Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails January Squamish Hiking
January in Squamish is a winter paradise for snowshoeing. There are several fantastic and free places to snowshoe. Joffre Lakes, is an amazing place any month of the year. In January the snow is deep and the lake frozen solid. Barely recognizable with the turquoise lakes covered in a perfectly white layer of snow. Joffre Lakes are two hours north of Squamish, past along the Duffy Lake Road. Closer to home, Squamish has one of the nicest places to hike and snowshoe you will likely ever find. Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park is spectacular in the winter. The trail is easy to follow and runs along a magnificent ridge with constant, amazing views. There is a fantastic hut at Elfin Lakes that must be seen to be believed. Equipped with solar power and propane heating and room for 33! Easier hikes in Squamish include the beautiful Alice Lake Park trails which are open year-round and just minutes from Squamish. Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief are also year-round places good for hiking. With the exception of heavy snowfall days, the Chief is easily hiked any month of the year, even January. 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... 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." Up in Whistler there are several great short trails to snowshoe. The Whistler Train Wreck is amazing and short, only about 4k roundtrip. Rainbow Falls is about the same length on a trail that runs to the crashing and half frozen Rainbow Falls. The Blueberry Trail near Whistler Village is a short, though very nice snowshoeing trail with views over Alta Lake. For a top 5 list of best easy places to snowshoe in Whistler try here.. For the best moderate to difficult snowshoeing try here..
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails February Squamish Hiking
February continues to be great for hiking and snowshoeing in and around Squamish. The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold. Expect several days of -12c and of course much colder in the mountains. February is a great month for trying some overnight snowshoeing trips. There are even several huts that are available to use. Most are free and some have a small cost to cover maintenance. The Elfin Lakes Hut is one of the nicest around, boasting solar powered lights and propane stoves and heating. It does cost $15/night to stay, but well worth it. Other huts around, include the Wedgemount Hut at Wedgemount Lake. This is quite a brutal snowshoeing trip, but the hut at the lake is wonderful. At the far end of the frozen Garibaldi Lake is yet another beautiful hut. These are all usable by anyone, but as a courtesy to the people that take the time to maintain them, there is a small charge for the and the Elfin Lakes hut. Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are amazing in February, though it is quite a strenuous snowshoe hike as it is consistently uphill most of the way. But seeing Garibaldi Lake frozen over and surrounded by beautiful, white mountains is just great. Take a look at the top 5 easy snowshoeing trails in Whistler here... and the 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. The snowplows make room for cars at the edge of the highway making Brandywine Falls open year round. 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. Just before the turnoff to Callaghan Lake you will see a sign for Alexander Falls. The Callaghan Valley is a very nice detour on the way to or from Whistler. If you are interested in driving south to Vancouver there are some great places to snowshoe there. Certainly a lot warmer than Squamish, and most have great ocean views. The Lions, West Lion Trail is only a 30 minute drive south of Squamish in Lions Bay. It's a fairly long, though well marked trail, 15k roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1282 metres in 7.5k. You can't actually reach the summit of the West Lion in the winter, but the plateau before the summit has spectacular views of . For something a lot easier and with views just as amazing Hollyburn Mountain further south towards Vancouver is an amazing hiking/snowshoeing option. Only 40 minutes from Squamish in the beautiful Cypress Provincial Park, this trail is well marked, though at times, a steep 7k roundtrip. It is easily done as a pit stop half day on a trip to or from Squamish or Vancouver. Dog Mountain and Suicide Bluffs in Vancouver is another great snowshoeing destination not terribly far from Squamish. Just 30 minutes further south in Vancouver at the . This is another easy, half day snowshoeing trip as it is only 2.2k from your car to the beautiful views at the summit of Dog Mountain.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails March Squamish Hiking
