Squamish is known as the adventure capital of Canada and for good reason. Anything you want to do you can do it in Squamish, BC. There’s hiking, mountain biking, endless climbing routes, off-roading, backcountry skiing, kite-boarding and more. It’s a fantastic town that’s grown hugely in popularity and it’s easy to see why. We spend many weekends in Squamish throughout the year and always have fun. Here are some of my favourite hikes from the area but it’s by no mens an exhaustive list!
The best hikes in Squamish
These Squamish hikes and Squamish lakes are all accessible with a 2WD (except Watersprite) and can be completed as day hikes.
Know before you go
There are a few things you must do before you go off on hiking in Squamish. These are for your own safety, and that of others.
- Be adventure smart: Remember to respect the terrain, environment, and other users while you are enjoying the trails. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. AdventureSmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors.
- Pack your 10 essentials
- Remember to leave no trace
The Chief hike, Squamish
The Squamish Chief hike (The Stawamus Chief hike) is a classic and one of the most popular trails on this list with hikers and runners alike. The Chief is the name given to the huge granite rock that looks down on the town of Squamish – you can’t miss it!
There are three peaks to The Chief, and many people only do one of them at a time, but the three are easily doable in one day.
It’s a fun hike that begins with a lot of stairs and then includes some chains and ladders to help get you up steep rocks later on.
Elfin Lakes hike
Elfin Lakes is a beautiful hike within the boundaries of Garibaldi Provincial Park. We did the Elfin Lakes hike in April a few years ago when it was still very snowy, so if you’re hoping to do it without snow then most years you’ll need to wait until late June-July.
There’s a cute Elfin Lakes cabin, or you can tent camp at Elfin Lakes too.
While the distance is quite long, there aren’t really any very steep sections of the trail. That means this hike is usually rated easy-moderate in terms of difficulty.
If you’ve rather get a view of The Chief than hike up it, I’d suggest hiking Mt Crumpit in Squamish. The trails here tend not to be too busy (nowhere near as busy as The Chief anyway!) and you can get a great view in a short distance. However, do keep an ear out for mountain bikers as this area has many mountain biking trails and you’re not going to want to get in the way!
Read more about the Mt Crumpit hike in Squamish.
Watersprite Lake is quite a drive from Squamish itself on a logging road but you have to go to Squamish first to get there. It’s one of the prettiest hikes near Squamish!
This beautiful lake sits just outside the boundaries of Garibaldi Provincial Park and is maintained by a trail association. It’s a relatively long hike and there’s (very) limited camping at the top as the area around the lake is quite small.
If you do plan on visiting this lake please take extra care not to harm the surrounding ecosystems as it’s very fragile and struggles to cope with the amount of people visiting it at the moment!
If you plan to camp at Watersprite you need to book your tent pad in advance!
Lake Lovely Water
This is the only one on this list of Squamish trails I haven’t done (yet).
This absolutely stunning lake is harder to get to than the other Squamish hikes on this trail as you first have to book a boat crossing across the Squamish River. Once you’ve done that it’s a steep hike up to the lake where a refreshing dip awaits!
Brohm Lake hike & the Tantalus lookout
Brohm Lake and the Tantalus Lookout were a surprise to me. I’d seen some of Brohm Lake from the highway on the way to Whistler, but hadn’t explore the area on foot. Once chilly December, I headed out on a solo hike and loved the view of the Tantalus that I got!
There are various loops and trails you can take to reach the Tantalus Lookout and I’d recommend downloading a map on AllTrails (or similar) to make sure you know where you’re going. The forest around the lake is pretty thick and I imagine it’d be easy to go the wrong way!
Murrin Lake Provincial Park
Murrin Lake gets super busy in the summer with people looking to climb, hike and paddle in the lake. It’s very accessible as the parking lot is right off the highway just south of Squamish.
Though there are plenty of trails to explore, one of the best and most popular trails is to hike up to Quercus Viewpoint. Up here there’s a bench and a great view of the Howe Sound and Coast Mountains running alongside the Sea to Sky.
Sea to Summit Trail
The Sea to Summit trail is a rewarding hike in Squamish, BC. Sometimes called the Sea to Sky trail or even Shannon Falls hike the best part is you can enjoy a gondola ride down! It doesn’t get much better than skipping the return hiking journey!
Following the same trail as The Chief to begin with, The Sea to Summit trail then splits off. You pass Upper Shannon Falls and climb up to the top Sea to Sky gondola station.
Up here you can enjoy a refreshing cold drink from the cafe or explore some of the other trails. Be sure to check out the suspension bridges for awesome views of Howe Sound and surrounding Coast Mountains! Or, if you’re energetic, take on one of the other hikes accessible from the top of the gondola!
Which of these hikes around Squamish is your favourite?