I have been snowboarding at Cypress Mountain for years and really had no idea about all the tucked away little treasures. I had hiked St.Mark’s Summit and Eagle Bluffs but it was not until I towed along my minions that I discovered a few gems.
Yew Lake Trail is amazing. I recently took some friends around it, at the end of a longer hike, and they loved it… “It feels like Whistler” they exclaimed as we wondered past greenery and marsh.
Yew Lake Trail is a wide packed gravel path that winds its way around a 2.6 km loop. It is extremely stroller and wheelchair friendly with little to no elevation gain (max. 5-7%). As you stroll along there are marshes labelled with information boards about the types of bugs and plants growing there.
About a third of the way into the hike a trail to the right leads you off to the “Old Growth Loop” through an Interpretive forest that adds about a .5km to the total distance. The interpretive forest offers more educational information boards about the ancient trees that blanket the area.
If you do not have to worry about a stroller or a wheelchair I recommend heading out the backside of the Old Growth Loop and turning left onto Howsound Crest Trail and heading up the gravel road. The road gradually becomes a narrow trail and turns right over a small bridge and into a series of switchbacks. This trail is very doable by children and will take you up to the “Bowen Island Lookout.” This will add about 1km to the trip which would now total about 4km. By adding this section you will add an elevation gain of about 100m and you will be hiking uphill and in some sections there is very loose rock.
When you are almost there the trail will split. To the left takes you to the lookout, to the right continues on the Crest Trail and onwards towards St.Mark’s Summit (this is an excellent hike for adults).
I pushed the stroller up a number of switchbacks (I do not recommend this) and ended up ditching it on the side of the trail and carrying my almost 60 lbs 5 year old on my shoulders. This result in a pretty bad back sprain, but I am happy that he was able to experience the lookout as we fed the birds and chipmunks granola bar and water. The Grey Jays and Stellar Jays that hang out at the lookout won’t give you a lot of choice about feeding them and if given the chance will swoop down to steal some food.
If you return to the Yew Lake Loop or just stay on it, without the side trips, you will continue to pass openings that let you glance across more marsh land and meadows of wild flowers and tall grass. About two thirds of the way around you will reach Yew Lake. The path goes right down to the water where kids can look for water bugs and dragonflies. There is a picnic table at this location and another one at another opening just up the trail.
If you continue around the loop will you will end up at the bottom of the chairlift and the lodge. This is a great time to take photos with the Inukshuk and the Olympic rings.
Warning: The second to last time I was on Yew Lake Trail (heading up to Eagle Bluffs) I ran into a Black Bear about 20 feet from me so in the summer bears will wonder down into this area.