Stawamus Chief

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
6.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
494 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Stawamus Chief

For one of the most popular hikes in Squamish, try hiking up Stawamus Chief. Located within Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, The Chief provides amazing views of Howe Sound over three different summits and is a can’t miss British Columbia experience.

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Route Description for Stawamus Chief

Kick off the Stawamus Chief hike in the Stawamus Chief campground, where the trailhead leads almost immediately into a series of wooden stairs. You’ll know you are on the main trail when you spot the Oleson Creek, which the path runs parallel too. At the first split in the road, stay left following signs for Shannon Falls.

Continue at the next junction in the trail left, continuing to follow signs for Upper Shannon Falls and Sea to Summit Trail. At the third split in the trail, take a left once more. Then, you’ll eventually reach a junction with sign posts. Go left here, towards Peak 1. Once at the next split, go left and head up Peak 1. We like Peak 1, but it is also the busiest. So if you’re pressed for time Peak 1 is the peak to skip. In addition, we think the views are best from Peak 2 and 3.

After enjoying the views from Peak 1, retrace your steps back to the junction and go left, on the trail to head towards Peak 2.

From the junction, continue hiking onwards, until you reach the rocky, open surface of Peak 2. A quick scramble (though be cautious as the rocks can be slippery) will take you to a top of Peak 2. Enjoy views back to Peak 1, Squamish and Howe Sound. Take a rest here to enjoy the scenery and regain some strength.

Continue over the summit and follow the orange markers located in the trees, following the trail back down through the North Gully, stopping to look out over Mount Garibaldi. Push onwards as the trail slowly goes uphill again. .

Eventually, you’ll arrive at narrow ledge and a chain, which will help you ascend. Continue to follow the orange flags, until you reach the top of Peak 3. Take care as you go up a few steep and narrow sections, which again can be very slippery if its’ been wet. From the tip top of Stawamus Chief, revel in the views overlooking Mount Garibaldi and the Tantalus Range and rest your legs for the long descent back to the car. To return back to the parking lot, reverse down Peak 3 back to the North Gully. If you want a shortcut, you can take the trail that bisects Peak 2 and 3, directly into the gully.

Head down the hill, taking your time along the challenging terrain, then cross back over Oleson Creek and onto the main trail, following it to the parking lot.

Insider Hints for Stawamus Chief

  • The summit at The Chief is usually free of snow in the early spring, making this a great warm-up hike for the summer months ahead.
  • Stawamus Chief is one of the most popular hikes around Vancouver, and the trail gets exceptionally busy during the summer. If you want to avoid the long lines of people hiking up and down the trail, you’re best to go during a weekday, or in the spring and fall.
  • If you wish to camp overnight, the Stawamus Chief Campground is close by, but book your site far in advance, as it can be busy all-year-round.

Getting to the Stawamus Chief Trailhead

Take Highway #99 heading north past Horseshoe Bay towards Squamish. Keep driving along the Sea to Sky highway all the way towards Squamish for about 35 minutes. Watch for the signs for Shannon Falls. If you keep driving north for a few seconds more, past the Shannon Falls lot, you can park in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park parking lot for free.

Route Information

  • When to do

    March to November

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Yes

  • Pets allowed

    Yes

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Stawamus Chief Elevation Graph

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