March is a great time for hiking and snowshoeing in Squamish and Garibaldi Park. The days are considerably longer and warmer, yet snow falls almost daily on most of the snowshoeing trails. In March alone in much of Garibaldi Park, over four metres of snow fell. With this huge snowfall mixed with sunny days, March is fantastic for snowshoeing. Just south of Squamish in North Vancouver is Hollyburn Peak. It is a very popular hiking and snowshoeing area, and for good reason. The trailhead starts from the cross country skiing area of , so you drive most of the elevation. Which is why, minutes from the trailhead you already have amazing views of Vancouver and Howe Sound far below. You can do this all for free, parking, trail use ext.. And if you don't have snowshoes, you can rent them right at the trailhead for quite cheap. There are many more great snowshoeing options in Vancouver including Eagle Bluffs and Black Mountain. Though more difficult than Hollyburn, the trailhead for these is also at the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort. Farther south at the beautiful Seymour Ski Resort you will find Dog Mountain and Suicide Bluffs. Another free and easily accessed set of snowshoeing trails, also with amazing views of the city far below. These are amazing in March with the warmer weather. If you are not too into snowshoeing and rather hike, Lighthouse Park in is amazing, and snow free year-round and only about 30 minutes from Squamish. It has an amazing array of trails that run through a beautiful and deep rainforest with several beautiful ocean vantage points. The hiking trails run from 2k to 10k in distance so you can make the hike as short or as long as you want. In Squamish you have the always amazing Elfin Lakes Trail. If you have not done this hike you should make a point to do it soon. It is amazing, relatively easy and will amazing views high up in the mountains of Garibaldi Park. There is a popular ski route that goes from the Elfin Lakes Hut, past called the Garibaldi Neve Traverse, that an increasing number of hikers do on snowshoes. The area is fantastic in March. The lake is frozen over and the hike across the lake leads to an at the far end which is available to use by anyone, though there is a small fee requested by the good people that help maintain it. Some amazing places to snowshoe in Whistler are the overlooking Alta Lake, the trail on the shores of Alta Lake, with amazing views across to Whistler, Blackcomb and Wedge Mountains. is an easy and beautiful trail up to the crashing Rainbow Falls that you can reach out and touch. On very snowy days, the is a beautiful and very easy and relaxing place to snowshoe with nice views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains as well as a nice little old growth giant cedar forest at one end. For a list of the best, And for more
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails April Squamish Hiking
April in Squamish is a great time of year for hiking and snowshoeing. The temperatures rise fast and the snow disappears completely. On trails like the Stawamus Chief and the Upper Shannon Falls Trail you will only see the occasional, distant patches of snow. 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." 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 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. For April you can still find places to snowshoe early in the month up in Whistler. Check out the and the more Snowshoeing to , , , , , and many others become a lot more enjoyable when you can park your car closer, or even at the trailhead. These places are amazing if you can hike and snowshoe to them in April as you will likely have the whole places to yourself. They are tough hikes though to do on snowshoes, so be prepared. Pristine, all white valleys, so peaceful in the winter, with the long and ever warming days of spring take hold in the mountains. The temperatures in the mountains can still get below freezing, and certainly at night they always do in April, but the days are amazing. The various are also great destinations in April. is open year-round and the two hour, forty minute drive to reach it is really part of the fun. It is a beautiful drive through Whistler, Pemberton, Mount Currie and along the beautiful and massive Lillooet Lake and Lillooet River. is an hours drive past Skookumchuck and extraordinarily beautiful and desolate. Though gaining popularity, the remoteness almost guarantees no one there but you on a typical April day. You can normally drive right to the Sloquet Hot Springs, but lingering snow on the unmaintained logging road may be too deep so always be prepared to hike a couple kilometres if needed from your car to the campsite. Though bumpy and with lots of potholes, the road to Skookumchuck and Sloquet are still drive-able with all types of cars. is still permanently closed due to the , however, can be reached on foot, though takes a bit of effort. April is also a great month to see some of the fantastic waterfalls in and around Squamish and Whistler. Shannon, are all within a fairly short drive and with easy hikes to them, accessible year-round. , one hour, forty minutes north of Whistler is always an amazing hike, anytime of the year. In late April you may get away with hiking it without snowshoes as the snow may be packed down enough to walk on comfortably. Be sure to have waterproof hiking shoes though.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails May Squamish Hiking
