Seven of us started on this loop hike from Cypress downhill ski parking lot at 10:08am on a cloudless sunny day. We enjoyed the shady trees on the well maintained path northward along the Howe Sound Crest Trail. At Montizambert Creek (11:00am) we turned east onto a less travelled and hardly maintained trail up “Christmas Gully” roughly following the creek.
At 1125 metres altitude, the trail turns briefly north into the woods, with an easy two-handed scramble. At 1180 metres is a clearing with a pretty view of the Lions. The rough trail joins the more popular route in the saddle between Strachan’s south and north peaks at 1400 metres (12:00 noon). 10 minutes from there to north peak, with 360-degree views from Vancouver to Howe Sound to Mt Garibaldi etc.
A cool breeze kept the bugs away and the temperature warm instead of hot. Such a beautiful spot that we hung out for an extended one-hour lunch! 🙂
The second half of our loop took us to south peak (nice, but less spectacular views) where there are several options for descent routes, including a gravel road. We chose the main trail through the woods — rough and rocky. It passes a 1963 airplane crash site at 1280 metres (1:50pm).
We continued to the pass between Strachan and Hollyburn, eating blueberries along the way. There a trail branches left to go up Hollyburn, but we continued down the Strachan trail heading south, parallel to Cypress(?) Creek on our right. At 1050 metres altitude we turned right to follow a rough shortcut path down to join the Baden Powell Trail at 930 metres altitude. Crossing Cypress Creek, an easy walk along this well maintained trail took us back to the cars in 15 minutes.
Total time just over 5 hours. A great day hike, conveniently close to Vancouver!