High Falls Creek is a great hike not only for the beautiful scenery in and around the trail, but the drive to it as well. The often passed by Squamish Valley Road, just of the Sea to Sky Highway, opposite the Alice Lake Provincial Park access road, is wonderful. This glacier carved valley stretches on and on, along the majestic Squamish River as you follow forest service roads 26 kilometres to the trailhead. The High Falls trail is well marked and difficult to moderately challenging. There are some short chain assisted areas to climb and overall the trail is fairly steep. You gain a gruelling 622 metres in less than 4 kilometres. Past the beautiful falls viewpoints the trail leads to a few more cliff viewpoints before ending at the Branch 200 FSR. You can either turn back and retrace the steep trail you came back to your car (8 kilometres roundtrip). Most prefer to walk the forest service road back to the trailhead instead. It is much longer (almost 2 kilometres longer), but it is easy and relaxing and there are some stunning views of the river valley below. This road takes you back to the S Main FSR where you will turn left onto and walk about 1.4 kilometres to get back to your car.
Why should you hike to High Falls Creek in Squamish?
High Falls Creek is located far up Squamish Valley and the drive alone is worth doing. A quiet and very scenic country road that follows the massive Squamish River as it winds its way through the Valley. The High Falls Creek trailhead is tricky to find and you get the impression that this part of the world is well off the radar. On a weekday you won't see another hiker and on a weekend you may only see a dozen. If you like a workout the trail is great for that. The chain pull sections make you feel like you are in the army and the the route is barely worn, making the wilderness around you feel even more wild.
The Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, south of Squamish. The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver. The view from the top is spectacular. Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance. A tough but wonderful hike. The first half of the hike is very easy as you follow a disused, though beautifully overgrown logging road gently uphill. After the first 30 minutes of hiking you come to a Y junction, take the path on the right and continue as the path eventually narrows and beautiful views of Howe Sound become visible. You will pass two waterfalls, then come to a sign "The Lions>" that blocks the old, very overgrown logging road and points to a narrow path to the right. You will cross Harvey Creek over a nice little bridge with surprisingly impressive views, then the first significant uphill hiking starts. From this point on the trail is very well marked with flagging tape, tree markers and paint indicators on the rock faces. There are two plateaus before the final, very difficult ascent to the summit of the West Lion. Both plateaus have incredible views and most make the second plateau their final destination. It is at the base of the West Lion. There are not really any suitable places to put up a tent, but if you had to choose, somewhere in the vicinity of these two plateaus would be the place to do it. If you continue to the summit be prepared for a four metre rope descent. The ropes are there, fixed to a tree above, but are alarmingly worn. If you have ropes, you may want to bring them for this part.
Why should you hike "The Lions" near Squamish?
The trail to the West Lion is only moderately difficult and very scenic with terrific views of Howe Sound. The final, class 3 scramble ascent to the summit is very difficult and dangerous, however, it is a tremendous accomplishment. Every time you spot the Lions from a distance, you will hardly believe you made it to the top of such an impossible looking mountain.
Panorama Ridge is easily one of the most amazing hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The 15 kilometre hike from the trailhead at Rubble Creek to Panorama Ridge takes you through beautiful and deep forests, across countless idyllic streams, through meadows filled with flowers, and past dozens of jaw dropping viewpoints. The amazing views start once you reach Taylor Meadows and get even more spectacular as the trail progresses. Once you arrive at Panorama Ridge and its phenomenal vantage point, high above Garibaldi Park, you will stare in wonder. Mesmerized first by Garibaldi Lake, far below you and looking unnaturally blue, the lake looks amazing surrounded by green, untouched wilderness and snow capped mountains. The Table, the massive and unusual looking mountain with its bizarre flat top lays across the lake with the enormous Mount Garibaldi just beyond. In the distance, where Garibaldi Lake ends, a massive glacier rises out of the blue and jagged crevasses can be seen even from such a great distance. Behind you, Black Tusk lays across the valley. Close to the same elevation as Panorama Ridge, you get this wonderful view of it. Certainly the best and closest viewpoint to this iconic mountain. Panorama Ridge sits, along with Black Tusk in the midst of some of the most popular and beautiful hiking trails in Garibaldi Park. There are two main trailheads for Panorama Ridge, Cheakamus Lake and Rubble Creek.
