hikes in Squamish
Squamish is a great base for hiking near Vancouver. Set out on one of the countless hiking trails that will take you through and along ancient alpine forests, vast mountain terrain, verdant rainforests, crystal-clear lakes and peaceful, bubbling rivers.
Accessible to anyone with a good pair of shoes and an excitement for the outdoors, there is nothing quite like hiking in Squamish. With so much to do outdoors, hiking is actually one of the most overlooked adventure option in the area, but those who tackle a Squamish trail know the magic this part of the Coast Mountains can hold. Start with an easier walk, meandering around the Squamish waterfront before setting your sights on the more challenging terrain: Smoke Bluffs, Murrin Provincial Park and the Sea to Sky Gondola hikes. Though everyone will tell you, you simply can’t miss the crown jewel—The Stawamus Chief. Home to multiple incredible peaks, the uphill journey is tough, but rewarding. There is truly something for everyone in Squamish, regardless of skill-level and ability.
Squamish hikes can be accessed within one-hour from Vancouver, making for an easy half-day trip or for the more adventurous hiker, plenty of options for multi-day trips. Surrounded by multiple scenic waterfalls, the Squamish area can sometimes feel as if you are miles away from civilization, only to discover a lodge at the top of the mountain. With endless delights in store, Squamish is one of British Columbia’s premier hiking destinations.
Tighten up those hiking boots and prepare to hike the trails in beautiful Squamish. Need some guidance on where to get started? Explore our hiking route guides below for the 4-1-1 on anything and everything Squamish related.
The 10 Greatest Hikes in Squamish
Offering plenty of easy trails and gondola options, Squamish is extremely skill-level friendly and also a great option for young families. While summer may be the peak time to experience the most epic hikes in Squamish, all-seasons offer spectacular views and ever-changing colours.
If travelling with small children, skip the uphill hikes and hop on the Sea to Sky gondola for stunning views over the Squamish valley, all the way out to the lake. This saves on energy (and your knees!), while providing a little extra fun for the little ones. This is also a great options for inexperienced hikers, who can get a feel for the terrain once at the top.
But those who want a challenge can certainly find one in the Squamish area. The Watersprite Lake hike will take you out into backcountry for a grueling uphill hike, but you’ll be rewarded with a picture-perfect lake straight out of a postcard. Or, Opal Cone offers an equally challenging hike, set on a cinder cone volcano that will have you feeling like you’ve landed on another planet.
- The Chief: The Chief hike is a popular trail for good reason. It has easy access, and remarkable views. The hike is short in distance, but still challenging.
- Elfin Lakes: The Elfin Lakes hike is a long day-hike, but a gentle grade to the lake makes it doable. The lake is scenic, with incredible views of nearby mountains.
- Watersprite Lake: The Watersprite Lake hike brings you to a lake that looks straight out of a postcard. It is a popular trail, but access is limited due to the forest service road into the trailhead.
- Opal Cone: The Opal Cone hike explores a cinder cone volcano, which feels like a different planet as you summit to the top to take in views of The Gargoyles, Columnar Peak and Pyramid Mountain.
- Crooked Falls: he Crooked Falls hike is accessed along a forest service road, and is accessible for much of the year. You can view the falls from the front, and also have a unique view of the falls from the side.
- Sea to Summit Trail: The Sea to Summit hike takes you to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola - from there you can enjoy a beer at the lodge and enjoy the easy ride down.
- Murrin Park: The Murrin Park hike offers a small network of trails and an easy, short hike. You are able to access a few viewpoints with great views of Howe Sound. There is also a small lake you can enjoy at the trailhead.
- Al’s Habrich Ridge: The Al’s Habrich Ridge hike is accessed from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola. From the ridge, you have views of Sky Pilot Mountain, Howe Sound, and The Stawamus Chief.
- Squamish Smoke Bluffs: The Squamish Smoke Bluffs hike is located in a popular park for rock climbing and hiking, with several nice lookouts, where you can see Squamish and Howe Sound.
- Tunnel Bluffs: The Tunnel Bluffs hike has become one of the most popular hikes in the Sea to Sky area over the last five years. This moderate trail takes you to an incredible lookout over Howe Sound.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Squamish
Hiking in Squamish is something that definitely require a bit of planning to ensure good weather conditions. The entire hiking season is considered from late March until late October, but like with most things, there is a peak season—which is the height of summer.
The hiking trails are beautiful and bursting with wildflowers during July, August and September, but be forewarned the trails can be very crowded with kids out on summer holiday. Generally speaking, September and October are the loveliest times to visit with less busy trails, cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage in peak leaf-pepping season.
During the winter and even into spring, the snow can stick around up on the mountains making for dangerous and unsafe hiking conditions. Always check before you leave, be prepared and dressed appropriately.
How to Plan a Trip to Squamish
Thinking of booking your next vacation in Squamish, but don’t know where to start? No sweat! We’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide to planning a trip to Squamish. We share all our insider knowledge on where to stay, eat and play. And of course, the local’s guide to the best hikes in the Squamish area. All you have to do… is pack your bag.
Frequently-Asked-Questions About Squamish
Are there bears in the Squamish area?
Yes, Squamish is located in a prime bear habitat. The bears here are active between March-December. Just be aware that there is an inherit risk while tramping through the woods. If you come prepared and are smart, you will be fine. There have been no recent incidents in this area to report of.
Will I need hiking boots for the trails in Squamish?
The Squamish trails can be a bit rooty and there’s lots of uphill (and downhill), so having proper footwear with ankle support will be a huge advantage to have out on the trails. Find our guide to choosing the right hiking boots for you here.
How long does it take to hike the Chief in Squamish?
The Chief is probably the most popular hiking trail in the area. So give yourself some extra time to battle all the people trying to conquer this hike as well. In general, it can be done in 90 minutes to reach peak 1 (which is as far as most people go), add on an additional hour for the next two peaks, which we think are the highlight.
The best hikes in Squamish
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