May is an amazing time to hike in Squamish. The weather is consistently warm and sometime hot. Porteau Cove, just a short drive south of Squamish is an amazing place to visit on a sunny day. The hiking trails around Squamish are still fairly quiet though as summer holidays have not yet begun and there is still a lot of snow on most of the Garibaldi Park trails. If you are motivated for some difficult, snowy and steep hiking you will find many places in Garibaldi Park devoid of people and leave you thinking you are the only person left in the world. Only a handful of people make the gruelling hike to Wedgemount Lake, for example. Any if you are one of those people you will find an amazingly hostile, though incredibly beautiful world. Cold and white, with the chaotic slopes of massive scree boulders made soft and beautiful with the perfect coating of snow. With the lake usually frozen until late June, in May it's frozen very thick. Spectacular beautiful. 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. The Stawamus Chief and Upper Shannon Falls hike are beautiful in May. Conveniently located just off the highway in Squamish. Shannon Falls can be seen in a few minutes and the Chief in a couple hours. For some hikes that are not so exhausting, is great in May. Depending on the snow accumulation during the year of course, but usually you can drive to the trailhead parking lot by early May and if you can reach the parking lot, the trail should be mostly free of snow. The Garibaldi Park hikes are amazing in May. , are great, and not terribly hard, but snowshoes might be necessary, depending on how much the snow is packed down from other hikers. and are pretty exhausting with the added difficulty of snow, but considerably more amazing with snow. May is also the month where the road to becomes free of snow and you can drive right to the hot springs campsite. A hot springs trip for two or three days going to both and Sloquet makes for an amazing couple days. There is a charge for Skookumchuck and theoretically a charge for Sloquet (for overnight camping), but I have yet to have the pleasure of paying. are great in May. Alexander Falls will have lots of snow, but only a few dozen metres of it to walk through to the viewpoint. will be free of snow in May as well as and . is possibly the best hike in the area in May. The snow disappears faster from the trail there, and what snow remains is consistently packed down by skiers, snowshoers and hikers. To hike Joffre Lakes in May you just need good warm clothes, good waterproof shoes for the mud and snow patches and the foresight or luck to go on a sunny day. The lake is amazing in good weather and dismal in grey weather.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails June Squamish Hiking
June in Garibaldi Park is the first month of the year where you feel proper summer weather, and much like May, most of the hiking trails are almost completely empty. This is of course due largely to the deep, lingering snow that makes the trails difficult and some requiring snowshoes to access. All the lower elevation hikes in Whistler will be free of snow such as , , , , , and much of the trails to and . The hike from Whistler Village to is an interesting hiking option in June. The trail is not too steep, though long. The trailhead is just a few hundred metres from the Whistler Gondola and runs in between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains on the Whistler side. After 3k you walk directly under the Peak to Peak gondola, as it passes far overhead. The trail continues steadily uphill through the deep forest, though very well marked trail which is used continuously in the winter by skiers doing the Spearhead Traverse. Snow will be encountered in June around half way up the trail so having snowshoes might be handy to avoid at times. At 11k you reach the junction where you can turn right to hike Musical Bumps on Whistler (another 4k to the amazing summit), or turn left and reach Russet Lake and the beautiful little hut there (another 3k). You could easily argue that late June is the best time of year to hike in Garibaldi Park. No crowds, not that there really ever is in the Park, with the exception of the area in the summer and on other trails the odd weekends. In June there are no bugs. An extraordinarily wonderful thing, as you will appreciate if you can contrast the lack of bugs in June with the swarms of flies and mosquitoes you can encounter in July and August. Not that the Garibaldi Park trails are notorious for bugs. But once you hike in June and suddenly realize you've not seen one single irritating insect. Hiking in July and August take on a previously unnoticed annoyance with bugs. The third great reason June is great for hiking is the occasion to camp on snow, and yet not feel cold. As the snow in many places you will find to camp would have reached 5 metres deep in the winter, it takes considerable days of hot weather to melt it by July, so in late June you may still be putting up your tent on snow, though be hot enough to walk around shirtless and shoeless. The difficult answer is when the snow is gone enough to hike comfortably without snowshoes in Garibaldi Park. The