion, suitable for more agile guests who live an active lifestyle.
- Hiking boots or shoes: before the trip walk-in your hiking boots for an hour at a time to avoid nasty blisters on the trail!
- Expect to use chains to traverse and ropes to descend safely along the trail on Day 1. You are on high mountain ridges and those with any kind of vertigo will not enjoy this adventure.
- Roundtrip scenic guided drive-in luxury class vehicle from Metro Vancouver to Cypress Provincial Park and the Porteau Cove Marine Park.
- Camping equipment including: Backpacks, waterproof tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mattresses, camp stools, all cooking, eating and drinking utensils, 2 lanterns, clothesline, freshwater containers and treatment.
- 3 days, with 2 Backpacking and Camping Guides for up to 10 hours per day to help you learn and appreciate backcountry camping and who will show you the best places to see and trails to hike. We will be sleeping in tents along the trail in a comfortable group-camp setting. We will teach you how to use our camping equipment like a pro and provide a myriad of stories, facts and information about the geology and ecosystems flora and fauna and mii-workshops on:
- How to pack a backpack – Guests will assist in the carrying of food, water and equipment plus personal item (a Backpacking Packing List will be forwarded with confirmation emails).
- Backcountry safety & nutrition
- How to set up backcountry camp
- Leave No Trace Principles
- Daily Breakfast, 3 Course Lunches and 3 Course Dinners Does not include breakfast on first day, nor dinner on the last day. Does not include personal alcoholic beverages. See sample Menus below. You can choose if you want to experience true backpacking style dehydrated food or if you’d prefer a more ‘backcountry gourmet’ experience.
- An amazing unforgettable trip of your lifetime!
Itinerary will vary based on guests’ desires and on how much hiking guests want each day. Camping sites are as follows
- 1st night option 1- Plateau above Enchantment Lake (11 km from Cypress Mountain Resort)
- 1st night Option 2 -Magnesia Meadows (14.5 km from Cypress Mountain Resort)
- 2nd Night Option 1 -Brunswick Lake (19 km from Cypress Mountain Resort)
- 2nd Night option 2- Deeks Lake (22 km from Cypress Mountain Resort)
While the elevation gain on this hike from the trailhead to the highest point is only 610m, you’ll climb closer to 1,800m in cumulative elevation gain over the length of the entire trail, indicating the amount of up and down we will be doing.
- DAY 1 Vancouver to Cypress Provincial Park
- 6:30 am – Depart from Vancouver to Cypress Provincial Park. Scenic guided 45 min. drive to Cypress ski resort where the Adventure begins
- 7:30 am – Backcountry How to Pack a Backpacking Workshop – learn the art and science of packing a Backpack.
- 8:30 am – Commence all day-hour hike. This will be the most challenging day traversing up to 4 peaks. Expect the majority of the trail’s total elevation gain on this day. Numerous rest stops and a break for early Picnic Lunch.
- Option 1 – Cypress Resort to Enchantment Lake – 11kms. It starts with a well-maintained trail up to St. Mark’s Peak about 5.5 kms and the first set of stunning vistas and a gain of about 600 metres in lush old growth forest. Here we will stop for lunch. Then, we’ll skirt the Lions with spectacular views back to Vancouver and past James and Thomas peaks through Enchantment Pass to the first camping option.
- Option 2 – Cypress Resort to Magnesia Meadows – 14.5kms. An alternative is to keep going for another 3.5 kms on a technical trail. The benefit is that it makes for a much more leisurely 2nd
- 5:00pm or as late as 8:30 pm – Arrive at camp location. Varies based on option chosen and pace taken. Participate in “How to set up Camp Workshop”.
- Free time & Appies
- 6:00-9:00pm- Dinner
- DAY 2 – Options, Options, Options.
- 0:800 am: Breakfast:
- 09:30 am Enchantment Lake to Deeks Lake – Length: 11 kilometres; suggested time: 8-10 hours. An Option exists to stop and camp at Brunswick Lake.
- 09:30 am Magnesia Meadows to Brunswick Lake– Length: 4.5 kilometres; suggested time: 3 to 4 hours, one way; elevation change: With this option this day will be a more relaxed day as the hike will be much shorter. It is all about soaking up nature and enjoying this gorgeous area. When we get to camp you will be rewarded with a refreshing swim in a turquoise sub-alpine lake.
- 12:00 pm – Picnic Lunch along the way.
- 6:00 until 7:30 pm – Dinner – varies based on Option taken.
Day 3 – Take it all in and descent: Start with an optional good morning wakeup swim and a warm healthy breakfast, to prepare us for our decent from mountain terrain to beachside ocean views.
- 08:00 am: Breakfast
- 09:00 am – Break Camp
- 9:30 am – Free time R&R – go take it all in
- 10:30 am – 9-7km Descent to Parking Lot – minimal elevation alongside 3 sub-alpine lakes and a big waterfall and a long descent back down to sea level, the 3 km is a fairly steep descent
- 12:30 pm Lunch Break.
- 3:30-5:30 pm – Arrival at Porteau Cove Parking lot
- 4:30- 6:30 pm – Arrive back in Vancouver.
Recommendations to prepare for this adventure:
- Focus on cardio fitness – get your heart pumping for 20mins each day.
- Leg strength – practice uphill hiking at the gym using “Stairmaster” equipment.
- Squats and Lunges work well for hiking uphill (train those knees and glutes)
- Back strength – hike trails with a loaded backpack that include elevation gains and downhill descents.
- Shoulder and core training exercises – prepare for carrying a weighted backpack.
- Walk-in your hiking boots to avoid nasty blisters on the trail!