Explore Squamish - September 10, 2015

Shannon Falls - One of BC's Best

Shannon Falls Squamish
Photo: D'Arcy McLeish

Shannon Falls is always something that’s kind of been an aside for me, living in Squamish. I’ve been there, sure, but always to rock climb on some of the routes that line the far right side of the falls. I’ve never gone to just to see the falls themselves and walk around and, well, be a tourist.

So the other day, camera in hand, I drove down and parked at the main parking lot and decided to be a tourist for a couple of hours. I picked the early evening hoping to see the falls bathed in the warm coastal sun. I wasn’t disappointed. I learned a few things as well.

 

 

Boulders at Shannon Falls
The boulders at the base of the falls are a great place to explore. But be warned, when the water is raging, it's a dangerous place. 

 

 

Shannon Creek starts up on the Stadium Glacier, just below the alpine massif below Sky Pilot, Copilot and Ledge Peaks. It’s fed from glacier melt and crashes its way down Sky Pilot Valley to end in what is the third highest waterfall in BC. Cascading down 335 metres of granite, the falls are a spectacular sight to see.

 

 

Howe Sound View Point
If you do wander around the base of the falls, the views of Howe Sound are all time.

 

 

The trail at this small provincial park is short and begins in a picnic area surrounded by old growth trees. The picnic area is a gorgeous spot for a meal and as I wander through, I see families settling in at the tables for an outdoor dinner. The trail itself starts easy; a wide, gravel track that is fit for even those using wheels to get around. It goes beside the creek, just below the falls, and offers views straight up the cliffs. In the spring, when the falls are pumping, a fine mist sprays the forest surrounding the creek.

 

 

Shannon Creek
Calm waters...when the rains come or the during the spring snowmelt, the falls and creek below become a raging torrent.

 

 

Today the falls are tamer than usual due to the dry summer we’ve had so far. I continue up the trail, snapping photos along the way. As I mentioned, the trail is short, but absolutely spectacular, and the entire route takes a little less than 20 min. The end is marked with a fenced off area at a viewpoint of the falls. There’s a bench here and it’s a nice spot to sit and enjoy your surroundings.

 

 

Howe Sound from Shannon Creek
Howe Sound. It never gets old. 

 

 

On my way back, I stop near the start of the trail and wander into the creek. There are countless big boulders here and as long as you’re careful and light of foot, there are some cool spots to hike to around the creek. But be warned: today the creek is as low as it gets. When the waters are raging, this is no place for anyone and walking the boulders in the creek is dangerous.

 

 

Base of the Falls
Love Squamish. So stoked to have this on my front door. 

 

 

On finishing the walk, I stop in the picnic area and find a bench. As usual, I’ve come prepared, this time with a book and a thermos of tea. It’s warm, but the tea cools me off and I settle in, with the last rays of sunshine, to read for an hour. Overhead the trees and the falls continue their vigil, keeping watch over what is one of the most spectacular little spots in BC. 

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