simple answer is usually late June, but in 2011 that date was well into July due to the extraordinarily late accumulation of snow. has fantastic and frequent trail updates with regards to snow levels. So for June hiking in Squamish, if you are motivated enough for a little extra exertion hiking in the snow, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable hiking experience. , , , are examples of these incredible places to try in June. is one of the best hikes in June as it's reliably free of snow, usually. The snow disappears faster from the trail there, and what snow remains is consistently packed down by skiers, snowshoers and hikers. To hike Joffre Lakes in June you just need good warm clothes, good waterproof shoes for the mud and snow patches and the foresight or luck to go on a sunny day. The lake is amazing in good weather so try your best to go on nice days. The various hot springs north of Squamish and Whistler are great in June as the roads are all free of snow leading to them. can be done on one trip as they are on the same road (3hrs for Skookumchuck and 4hrs for Sloquet from Squamish). Both have excellent campsites. is still technically closed due to the massive slide in 2010 but can be accessed by the adventurous by wading through the river. is also for the adventurous as it's tricky to get to, but well worth the 2 hour drive from Whistler.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails July Squamish Hiking
July in Garibaldi Park is when the snow on the higher elevations finally melt enough to hike all the trails without worrying about snowshoes. Take a look at this summary list of the These include for a good idea of where to go..Black Tusk, one of the most incredible hikes in Whistler, and a local icon. Though a long hike, 15k roundtrip, the breathtaking and scary final ascent, makes the summit view even more memorable. You will see Black Tusk while driving as you approach Whistler, about 10 minutes north of Squamish. Hard to believe, but you can actually get to the summit, and without special equipment. is a hiking marvel. Just 7k to the unbelievable Wedgemount Lake which leads to easy access to the impressive Wedgemount Glacier, and several amazing mountain hikes beyond. Wedgemount Lake has a beautiful, and free to use little hut if you don't want to tent or sleep under the stars as many do on perfect July nights. is another beautiful hike ending at a beautiful lake and free mountain hut. This hike can be done, starting at the Whistler Gondola, then the Peak Chair, then 14k alone the amazing Musical Bumps trail via the High Note Trail. There is a charge of course to ride the gondola, but it can be done for free via the Singing Pass trail and returning for free on the Whistler Gondola, but not nearly as fun. (1 hour north of Squamish), finally becomes hike-able in July, though via a canoe trip across the in the Callaghan Valley . There is something magical about starting a hike in a canoe. A childlike sense of adventure and novelty. The hike to Cirque Lake begins with this sense of excitement. Sheltered by mountains Callaghan Lake is eerily calm and mesmerizingly clear. You slip away from the shore in tranquil silence as if floating on air. The other end of this once glacial valley is the trailhead. Hidden in the forest and so little used as to remain invisible until you stumble onto it after repeated aborted attempts to find it. The key to finding it is to aim toward the waterfall in the distance. Cascading almost straight down a couple hundred metres from its starting high up the steep mountains. 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. And of course , an unbelievable 29k roundtrip hike that passes the flower filled , and beautifully turquoise and of course best done via these other sights over 2-4 days. 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.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails August Squamish Hiking
August hiking in Squamish definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather. You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless and still hot. Even in the high elevations and on glaciers the temperatures are often a beautifully hot 20c plus. There are numerous glaciers that are readily accessible via Whistler area hiking trails. The Wedgemount Lake trail leads to the beautiful which is fed by the massive glacier of the same name. The glacier is easily hiked to and very safe to clamour over its lower reaches. This glacier disappears into the sun as it stretches up the the magnificent Wedge Mountain and no fewer than 12 named glaciers beyond. This is a wondrous hiking paradise with branching hikes that stretch away from the hut like a giant spiders arms. The hikes from Wedgemount Lake range from easy to difficult to extremely dangerous. And you will likely see a good mix of day hikers at one end to the ice axe, rope and harness types at the other. All dispersing into this fantastically huge expanse of mountains, glaciers and perfect lakes. Garibaldi Park is incredible in August. From here in in the Diamond Head region . To the spider web of trails in the middle leading to , , , , Mount Garibaldi, Cheakamus