Walking the Squamish Oceanfront Trail
Squamish has a little bit of everything for the searcher in you. It’s a rock climber’s dream. The rivers and creeks will challenge even the best watermen in the world. The mountain bike trail network is the proving grounds for some of the world’s best riders. And the hiking, well, you’ve seen what’s on offer for hiking. But add to all that the fact that Squamish is perched on the ocean and it is truly an adventurer’s dream. There’s great fishing, fantastic open water sailing and a long, gravel spit that is the launching pad for one of the top ten places to kiteboard in North America. So ya, we’ve got a little bit of everything.
Nestled in among all of this, but favouring the water side of things is the Oceanfront Interpretive Trail. Starting right downtown at the end of Cleveland Avenue across from the Howe Sound Brew Pub, the Oceanfront Trail is a more a walk than a hike, but provides locals and tourists alike with a full day’s adventure. Being a Saturday, my wife and I decided to combine a little bit of the urban with our walk, starting at the Squamish Farmer’s Market. Running every Saturday, right downtown, for the whole summer, the Farmer’s Market is a great place to really shop local. Today we grab locally roasted coffee and a sandwich for our beach picnic.
The trail is an easy one, and dog friendly, so our furry companion, Lola, has come along. Once on the trail, your hound can be off leash and the wide gravel track meanders its way along one of the inland water channels. About twenty minutes into the trail, you reach the coast proper and if the tide’s out, there are about five football fields worth of space along the beach.
I love it here. It’s one of our’s, and our dog’s, favourite places to go in Squamish. Today the sun is shining and there’s a stiff, warm breeze coming off the Sound. We find a spot against some of the giant driftwood trunks on the shore, set up our little day camp. Immediately we kick off our shoes and head into the surf.
Howe Sound was once a bit of an environmental disaster, but over the last twenty years it’s seen a massive ecological recovery and it’s not uncommon to see seals, otters, orca and dolphins mixing it up with the kite boarders. As we walk into the water, our dog follows us in, barking and chasing the kites that sweep across the water, off shore.
We spend an hour milling about and enjoying the hot weather. The water is pleasant today and both of us go for a short swim. After finishing our lunch, we pack up and continue on our walk. The Oceanfront Trail goes around the point, following the coastline on the far side back towards downtown. When the tide is out, you can walk almost all the way on the beach, and today we do. Finally, once back at the car, we’ve completed a big loop. We find a spot in the shade for our hound and head in to the Howe Sound Brew Pub for an ice cold prize. Life is good on the South Coast, and we both toast the fact that living here is absolutely worth it.