Best Easy to Moderate Squamish Hiking Trails
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. Stawamus Chief is the mammoth rock face that towers over . You could never consider a trail this steep to be easy, however the first peak is only 1.5 kilometres from the trailhead. The trail Though hardly believable from looking at, the summit is an easy two hour hike(roundtrip). 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 as it is visible from the highway for several kilometres. Alice Lake is a great place for camping swimming, fishing and hiking. Alice Lake Provincial Park is comprised of four lakes. Stump, Fawn and Edith Lake as well as the much larger Alice Lake. There is a nice trail that runs amongst them all. There is a large beach area, a pier and dock along with an astonishing 107 vehicle accessible campsites and 55 of those have electrical hookups. The campsites are open March 15 to October 31. This place is a hive of activity in the summer due to its beautiful setting and convenient location. Alice Lake Provincial Park is located just 10 minutes north of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is a beautiful stop in between Squamish and Whistler. It's about 25 minutes north of Squamish, 11k south of Whistler. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. Most people miss the other viewpoint from above the falls, from the train tracks bridge. To find it is easy. As you walk toward the falls from the parking lot you will have to cross train tracks. Standing at the train tracks look to your right and you will see a bridge that the train tracks cross. Walk over to that to see the falls from above. Amazing! Brandywine Falls drop an amazing 66 metres (216 feet) into the chasm far below that the viewing platform extends over. Another trail extends past this viewing area leading to another, quieter area overlooking Daisy Lake. Taylor Meadows is located in between Garibaldi Lake and and is in a beautiful valley with views in all directions. The trail is well marked and ascends a series of switchbacks in the deep forest for 6 kilometres before coming out into the beautiful, flower filled(July and August) valley. It is reached from the same trailhead to Garibaldi Lake. Taylor Meadows is one of two huge campgrounds in this side of Black Tusk and Garibaldi Parlk. There are 40 very nice tent platforms, pit toilets, a good water source and a food cache, all in the lush forest of Taylor Meadows with the distant view of Black Tusk.
Best Moderate to Challenging Squamish Hiking Trails
Elfin Lakes is a sensational mountain paradise at the southern end of the massive . An amazing destination on its own, Elfin Lakes is also part of a gateway to so much more. , Little Diamond Head, Opal Cone... There is a wonderful, extremely well equipped hut and campsites as well as a ranger station at the lakes. Staying at the amazing hut costs $15. You can pay with cash using an envelope drop-box at the trailhead or you can . Which sounds expensive until you see it. It looks more like a ski lodge than a mountain hut, complete with solar powered lights and propane heat! Upper Shannon Falls is much less strenuous than Elfin Lakes or Garibaldi Lake, and you don't get the amazing alpine views, however you do get some stunning views of Squamish similar to the more popular and neighbouring Stawamus Chief. The beginning of the hike greets you with the breathtaking 335 metre Shannon Falls. This crashing monster freezes you with spray as you pass close enough to feel its pounding force. Starting at the Shannon Falls trailhead is almost always the better option than starting at the nearby Stawamus Chief trailhead as it is just slightly longer, but vastly more scenic. Shannon Falls Provincial Park is well equipped with a small concession stand and flush toilets as well as plenty of nice picnic tables in a sunny and scenic setting. High Falls Creek is included here though it is often considered a difficult trail due to its steepness, it can be a relatively short trail if you you hike to the falls and back. This 6k route makes it challenging, but not terribly difficult. Keep this steepness in mind however, if you have difficulty with steep, chain assisted sections. 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. is a beautiful and wonderfully remote alpine lake lake similar to Cirque Lake but considerably farther of a hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre trail takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains. The 5 kilometre 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. Though this section of trail is definitely challenging, the first 5 kilometres are almost easy as you make your way through gently ascending, well marked trails to Ring Lake. Combining these two 5 kilometres sections make the trail not quite challenging, but not easy either. And when you arrive at Ring Lake, you are rewarded with an amazing alpine paradise in this wonderfully remote part of the world.tops this list of moderately challenging Squamish trails because the hike is scenic, especially the last couple kilometres and the lake is magnificent. The amazing turquoise colour of the water is a result of the beautiful glaciers visible across the lake depositing light-reflecting particles of rock. Garibaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in . The is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly undisturbed mountain lake. There are no trails around the perimeter of the lake with the exception of the small section leading to the campsite, so your view of the lake is a sea of unnaturally coloured water ringed by swaths of forest and a magnificent glacier towering in the distance.