Lake and many more all the way up to Wedgemount Lake in Whistler. If you start on the trail to Garibaldi Lake on a beautiful day in August, you may find quite a few cars at the trailhead, and a fair number of people on the trail. When you reach the fork in the trail between Taylor Meadows Campsite and Garibaldi Lake Campsite, you may see, "campsites full". This leads you to believe that this place is overrun with hikers, but that's only partly true. The reason is that this incredibly vast wilderness, with many hiking trails and countless alpine routes, is only accessed by a few trailheads, which is a great thing. This ensures that the vast, though very accessible wilderness beyond the popular, named hiking trails remain impossibly quiet. A look at a map of and you can see this pretty clearly. There will be concentrations of people at Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, and Taylor Meadows and some way over at Wedgemount Lake, but everything in between will be empty. Even on a seemingly chaotic August weekend. For a unforgettable hiking experience, is a great choice. The trailhead is only reachable by canoe and the hike looks impossibly steep from far off. But it's not terribly difficult, and fairly short. So if you have a canoe it's amazing, especially in August. For and good idea where to hike in Squamish in August take a look at the Or for easier and shorter hikes take a Remember though that in Garibaldi Park, which most of the best Squamish hikes are located, dogs are not allowed. So if you have a dog, take a look here at the and the If your interested in quick and beautiful, short hikes take a look at the If you just want to relax in a natural hot spring, , though a bit of a drive from Squamish. If you have not been to or heard of or , take a look, they make for an amazing day trip or an even better two or three day trip.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails September Squamish Hiking
Hiking in Squamish in September could easily be considered the best month of the year to hike. The snowline is about as high in the mountains as it will get all year, and the temperatures are still quite warm. The busy summer holidays have passed and the mountains around Squamish are tranquil and quiet again. And as if it couldn't get better, it does. There are no annoying insects. What an amazing month to go hiking. If you have never hiked up to Wedgemount Lake in Whistler, than September is the time to make your first trip. You may even get the entire mountain paradise to yourself. Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows, Helm Creek, Black Tusk and the numerous other hikes around Garibaldi Park also share these amazing benefits. You could easily occupy yourself in the Black Tusk area of Garibaldi Park for 2-3 days as there is just so much to see. Elfin Lakes, at the south end of Garibaldi Park in Squamish is incredible in September. It's quite a busy place most of the year and every weekend of the year, but in September it's quiet.. relatively. ounters are infrequent, they are possible and you will see signs regarding both cougars and bears at Alice Lake. 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. There is even snow just below you, in the valleys of scree that crumbled from Black Tusk. The scree is black, very black. Contrasted with the snow, clouds, lake and sky, the view is breathtaking. Most people don’t continue up the final chute to the top, it’s that scary. This is justifiable. It is unquestionably unsafe. Chunky rock holds pull free as you grip them. Above you jet black, jagged rocks tumble and ricochet down on and around you. And the view is so spectacular around you that it’s easy to justify turning around. But the final ascent is not really that hard. Keep your head down, three points of contact at all times, slow and steady and you reach the top of the world. North of Squamish, in and around Whistler, there are a few, very good, dog friendly hikes. Ring Lake and Conflict Lake up in the Callaghan Valley, south of Whistler and very beautiful and amazing in September when all the lingering snow has melted. In 2011 Ring Lake was still frozen in mid August! Brandywine Meadows is a great hike in September as well. Dog friendly and though a muddy trail much of the summer, comparatively dry in September and still alive with beautiful flowers. Brew Lake is another dog friendly, though fairly tough hike, with beautiful views down to Daisy Lake from the trail. Brew Lake is another lake often frozen in July still, so September makes it a great one to try. The trailhead, a bit surprisingly, is not far from Brandywine Falls, and in fact most park there to begin the hike. Don't expect any facilities on any of these three beautiful hiking destinations. They are well off the beaten track, not in Garibaldi Park, and wild, desolate and beautiful. For a look at the best dog friendly hikes in Whistler check here.. And the best easy and short dog friendly hikes in Whistler here.. For a good summary of the best of the best hiking in Squamish take a look at the overall best easy hikes here.. and the best moderate to difficult Whistler area hiking here..