Why should you hike to Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Park?
Challenging, 30 kilometre roundtrip hike. Jaw dropping views from Panorama Ridge as well as several places along the trail to the ridge. Often cited as the best hike in . Panorama Ridge is often combined with other hikes in the area such as Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake, over several days of amazing hiking.
is a fantastically beautiful and wonderfully remote lake similar to but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10k hike takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains. 5k into the hike you come to Conflict Lake with trails running around it. Signs at various junctions indicate which trail to take to reach Ring Lake, a further 5k from Conflict. The trail from Conflict Lake to Ring Lake passes through a huge valley for a couple kilometres, then abruptly ascends on the right side of the valley. The trail is poorly marked in this section and you have to keep bearing right to avoid descending back into the valley. 3k of, at times very steep, but not technical trail gets you to the magnificent Ring Lake and the imposing Ring Mountain across the emerald green water. The trailhead to Ring and Conflict Lakes is very close to the . From the campsite, drive a couple hundred metres as if returning to Whistler and you will see a clearing on the right and a very well worn trail. From this trail you will see plenty of signs to guide you first to Conflict Lake in 5k, then Ring Lake, another 5k past Conflict. The 5k hike to Conflict Lake is quite relaxed and easy as you don't gain any significant elevation. The 5k from Conflict to Ring Lake is very steep, and though marked well with flagging tape and cairns, if often difficult to follow.
Why should you hike to Ring and Conflict Lakes?
If you like camping in pristine wilderness, the Ring and Conflict Lakes trail is your kind of hike. No facilities at Ring Lake, few trail signs and few other hikers make this a great way to escape the summertime crowds you may otherwise see across the valley in Garibaldi Park. The various mountain peaks around the lake are easy to scramble up and each have wonderful views. You really feel like you are at the back of beyond up in this wild paradise, high above Squamish.
Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC. The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old growth forest to get to the base of the falls. From your car to the viewpoint takes only about four minutes, however the trail continues a bit further to a higher viewpoint (five minutes higher). You can even continue along the trail and join with the Stawamus Chief trail which goes to the three summits of the Chief. The trail to the Chiefs peaks are very steep and almost constant stairs to be prepared for quite a workout comparable to the Grouse Grind in Vancouver. The trailhead is just south of the Stawamus Chief trailhead, south of Squamish. The Chief is the mammoth rock face that towers over Squamish. Though hardly believable from looking at, the summit is only a one hour hike. In fact there are three peaks, South (First), Centre (Second), and North (Third). Each accessible from the single trailhead. The trailhead to the Chief is easy to find. From highway 99, in Squamish. As you approach the Chief, visible for several kilometres, watch for the sign for "Stawamus Chief." The large parking lots are arranged next to the trailhead. There is a nice campground, with plenty of tent sites at the trailhead. A better route for a day hike is to start at Shannon Falls, it only adds about 1km but includes the spectacular Shannon falls as well as a nicer route as it joins the trail to the Chief part way up. The Upper Shannon Falls Trail extends past Shannon Falls.
Why should you go to Shannon Falls Provincial Park?
Shannon Falls Provincial Park is about as convenient and easy as it gets to see an amazing waterfall. Visible from the Sea to Sky Highway, Shannon Falls crashes surprisingly huge and loud. The viewpoint to see the falls is very close and you can almost feel the ground shudder from the enormous volume of water cascading down in front of you. Shannon Falls Provincial Park can be your starting point for both the Stawamus Chief and the Upper Shannon Falls trail.
