My favourite hike on a perfect sunny day — a 5-hour loop with great views from Mt Strachan north peak!
I usually hike on weekdays to avoid crowds, but made an exception to hike on a Saturday this time, for several reasons: The new BC Parks day use pass system reduces crowding. I had learned how to wake up at 5:45am (ugh!) and reserve at 6am sharp when the web page activates. Once awake, we might as well get an early start on this sunny day, meeting at 8:30am at the trailhead (Cypress downhill ski parking lot). Although we needed the popular Howe Sound Crest Trail pass, we only followed that trail for one hour before turning onto the little-known Christmas Gully route up Strachan. It’s hardly maintained, somewhat overgrown, and requires a bit of scrambling.
We four members enjoyed the shady cool forest trail on the way up, then stopped for a leisurely lunch in the sun atop north peak. It’s one of the most beautiful panoramas near Vancouver, with views of the Lions, the Tantalus range, Mount Garibaldi, Mamquam Mountain, Howe Sound, Mount Baker etc.
We continued the loop via Strachan’s south peak, then followed the old Strachan trail through the forest just east of Collins ski run. It passes the remains of a Canadian forces training plane that crashed there in 1963, then descends to the pass between Strachan and Hollyburn where we took the right fork downhill to the Baden Powell trail and back to the cars.