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails October Squamish Hiking
October is both a terrible and a wonderful time to hike. It is often terrible due to the frequent poor weather, cold and rainy days, and the very short length of daylight. But October can be wonderful for hiking in Squamish too. The trails are empty of hikers and the fall colours make for amazingly beautiful hiking that you just can't compare with on any other month. The amazingly bright golds and reds you see carpeting the trails bring the forest alive. Add to this the occasional dusting of snow you get on higher elevations around Squamish and the views are breathtaking. If you can manage it you should make a point to do an overnight hike to a place like Joffre Lakes or Wedgemount Lake on a full moon. The valleys on a full moon are unbelievable, with the almost eerie brightness in the dead of night. To spend the night in a place like that is unforgettable. These hikes are north of Squamish but the drive to them is beautiful and there are plenty of amazing short and long places to stop on the way. In Squamish, some great October hikes would be the Upper Shannon Falls Trail or the amazing Stawamus Chief Trail. Both are fairly steep, but short hiking trails, so can be done in an afternoon. The short trail to the amazing Shannon falls can be hiked in just 20 minutes if you are after a short trail. Other waterfalls in the Squamish area can be found here... For an easy hiking trail in Squamish, Alice Lake Provincial Park is beautiful year-round. And in October, the leaves are phenomenal. The place lights up with magnificent golds and yellows against the distant white mountains. A more difficult, though incredible hiking trail in October is the Elfin Lakes Trail in Garibaldi Park. Snow doesn't start falling significantly until November, so the trail, though long at 22k return, is amazing to hike in the fall. Over-nighting at the wonderful Elfin Lakes hut cost's just $15 and makes for an exceptionally wonderful fall hiking trip. Seldom hiked in October, the hiking trails in Garibaldi Park are generally unused. These wonderful, and very hikeable-in-October trails include the Garibaldi Lake trail, Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk and the Helm Creek Trail via the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. You just have to be prepared on these long hikes to have adequate warm and wet weather clothing and good lights as the short October days might catch you in the dark on an even darker trail. The Lions, just south of Squamish in Lions Bay is also an incredible hike in October. This very popular summer trail is beautifully quiet in October, so much so as you will likely not see anyone on the trail. This compared to the summer months when you have to be lucky to get a parking spot at the trailhead. The summit trail to the West Lion is still free of snow in October and can be hiked, though it is a very difficult, class 3 scramble. If you don't want to hike the West Lion Summit, the plateau just before the summit is reachable with little difficulty and has spectacular views of Howe Sound far below. Other beautiful trails south of Squamish include the wonderful and the , both in Vancouver and less than an hours drive away. For something very out of the ordinary a hike to Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler is beautiful in October. This once thriving little logging town on Green Lake was abandoned decades ago, leaving behind several houses and some extraordinary pieces of machinery. It is best reached by canoe from Green Lake directly across from Parkhurst, but can also be reached via a hiking & biking trail near the Wedgemount Lake trailhead.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails November Squamish Hiking
