Squamish has a fantastic array of easy to moderately difficult hiking trails. Two very nice, relaxing and very short trails are to Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls. Alice Lake has nice and easy trails that run throughout the park. The Chief, though a very steep, constant stairs trail, is mercifully short, and therefore only moderately difficult. Taylor Meadows is a longer, more strenuous hike than the rest, however, the trails are wide, well marked and only moderately challenging.
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 do the easy hike to Shannon Falls?
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 . 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. 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?
Stawamus Chief is an exhausting, 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, however, hiking to the first peak gives you phenomenal views and is the most popular peak. 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.
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. Driving from Squamish you will see a huge "Alice Lake Provincial Park" sign on the right side of the highway and the park is almost immediately after the turnoff. Fires are allowed near the beach in the fire rings scattered throughout the park. You can bring your own firewood or buy it at the park. Pets must be on a leash in the park at all times. Bears and cougars frequent the area. Though bears are relatively skittish, cougars are potentially very dangerous, especially with regards to small children or other pets. Though encounters are infrequent, they are possible and you will see signs regarding both cougars and bears at Alice Lake.
Why should you hike the easy trails in Alice Lake Park?
Alice Lake is an idyllic lake surrounded by lush, green forests and endless snowy mountains beyond. The swimming and fishing are great and the relaxing hiking trails in the park are nice. Picnic tables and BBQ pits dot the park's grassy field adjacent to the lake. It is a wonderful place to easily enjoy the wilderness and lakes around Squamish.
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. This area is just a short, minute or two walk from the first viewing area. During the winter months the parking lot gate is locked and buried in snow. The snowplows make room for cars at the edge of the highway making Brandywine Falls open year round. With the deep snow however, you may need snowshoes. Brandywine Falls is popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The Sea to Sky Trail runs through Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and you will immediately see Sea to Sky Trail signs from the parking lot. From the parking lot you cross the covered bridge, turn right and after just a couple hundred metres you will see a Sea to Sky Trail branch off to the left. This trail meanders through the forest and rises up to a plateau with views of Black Tusk and the distant Daisy Lake. Further along, (3 kilometres from the trailhead), you will come to the amazing Bungee Bridge that crosses the Cheakamus River from a dizzying height.
Why should you go to Brandywine Falls Park?
Brandywine Falls is amazingly beautiful and very easy and quick to hike to. Just a 20 minute pit stop on the drive between Squamish and Whistler allows you to see this amazing falls. Brandywine Falls and Shannon Falls, just south of are both convenient, quick and beautiful stops on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.
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. 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 the summer. 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. Taylor Meadows alone as a hike is only moderately challenging, yet takes you well into the beautiful wilderness of Garibaldi Park.
Sights to See Around Squamish
and above the ocean of this majestic and enormous Canadian fjord - the most southerly fjord in North America 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. There are so many great aspects of this hike, not to mention the amazing drive along Marine Drive to get there. Alexander Falls is a relatively unknown waterfall less than an hours drive north of Squamish. The falls are very beautiful, impressively huge, and very easily viewable. In fact, you can drive right the nice viewing platform built just before the 2010 Olympics . The falls are just before Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley, halfway to Whistler from Squamish. The large parking area and viewing platform are located on the edge of a cliff across the gorge from the falls.Whistler's Bungee Bridge is a very convenient and beautiful stop on the way to or from Whistler from Squamish. Just 35 minutes north of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway, then just a 3 kilometre logging road takes you right to the stairs up to this amazing bridge. Open year-round and surprisingly accessible, even in the snowy winter months, thousands of cars drive by every day and never take a look. With so many sights on the Sea to Sky Highway to see, the Whistler Bungee Bridge is one of the nicer and certainly one of the most convenient.is a 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