Cypress Provincial Park
Winter Backcountry Travel: During the period from November to May, a Backcountry Access Tag is required to travel through the Controlled Recreation Area, which is operated under permit by Cypress Mountain Resort. This Free Access Pass/Waiver may be obtained from Cypress Mountain Resort. For more detailed information, please consult the Trail Report link below.
The downhill ski base area is an extremely busy area. To maintain safe and orderly travel, backcountry visitors to the Black Mountain and Bowen Lookout winter trails must use the Backcountry Access Corridor to transit the Cypress Mountain Resort downhill ski base area. The Backcountry Access Corridor is open from 9am to 10pm. To ensure public safety for all park visitors, the downhill ski base area is closed to public access from 10pm until 9am, while Cypress Mountain Resorts completes grooming and other base area preparations.
While traveling on the Backcountry Access Corridor (BAC), please observe the following:
- Pick up a free yellow BAC tag/waiver from Black Mountain Lodge Brown Bag Room.
- Have appropriate footwear and equipment to travel safely on winter trails.
- Travel efficiently through the downhill ski area, following the marked pole route to the winter trails to reduce congestion and ensure everyone’s safety.
- Use washrooms and brown bag room in the Black Mountain Lodge (the Cypress Creek Lodge is reserved for downhill ski pass holders).
- Park only in Lot 3B for overnight trips. Failure to comply could result in a needless
Search and Rescue operation and/or your vehicle will be towed.
Parking: On peak days during the winter months, parking capacity can be exceeded at the upper parking lots of Cypress Park. These parking lots service the customers of Cypress Mountain Resort who pay a fee to ski, snowboard, snowshoe and snowtube, as well as the general public that comes to play in the park. Please do your part to ensure there is sufficient parking for everyone. Be sure to carpool, or consider taking the Cypress Coach Lines bus.
Know Before You Go
Backcountry Safety Notices
- Trail Report [PDF]
- Get safety information and winter ski activities and conditions (non-government website)
- Current Conditions – North Shore Avalanche Bulletin
The mountainous backcountry is extremely rugged. Recreating in this area should be attempted only by experienced backcountry travellers. Anyone contemplating an extended or overnight trip should inform a friend or family of their intended route and anticipated return time. Please note that open fires are not permitted in the backcountry.
Please Note: Un-bridged creek crossings exist on several trails within Cypress Park. They may be difficult or impassible due to high water during and after heavy rainfall. If you encounter fast flowing water use caution, and if in doubt do not attempt to cross!
About This ParkThe towering North Shore Mountains which form a backdrop to the bustling city of Vancouver have beckoned outdoor recreationists for many years. Until the opening of the Lions Gate Bridge in 1939, a fleet of ferries transported hikers and skiers across Burrard Inlet on the first leg of their journey to Hollyburn Ridge, which is now part of Cypress Provincial Park.
Bounded on the west by Howe Sound, on the north and east by the ridgetops of Mount Strachan and Hollyburn Mountain and to the south by West Vancouver, Cypress sits like a ship’s crownest high above Vancouver.
On a clear day the views are spectacular! To the south is the sprawling metropolitan area of Vancouver, while to the southeast is snowclad Mount Baker in the Cascade Mountain chain. To the west and southwest lie the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island with Georgia Strait in the foreground.
The diversity of natural features, old-growth trees and outdoor recreation opportunities both summer and winter, is due partly to the climate of coastal British Columbia. The mean annual temperature of around 9-10 degrees Celsius (49-50° F) results in many warm days for hikers and sightseers. No matter what the season or the weather, Cypress Provincial Park is an enjoyable place to be. Hiking, sightseeing, photography, wilderness camping, skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow tubing and snowshoeing and other snow-related activities are just some of the activities the park offers.
Cypress Provincial Park, through the commercial ski area under permit within the park, “Cypress Mountain,” was the official freestyle skiing & snowboard venue for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic winter games.
Park Size: 3,012 hectares, including the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
- Park Map (updated July 2011) [PDF 630KB]
- Brochure [PDF 129KB]
- Howe Sound Crest Trail Brochure (Map) [PDF 55KB]
- Howe Sound Crest Trail Brochure (Text) [PDF 150KB]
- Yew Lake Barrier Free Interpretive Trail [PDF 563KB]
- Cypress Alpine & Nordic Areas Trail Maps for skiing or snowboarding (non-government webpage)
Nature and Culture
- History: In 1939, the official opening of the Lions Gate Bridge linking Vancouver and West Vancouver by His Majesty King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, signaled the end of the West Vancouver Ferry era and heralded the start of a population expansion in the city. As the population of the area increased there was an increasing necessity for more areas for skiing and hiking which resulted in the creation of Cypress Provincial Park.
- Conservation: The park has many natural highlights, including several sparkling mountain lakes--such as Blue Gentian, First, Yew, Cabin and West--that are nestled below the peaks of Mount Strachan (1,454 m), Black Mountain (1,217 m) and Hollyburn Mountain (1,325 m).
Where the access road enters the park, at an elevation of 300 m, you pass first through a coastal Douglas-fir forest; this is a fire-scarred area with even-age stands of mixed Douglas-fir and western hemlock. Logging activities prior to the establishment of the park have opened much of the forest floor to the luxuriant growth of vine maple and cedar. Between 800 m and 940 m elevation, the forest gradually changes and, as the ridge tops are approached at 1,300 m above sea level, mountain hemlock, amabalis fir and yellow cypress, for which the park is named, predominate. The lush understory consists largely of shade-tolerant ferns, huckleberries, red and white heather, and false azaleas.
- Wildlife: A variety of large and small mammals inhabit the park. Coyotes and deer are often seen close to the access road. Black bears, squirrels, hares and weasels may be encountered in the backcountry. Adding colour and sound to the park are a variety of birds like ravens, gray jays, chickadees, warblers, woodpeckers, grouse, hawks and owls.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- Approved Master Plan for Cypress Provincial Park. [PDF 1.13MKB]
This is NOT the original management planning product. This document has been scanned from the original format of the plan. It may contain some formatting changes, however the content is consistent with the original.
Activities Available at this Park
Pets on Leash
Please note: Dogs and other pets are not permitted on the Yew Lake Interpretive Trail.
BC Parks maintains three backcountry winter trails for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, the Howe Sound Crest, the Black Mountain Plateau, and the Hollyburn Peak trails. Read more about winter hiking trails in Cypress Provincial Park. Tobogganing is only permitted in the designated area.
Parking: During the peak winter months, parking capacity can be exceeded at the upper parking lots of Cypress Park. These parking lots service the customers of Cypress Mountain Resort who pay a fee to ski, snowboard, snowshoe and snowtube, as well as the general public that comes to play in the park. Please do your part to ensure there is sufficient parking for everyone. Be sure to carpool, or consider taking the Cypress Coach Lines bus.
Snowmobiles are not permitted outside of the designated areas. Tobogganing is only permitted in the designated area. Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour offer skiing opportunities nearby.
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
There are three preferred sites along the Howe Sound Crest trail.
- Magnesia Meadows (14.5 km from Cypress Mountain Resort );
- Brunswick Lake (19 km from Cypress Mountain Resort);
- Deeks Lake (22 km from Cypress Mountain Resort).