Being recognized as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” there is no question why locals and world travellers would make Squamish their destination of choice. Located only an hour from Vancouver and about 45 minutes from Whistler, the journey along the Sea-to-Sky highway provides magnificent coastal and mountain views. Once you’re there you can take your pick of the incredible trails to hike in Squamish. Extend your stay for rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, windsurfing, river rafting or any of the other outdoor activities Squamish has to offer.
This 22km round trip climb to the Elfin Lakes through Garibaldi Provincial Park, is a great intermediate alpine hike. This trail is used year round and approximately 5 km into the hike, there is a warming station, emergency shelter and outhouse at Red Heather Meadows.
The next 6km along the well marked trails steadily ascends through the astounding views of the surrounding mountainous terrain, bringing you to Elfin Lakes. Next to Elfin Lakes is a hut that is most commonly used by campers during the summer and winter seasons, as it has propane heating and solar powered indoor lighting for only $15 a night. The top lake makes for a beautiful swim after a summer trek but the lower lake is for drinking water only.
Sea To Summit Trail
The Sea to Summit Trail is a one way 7.5km trek full of challenge. This hike takes you through dense forest and up steep, rocky slopes. You can return via the Sea to Sky gondola to the beginning of your hike but you will require a season’s pass or money to purchase a ticket back down.
Enjoy the sights and sounds as you cross the wooden bridge over Olesen Creek before coming to a section of joint trail for hikers heading on the Chief. Some sections of the trail pass alongside the rushing water of Shannon Falls. Small clearings allow you to see the passing Gondola overhead and later, a majestic view of Howe Sound which makes a great opportunity for some photos and a snack. Furthering your hike through rocky sections, dirt trails and your last of many forest hills to arrive at the Sea to Summit Trail Lodge where you will descend in the gondola for an aerial view of your accomplishment!
The Stawamus Chief is known by many for its jaw-dropping views of Howe Sound. The 11km round trip alpine hike begins with a view of the 330 metre dropping waters of Shannon Falls. Depending on your desired challenge for the day you can complete all 3 peaks or only the Southern Peak for a shorter trek.
All 3 of the peaks take you through rocky sections that require a more careful ascent. Use the ropes and chains when available to steady your climb bringing you to the views you have been waiting for. The Southern and Central peaks have breathtaking sights of Howe Sound but the Northern Peak, which is the highest of the three, faces more of the peaks from the Garibaldi Provincial Park.
The Four Lakes Trail at Alice Lake is a much easier hike and popular for camping, swimming and fishing. The 6km Four Lakes Trail begins at the beach side of Alice Lake heading through a small series of switchbacks taking you to Edith Lake.
The third of the four lakes is a small stretch further and makes for a great rest point. Fawn Lake is small but scenic and loved for its fishing and bird watching. The remarkable forest trail descends further towards the powerful rushing waters of Cheekye River. Shortly after you will come to Stump Lake, the fourth and last of the lakes on the scenic trail. On the far end of Stump Lake it will lead you back to the parking lot for Alice Lake where you began.
The 7.5 km round trip hike stretches its way through flourishing forest paths around Brohm Lake. As there are a plethora of different trails, this particular hike takes the longer route around the High Trail and Cheakamus Loop Trail but excluding the approximately 2 additional hours to extend the hike through the Thompson Trail, Paradise Valley and Hatchery, which involves a very steep descent.
The High Trail connects with the Tantalus View Trail ascending through steep slopes and providing views of the Tantalus Mountain Range. In the Cheakamus Loop, watch for a clearing with a picnic table for the perfect place to take a snack break. Continuing along the forest path past the Alder Trail junction back to Brohm Lake and out over the lake by wooden bridge providing a clearing to enjoy the stunning mountain views.
Where do you like to hike in the Squamish area?