A popular hiking destination in the summer it's no surprise that Squamish draws so many snowshoers to its trails all winter long. In winter conditions the evidence of snowshoeing is clear, coffee shops are bustling with avid outdoor enthusiasts eager to hit the hills and capture the local mountains all covered in white.
Trails range in difficulty from beginner to advanced, steep to flat and long to short; offering a little something for everyone. Looking for a family-friendly option, Squamish has routes even the little ones can enjoy.
Where to go:
Garibaldi Provincial Park
Red Heather Hut
A very well marked trail that begins at the Diamond Head parking lot and winds its way (5km uphill) through an old growth forest. The Red Heather Hut is the halfway point to Elfin Lakes and offers a propane heater and emergency only sleeping shelter. There are always plenty of Whiskey Jacks nearby and a plethora of hikers and backcountry skiers all seeking a snack at the hut. When you descend be mindful of passing skiers, make sure to leave enough space for them to get past you on the trail.
*Please note that chains for your vehicle are required to access the trailhead parking lot, more information can be found here.
Length: 11 km roundtrip
Duration: 3-5 hours
The trail to Elfin Lakes continues from Red Heather Hut and gradually ascends onto Paul Ridge into the sub-alpine. The views here are breathtaking and continue all along the trail. About a half hour past Red Heather, the trail climbs to the high point of Paul Ridge, at 1660m. From here, the path moves slightly downhill to wind its way toward the snow-covered Elfin Lakes.
The Elfin Lakes Cabin is just beyond the campground and is fully equipped with cooking utensils, stove and can sleep up to 22. If you plan on staying overnight be sure to make a reservation on the BC Parks Website, space in the cabin and the campsite fills up fast.
**Elfin Lake Cabin are currently closed until further notice
***Please note that chains for your vehicle are required to access the trailhead parking lot, more information can be found here.
Length: 22 km roundtrip
Duration: All day
Closer to town
Four Lakes Trail
A year-round hiking trail that often receives enough snow for snowshoeing. Watch the weather carefully, if there are a few inches of snow sticking in Squamish the four lakes trail becomes a snowshoers paradise of dust-covered rainforest terrain, an awe-inspiring view well worth the effort of the hike. The four lakes you pass by are Stump Lake, Fawn Lake, Edith Lake and lastly Alice Lake.
Length: 6 km
Duration: 2 hours
Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest
Similar to the Four Lakes Trail, if there is plenty of snow in Squamish then snowshoeing the Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest becomes a feasible option. Starting in the parking lot, you can choose to enter the North or South end of the loop and follow the trail as it circles the lake. Going northbound, you will start in the forest and tightly hug the lake before circling back beside the highway and over a charming wooden bridge.
Length: 3.5 km
Duration: 2 hours
Alexander Falls Explorer Trail
Located in the centre of Callahan Valley, this undulating snowshoe trail will lead you to one of the most breathtaking frozen waterfalls in British Columbia. As you descend the somewhat steep section of the trail towards Alexander Falls, the 55-metre frozen waterfall will leave you breathless. Note the steep sections of this trail may be difficult for beginners and children.
Length: 2.5 km
Duration: 2-5 hours
The Sea to Sky Gondola
Beginning at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola, the Panorama Trail is one of the most convenient ways to snowshoe without the grind of walking or driving uphill to reach the snowline. The lightly forested trail provides exceptional views of backcountry peaks, gullies and small meadows. Halfway through the path, you’ll arrive at the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform, an oh so Instagrammable photo spot and idyllic location for a well-deserved snack break. Due to the high elevation of the trailhead, the snowshoeing season starts early and ends late making it a perfect first have atter to test out your snowshoeing legs.
Length: 1.6 km
Duration: .45 - 1.5 hours
Shannon Basin Trail
Starting at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola this hike quickly drops down as it meanders along the backcountry access road to the Upper Sea to Summit Trail. Once you connect with the Sea to Summit Trail follow the signs to return to the Summit Lodge. You won’t see distant mountain views on this path. Instead, you’ll be transported deep into a winter wonderland of snow-covered forests.
Length: 10 km
Duration: 2.5 - 4 hours
Sea to Summit Trail
We’ve all heard of the Sea to Sky Gondola, but did you know you can hike to the top and savour the views all the way up? In snowy conditions this trail is not for the faint of heart, there are fixed ropes, some steep sections, and possibly some ice along the trail. It is recommended to carry microspikes and snowshoes with you. You can ride the Gondola back down for $15.
Dog-Friendly: Yes, dogs may only download the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Length: 7.5 km one way
Duration: 5 hours
Snowshoe rentals are available at Escape Route, Valhalla Pure Outfitters and at the Sea to Sky Gondola. You can also rent snowshoes, go on a guided tour and explore the trails at the nearby Olympic Park.
Please get outside and enjoy all that Squamish has to offer but get informed before you go.