Best Challenging Squamish Hiking Trails
Black Tusk is a mountain of unbelievable beauty. It possesses the incredible distinction of looking more impossible to climb the closer you get to it. Even when you are close enough to touch its vertical, black and foreboding sides, you wonder in amazement how anyone can ever reach the top. It’s vertical on all sides. The barely distinguishable trail skirts its edge along the ledge of a perilous scree slope that runs around its trunk. As you clamour carefully along the trail you come to a chute heading almost straight up. Again, even this close you will wonder, as almost everyone else at this spot, “I don’t think this is a safe way to go.” Then you pause and look around. Many take a seat at this moment and marvel at the view. Spectacular. Just spectacular. Above the clouds, looking over the impossibly blue Garibaldi Lake, nestled in endless snowy mountains. Cirque Lake is an unbelievably beautiful paradise high up above Callaghan Lake in the Callaghan Valley. It requires a canoe to get you to the trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake and therefore is seldom hiked. A perfectly arranged glacier is required to form a cirque lake. A magical combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow protected in this way grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin. Over a thousand winters you are left with a magnificently circular lake with steep slopes all around. If you arrive at Cirque Lake on a favourably sunny, summer day, you will almost certainly fall silent, gaze in wonder at this spectacular place, and feel in that moment that this place is as perfect as it is possible for a place to be. 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 Lions dominate the skyline from much of Vancouver. They are located in North Vancouver, only 25 minutes 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. 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. Brew Lake is beautiful mountain lake in the Callaghan Valley, north of Squamish. It lays in a massive alpine valley of enormous erratics scattered around and in the lake. On first seeing it, it looks serene, yet wild and hostile. The lake is surrounded on one side by idyllic tree covered hills and lakeside cliffs and on the other side a brutal looking wasteland of huge boulders sloping up from the lake to the skyline. Hiking into this wasteland of erratics reveals an amazing paradise of small, island forests, cute streams and endless worlds within worlds to explore. You find yourself wandering along like a kid mesmerized at what you will find next.
Best Sights Along the Sea to Sky Highway
Lighthouse Park is an extraordinarily little known piece of paradise, so close to to as to see its tall buildings, yet immersed into a dramatically beautiful . A wonderful network of trails winds throughout massive and as well as stretching toward the ocean. , leading to Lighthouse Park, spectacularly hugs the rugged and steep coast of . The trails in the park stretch out in several directions in the thick forest, each leading to breathtaking ocean viewpoints. Along with the majestic trees in the park you occasionally spot , oystercatchers, , , and , among quite a lot else. is another beautiful little stop between Vancouver and Squamish. Located 19 kilometres south of Squamish, it is an ideal, scenic and quick pit-stop along the Sea to Sky Highway. There are public washrooms located just a off the highway. The marine park is centred around a wonderful pier with viewing platforms that jut out and above the ocean of this majestic and enormous Canadian fjord - the most southerly fjord in North America. Porteau Cove is well known in the Scuba Diving community for amazing diving. In fact a ship was purposely sunk in the area to increase the already amazing diving appeal. 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. Shannon Falls Provincial Park is far too convenient and beautiful to miss while driving between Vancouver and Squamish or Whistler. You can be see it in less than 20 minutes and it is free! Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is a beautiful stop in between Squamish and Whistler. It's about 25 minutes north of Squamish, 11k south of Whistler. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. The parking lot and trailhead have some nice information boards about the local history of the area and first nation tribes that lived here for many centuries. Brandywine Falls is also the southern end of the massive Whistler section of the Sea to Sky Trail. You will see a mapboard near the covered bridge showing the route the trail takes through Whistler. If you are feeling ambitious for a hike you can follow the Sea to Sky Trail past the Brandywine Falls viewpoint and to the spectacular Whistler Bungee Bridge just a couple kilometres further along. There are plenty of Sea to Sky Trail signs and the trail is very wide and crushed gravel with only a few short hills so it is perfect for a nice family hike. It is hard to say enough about the Whistler Train Wreck. It is fantastic stop on the Sea to Sky Highway for so many reasons. First, its location. Just a couple hundred metres from the highway and a 10 minute walk down a beautiful trail gets you to breathtaking views of the Cheakamus River. Further along the trail brings you to the first of seven amazing train wreck cars. Each one has been transformed into a world of surreal graffiti art nestled in this deep and dark forest. The train wreck occurred here several decades ago and more recently the cars have morphed into an elaborate mountain bike course. You will notice the wonderful wooden ramps, bridges and drop-offs, leading to, up and over some of the wrecks. The wrecked cars are enormous and as you walk part of the bike route that takes you up and on top of one of the cars, the drop-off off then end is from a staggering height. The highlights of the Whistler Train Wreck include the very scenic trail, the amazing and numerous river vantage points, the rocky beach by a huge bend in the river with truck sized boulders, the elaborate bike trail, and of course the amazing train wreck itself. What a fantastic place!