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Recommended This Week

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The beautiful Upper Shannon Falls trail has several attributes that make it an amazing trail.  First, it is fantastically beautiful.  Sweeping, panoramic views of snowy mountains, Howe Sound, and Squamish far below.  Second, it is a thick forest trek through characteristically BC Coastal Rainforest.  You walk through a varied jungle of massive trees, rock chasms, creeks and waterfalls.The Upper Shannon Falls Trail Viewpoint

Third is the length of the trail.  It is very manageable at just 3.5k to the top of the trail, where there are several enormous rock plateaus to relax in the sun.

Finally, the attribute that is the most amazing.  The trail is always deserted.  You can, and probably will see several hundred hikers between the Shannon Falls trailhead and the turnoff to the Upper Shannon Falls trail (which branches off of the Stawamus Chief trail partway up).  In this period of hiking you start to feel crowded on this amazingly popular trail.  Then from the Stawamus Chief trail to step on to the Upper Shannon Falls Trail and an amazing thing happens.  Silence.  For the next 3k you might see two people.

This phenomenon is the result of two beautiful reasons.  First, the Chief is just that good.  It's amazing, beautiful, and a relatively easy hike.  It is famous, visible for miles away, and towering above Squamish.  The second wonderful reason is that this area is well known for Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief.  You never hear the Upper Shannon Falls Trail mentioned.  And no one gives the branching trail a second look.

So this amazing hiking trail, arguably on par with the Chief is almost always a perfectly serene paradise devoid of people.

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.  The exception would be if you plan on camping at the large and well designed forest campsites at the start of the Chief trailhead.  If you are unaware, the two trailheads, Shannon Falls and Stawamus Chief are quite close, only about 1.5k apart.  The Stawamus Chief trailhead has the campsites (63 tent sites at $8/person, free in the winter) and the Shannon Falls trailhead has the washrooms and concession stand.  Both have large parking lots.

Shannon Falls Near the TrailheadThe Upper Shannon Falls Trail

The Upper Shannon Falls Trail

The Upper Shannon Falls trail is generally easy.  It is only 3.5k from the Shannon Falls trailhead to the end of the trail and the beautiful views.  It is consistently uphill though and you do gain 450 metres in that short distance.  There are a couple chain pulls on two steep sections, but no one should have difficulty with this.  At about 3k you reach the picturesque Upper Shannon Falls which are of course not nearly as dramatic as the 335 metre Shannon Falls below.

But the real attraction to this trail is not the upper falls but the amazing rock plateaus at the top of the trail shortly beyond the upper falls.  These plateaus are huge.  One massive grass and tree covered one and a huge rock one similar, though much smaller than the Chiefs three mighty plateaus.  The views are amazing and the area is quite large so you can wander for quite a while up in this mountain paradise.  The Upper Shannon Falls trail can be hiked year round, however, May is the first month of the year that you won't be cold for much of the shaded trail and the winter snow will be completely gone except for the distant mountains.

Squamish from the Upper Shannon Falls Trail

Sunset Over Howe Sound from the Upper Shannon Falls Trail

 

Parkhurst Ghost Town at Green Lake in Whistler

Parkhurst Ghost Town - May Squamish Trails Guide


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Parkhurst was once a busy logging community on the far shore of Green Lake in Whistler, abandoned six decades ago.  Some large machinery, several houses, and an impressive behemoth of a tractor were left behind.  Of the twenty houses only one stands still and has now become somewhat of an art exhibit of sorts just as Whistler's Parkhurst Ghost Town, the Last HouseTrain Wreck morphed into the magnificent art exhibit it is today.

The houses are spread out in a quite wide area and you can find yourself wandering for hours finding one amazing thing after another.  From the unbelievable tree growing out of the abandoned tractor plough.

The tree evidently grew after it was abandoned sixty years ago and grew inside it forming inside the thick metal, filling the shape in an amazing way.  And the abandoned car from the 70's which seems so improbable in such a place where you can't discern a road in, much less a reason for having a car once you got it here.

Parkhurst Ghost Town

Parkhurst Ghost Town in May

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