Hollyburn Peak is one of the easy to reach peaks in Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains where your car does most of the hard work for you. The trailhead starts at an elevation of 900m, so you don’t have to climb up a huge amount to see spectacular views of Vancouver, the Georgia Straight and the surrounding mountains. We have been up here several times snowshoeing (it is great for beginners) but we had never ventured up in the summer or autumn.
It turns out this is the perfect trail if you wake up a bit late, and fancy a mini adventure when you only have a few hours to spare.
Hollyburn Peak – Summer trail map
Hollyburn Peak – the basics
Distance: 8.4 km
Elevation gain: 400 m
Highest Point: 1326 m
Time: 3.5-4 hours
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
In winter you will need spikes or snowshoes depending on the conditions.
In summer, bring bear spray if you have it.
Facilities: There are loos at the trailhead and the Baden Powell trail (half way up.)
Dogs: Yes, on a leash.
How hard is it? Intermediate (as it is steep in some places) but it’s not long, so pretty easy as mountains go.
Snowshoeing Hollyburn Peak: I have another post if you fancy doing this in the snow.
Hollyburn Peak – Getting started
Head to the Nordic area of Cypress Mountain. Cypress Mountain resort started to charge for parking in the ski areas. You can still park in lot 3B for free; this involves a slightly longer walk to the trailhead. To get started on the trail, head up the path to the left of the Nordic ski runs, below the power lines.
After the first slightly steep section, you can relax as the path slopes gently below the power lines. You want to turn left when you see the warming hut (this is used to keep snowshoers warm in the wintertime.)
Once you have turned, you’re finally heading towards Hollyburn Peak. The path is quite pleasant here; It’s not very steep with plenty of pretty trees and berry bushes. Bears like to hang out here in the summertime (when the bushes are full of berries) so be sure to make plenty of noise as you hike.
There are a few signs on the trees to show you the way, but the path is pretty obvious even if you miss them.
Views from the trail
The trail gets gradually steeper, so it will start to get your heart beating. Remember to turn around and peek at the views down to Vancouver while you catch your breath. It is a slightly different route than the way that you might follow on snowshoes (straight up). As you get closer to the peak, the trail wiggles through the trees, curling around the mountain.
You’ll reach Heather Lake when you’re super close (less than 100m) from the top. We hiked up in November, so the lake was just starting to freeze.
Push to the Peak
The final push to the top is the steep. You may need to use your hands to help pull you up in a couple of spots. I love the views from these steep areas as you can see through the trees to the surrounding scenery.
Summit of Hollyburn Peak
This is a popular mountain to climb all year round, so even in the afternoon in November there were several groups of walkers at the top. However there is plenty of space at the peak, so it is easy to find a quiet spot to take in the views (and eat some snacks.)
Leave no trace
Just be aware, as soon as you get a snack out of your bag, cheeky faces will appear in the trees around you hoping for a bite. Just resist their cuteness as you should never feed wildlife in Canada (it’s one of the principles of leave no trace)
Views from Hollyburn Peak
Without any snow to slow us down, it only took an hour and a half to hike up for these views. This is a pretty fantastic effort to view ratio! You’ll get a great view over to the twin peaks of the Two Sisters (or the Lions)
I zoomed in to show off the Sky Pilot, and even Mount Garibaldi over in Squamish. I love that you can see so far here on clear days.
To the southeast you can see Mount Baker (in America) peeking out from the clouds.
There are also great views east to the cliffs behind Crown Mountain. Basically Hollyburn Peak has fabulous views in all directions!
Heading down from Hollyburn Peak
If you start earlier in the day, there is a route from here over to Mount Strachan. However most people return the way they came, via the Baden Powell trail and the Powerline trail.
By the time we made it back to the Powerline trail, golden hour had started and everything started to turn rose gold. It was such a pleasant hike for so late in the year.
Other walks in Cypress Provincial Park
I hope you like the look of this hike up Hollyburn Peak. If you’re looking for other peak-bagging options in this area, I have lots of other ideas in my introduction to Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains.
- Bowen Lookout – This is the easiest option in the area and great for sunsets
- Black Mountain to Eagle Bluffs This is a fun trail that will allow you to swim in a tarn at the top. If you want a quieter version, look at hiking from Whyte Lake to West Knob and Donut Rock.
- St Marks Summit – This is the next mountain along the Howe Sound Crest trail between Bowen Lookout and Unnecessary Mountain. It’s moderately hard and really fun.
- Mount Strachan – This is less popular than Hollyburn and Black Mountain, but is really beautiful
- Unnecessary Mountain – This one is tough, but beautiful!
- The Lions – One mountain beyond Unnecessary Mountain are the iconic peaks of the Lions or Two Sisters. It’s both exhausting and spectacular.
Or, you can click on the pins below to save them for later.