Stawamus Chief is the mammoth rock face that towers over . Though hardly believable from looking at, the summit is an easy two hour hike. In fact there are three peaks, South (First), Centre (Second), and North (Third). Each accessible from the single trailhead. Growing in popularity as the newest brother to the Grouse Grind in Vancouver because there are quite a few stairs and considerable elevation gain. 540 metres in 1.5k. (The Grouse Grind is 853 metres in 2.9k) The trailhead to the Chief is easy to find. From highway 99, in Squamish. As you approach the Chief, visible for several kilometres, watch for the sign for "Stawamus Chief." The large parking lots are arranged next to the trailhead. There is a nice campground with 47 tent sites. This part of the world is somewhat expensive so this is an amazingly cheap option at $8 per person, per night. Officially open May 15 - October 12. If you go outside these dates you just have to walk in from outside the gates and camping is free however there are no services available which means that the washrooms may be locked and no water available (though there is a river nearby). There are no shower facilities here any time of the year but a large river near the campsites.
Why should you hike the Chief in Squamish?
Stawamus Chief is an exhausting, yet short climb to one unbelievable viewpoint after another. The trail has some good sights on the way and runs through a beautiful forest. The peaks, 1, 2 and 3 get progressively more amazing. The vertical cliffs are frightening as you edge ever closer. Bring a lunch or bottle of wine. Sitting on the chief taking in the view can take while. Don't forget to bring some food for all the little furry creatures that inhabit the peaks. They are very friendly and adorable, and will crawl up your arm to snatch a peanut off your shoulder if you are still enough.
Taylor Meadows is a beautiful campsite and alternative to the much busier Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in between Garibaldi Lake and itself. It is reached from the same trailhead to Garibaldi Lake. There are 40 very nice tent platforms, toilets, a good water source and a food cache, all in the lush forest of Taylor Meadows with the distant view of Black Tusk. Generally Taylor Meadows is not a destination, but part of a circle route. For example, trailhead to Taylor Meadows, Taylor Meadows to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, then return via Garibaldi Lake. This makes for a long hike at 30k, which is why tenting at this perfectly beautiful, and perfectly located Taylor Meadows Campsite, is a great idea. The trail to Taylor Meadows is well marked, well used and well signed. The Rubble Creek trailhead is located just 25 minutes north of Squamish and a clear sign on the Sea to Sky Highway indicates the turnoff. Expect to take 2-3 hours to reach Taylor Meadows from the trailhead/parking lot. Parking is free, however there is a camping fee.
Why should you hike to Taylor Meadows in Garibaldi Park?
Taylor Meadows lays in a spectacular setting deep in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The forest is lush and beautiful, the meadows green and filled with flowers in July and August. The boardwalk leads you to a wonderful array of great spots to put your tent up. If you are just up for the day then Taylor Meadows leads to Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge and Garibaldi Lake. Most day hikers combine one or two of these others in a trip.
The wonderful Upper Shannon Falls trail goes almost completely unnoticed, branching off from the chaotically popular Stawamus Chief Trail. About 15 minutes along the Stawamus Chief trail you will see a well marked trail branch off to the right into the forest. This is the Upper Shannon Falls Trail and is remarkably unused. This is a wonderful fact though as hundreds hike the Chief on any given weekend day, though only a handful hike this trail. The Upper Shannon Falls trail, the Stawamus Chief trail and Shannon Falls Provincial Park are all connected by trails. In order to see all three you should park in the Shannon Falls parking lot and hike up to the Shannon Falls viewpoint just a short 5 minute walk from the parking lot, then proceed from there to connect with the Stawamus Chief trail, about 15 minutes further up the trail. Once you connect with the Stawamus Chief trail you will see clear signs directing you to either the Upper Shannon Falls trail, or to continue on the main trail to one or all of the Chiefs 1st Peak trail, 2nd Peak trail, 3rd Peak trail. If you plan on hiking both the Upper Shannon Falls trail and one or all of the Chief peaks, be prepared for an arduous day as the distance is not very much, but the continuous elevation gain will be hard. But as long as you are in for a good workout.. as many do.. Doing both the Chief and the Upper Shannon Falls trails in the same day is amazing!
Why should you hike to Upper Shannon Falls in Squamish?
Upper Shannon Falls is a short and almost easy trail that takes you past the beautiful Shannon Falls, up along part of the Chief trail and then deep into the wild and deep forest trail to Upper Shannon Falls. Then if you continue further along the trail you come to some amazing viewpoints high above Squamish. If you can manage an evening hike, the sunsets are incredible.