November is when the temperature in Squamish falls and snow begins to fall as well in the mountains. The hiking trails turn into snowshoeing trails. One amazing trail to snowshoe in November is the Elfin Lakes trail. You can do it in a long day snowshoeing trip, though it is long, 22k return. A better option is to stay in the beautiful Elfin Lakes Hut at Elfin Lakes, 11k from the trailhead. The area is amazing and halfway up the trail you reach an amazing ridge, where the snowshoeing is very relaxed and the views amazing all the way to the hut. There is a usage charge, $15, which seems very high, but it is a beautiful hut, solar powered and heated by propane. If you are adventurous and have lots of stamina the Wedgemount Lake hut and the Russet Lake hut are free, though definitely a good workout to reach in November. If you do though, you will almost certainly have them to yourself and there is no charge to use. Even though the snow begins in November there are some good hiking options early in the month. Cheakamus Lake in Whistler is amazing in the fall with the golden leaves all along the trail and the incredibly serene lake. In Squamish the Stawamus Chief is usually free of snow, and if not, usually still hikeable without snowshoes because of the steepness and popularity of the trail. The Upper Shannon Falls Trail is similarly great in November, however fairly tricky when the snow gets deep. The regular Shannon Falls trail to the main view point is accessible year-round no matter the weather. Alice Lake Park is another easy trail open year-round and just minutes from Squamish. Other waterfalls that can be seen in November include Brandywine Falls, 20 minutes north of Squamish and Alexander Falls about 40 minutes north. Nairn Falls is a nice, half hour hike to see, and they are located 1 hour north of Squamish near Pemberton. Hikes in the Garibaldi Lake area are pretty enticing in November. More than you would think. The trailheads such as the Rubble Creek trailhead and the Cheakamus Lake trailhead are still free of snow enough to drive to which they are not the rest of the winter. So you save a couple kilometres of steep and boring hiking that you have to do in the following few months. And the snow is thin and the trail easy to follow for at least part of the hike. A summit attempt on Black Tusk may be too ambitious in November, but a circle route of Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake is relatively easy to do.
Best Hiking & Snowshoe Trails December Squamish Hiking
December hiking in Squamish is of course mainly done on snowshoes. With the exception of the Stawamus Chief, Shannon Falls and Alice Lake. These can be hiked on foot, usually that is, every month of the year. Other hiking possibilities are the various waterfalls around in addition to Shannon Falls. Such as Brandywine Falls and Nairn Falls. You can still easily get to both of these despite snow, though both parking lots will be closed by gates and a wall of snow, so you will have to park outside the gates. Both will have areas plowed to park though and depending on the deepness of the snow, snowshoes might be needed. Snowshoeing possibilities are almost endless. From the brutally difficult, though unbelievably rewarding Wedgemount Lake in Whistler to the very easy and astonishingly beautiful Train Wreck in Whistler. Check out the Whistler list of and the best easy places to snowshoe here... Without a doubt the two best places to snowshoe in December are Elfin Lakes in Squamish and Joffre Lakes north of Pemberton. Elfin Lakes is beautiful and relaxing, though long at 11k one way and ends at an amazing hut. Joffre Lakes is a bit tougher as the trail is obscured in the snow, but can be reliably navigated by following ski tracks. Joffre Lakes is quite a deep snow, wilderness hike past or across two frozen lakes and reaching the third Joffre Lakes frozen and surrounded by mountains. Some other amazing snowshoeing choices for December lay south of Squamish in Vancouver. Less than an hours drive away brings you to in Cypress Provincial Park. The trailhead is located at the cross country skiing area of the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort. Parking and trail use is free and the trail is amazingly well marked. So well marked than many snowshoe the trail to Hollyburn Mountain after dark, though with the help of headlights. Further south at another ski resort, Seymour Ski Resort, you will find a beautiful snowshoeing trail to . This trail is also well marked and free to use by anyone. Both of these trails have amazing views of Vancouver far below, so if you can try to do them at sunset or sunrise. If you don't want to snowshoe then Lighthouse Park in Vancouver is both amazing and snow free year-round. And conveniently located just minutes from the Sea to Sky Highway on the way to or from Vancouver.