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Cypress Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Howe Sound Crest Trail access update
An alternative route to the Howe Sound Crest Trail’s Northern access has been opened. From the Porteau Road Parking Lot, follow the posted signage to the trail starting from the highway exit. Be advised that this route transits private land, and park visitors may pass through at their own risk.
- Please see the updated map.
About This Park
The 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.
Established Date: October 9, 1975
Park Size: 3,012 hectares, including the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
Know Before You Go
- Trail Report [PDF] (November 10, 2019)
The downhill ski base area is closed to public access from 10 PM until 9 AM
Please note: to ensure everyone’s safety, the downhill ski base area is closed to public access from 10 PM until 9 AM while Cypress Mountain Resort completes grooming and other base area preparations. To transit the downhill ski base area before 9 AM, park visitors must travel through the BAC to access the winter trails.
- General Parking Notice: 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.
- Overnight Parking: Please park only in the designated area Lot 3B for overnight trips. Failure to comply could result in a needless search and rescue operation and/or your vehicle being towed.
Backcountry Safety Notices
- Please note that open fires are not permitted in the backcountry.
- The mountainous backcountry of this park can be extremely rugged and unforgiving. Park visitors accessing the backcountry should be experienced and properly equipped. Anyone planning to travel in the backcountry (whether overnight or for just a few hours) should inform a friend or family member of their intended route and anticipated return time. A good trip planning form can be found on the AdventureSmart website.
- Mountain weather conditions often change suddenly and dramatically. Be prepared, take warm clothing and/or rain gear and navigational equipment, and know how to use them. If mist and fog should close in and you become lost or disoriented, stay where you are until the weather clears or you are found. Never leave the trail!
- 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. Use caution if you encounter fast flowing water, and if in doubt, do not attempt to cross!
Location and Maps
The access road to Cypress Provincial Park is from the Upper Levels Highway (routes 1 and 99) in West Vancouver and enters the park at an elevation of 300 metres. From the city of Vancouver, access is by crossing the Lions Gate Bridge to the Upper Levels Highway via Taylor Way in West Vancouver. The closest communities are West and North Vancouver.
This park is serviced by Parkbus
Did you know Parkbus is an environmentally friendly, affordable transportation service from downtown Vancouver to select BC Parks? To find out more about Parkbus, as well as their routes and schedules, check www.parkbus.ca or contact them at 1-800-928-7101.
Maps and Brochures
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 Planning Information
Approved Master Plan for Cypress Provincial Park [PDF 1.13MB]
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
Bikes are not permitted on any trails within the park. Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
- Trail Report [PDF] (November 10, 2019)
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Please note: Dogs and other pets are not permitted on the Yew Lake Interpretive Trail.
Cypress Mountain Resort is located within the provincial park. They offer a full range of downhill skiing & snowboarding, cross-country skiing, a snow tubing park with a tube tow and 11 km of marked of self guided interpretive snowshoeing trails in the Nordic ski area. The Alpine Ski Area features 6 chairlifts and 2 high speed quad chairs, 2 quad chairs and 2 double chairs. There is also a a magic carpet for Skooters (Kids Camp) that services 53 ski runs for all levels of ability.
BC Parks maintains three backcountry winter trails for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, the Bowen Look-out, the Black Mountain Plateau, and the Hollyburn Peak trails. 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
Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed at higher elevations beyond the Alpine and Nordic ski areas and along the Howe Sound Crest Trail, but no facilities are provided.
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).
Tent pads or sites are not provided. Campers are encouraged to camp in cleared areas as to limit environmental impacts. The backcountry of Cypress Provincial Park can be rugged, and weather is often severe. Campers should be experienced in the backcountry and prepared for all weather conditions. Campfires are not permitted. Backcountry winter camping (1 km beyond Alpine and Nordic ski areas) is allowed. No facilities are provided. Backcountry travelers are encouraged to use extreme caution in avalanche terrain. Travellers should refer to the Cypress Provincial Park Winter trail report (at the top of the page) for updated information on backcountry trails and avalanche conditions.