Hiking 101: Squamish's Top Hikes and More!
Hiking 101: Squamish's Top Hikes and More!
Located at the doorstep of 8 provincial parks, it is no wonder hikers from all over the world make the trek to Squamish to explore our stunning trails.
Tips for New Hikers
Photo: West Coast Wonders
- Know where you're going: Brandon from Sea to Sky Adventure Company encourages hikers to do their research, research your hike in advance, know how long it takes, the general overview, the landmarks, how much elevation you will gain and know where the snowline is, snow can be found year round!
- Have a turnaround time: Before you leave your house Sean from West Coast Wonders tells hikers to establish a time to turn around and stick to it!
- Use trekking poles: James from Escape Route suggests hikers should view trekking poles as tools to increase efficiency. Poles help you move faster and distribute weight making hiking of a full body workout. For maximum efficiency keep your arms level by lowering your pole or gripping the pole lower on your uphill side.
- Bring more than you think you need: Chloe from Mountain Skills Academy and Adventures explains that you may not need a jacket while moving but you might while stopped. It's always better to be over prepared than under prepared!
- Pack the 10 essentials: Make sure you are familiar with BC Adventure Smart's 10 essentials; know what they are and have them on hand, no matter how big or small the adventure.
- Keep your feet happy: As a general rule, Aaron from Valhalla Pure Outfitters tells hikers the heavier your pack, the sturdier you want your hiking boots to be. If you plan on a full or multi-day objective you will likely be carrying some weight, keep your feet happy with a sturdy pair of boots with plenty of ankle support.
Local Favourite Hikes
Elfin Lakes - Aaron's pick from Valhalla Pure Outfitters
A full-day affair that leads to a pair of pristine alpine lakes, a rustic cabin and a mountain view. This is one of the best hikes in Squamish and is not to be missed. You can read a full description here.
Time: 6-8 hours
Panorama Ridge - Sean's pick from West Coast Wonders
The view from Panorama Ridge overlooking Garibaldi Lake reveals the ancient volcanic history of Squamish. From the ridge, you will see plenty of volcanic rock, the teal lake, patches of snowfields and an expansive glacier all juxtaposed together.
Time: 11 hours
Brohm Lookout Loop - Chloe's pick from Mountain Skills Academy and Adventures
A lovely alder-lined network of trails and forested paths along rock covered moss and vibrant green vegetation. With many points of interest along the way, such as creeks, marshes, lakes and a variety of wildflowers. Climb past small rock bluffs for a marvellous view of the Tantalus Mountains.
Garibaldi Lake - Brandon's pick from Sea to Sky Adventure Company
Commonly regarded as one of the most scenic places in British Columbia, Garibaldi Lake is a beautiful hiking destination. You can access the parking lot just off the highway, from there on you will rely on your feet to take you the rest of the way. The trail follows an abundance of switchbacks before turning left through the forest and making it's way to the lake.
Time: 5-6 hours
Demon Ridge - James' Pick from Escape Route
The out and back trail to Demon Ridge begins 5km up the Watersprite Lake Trail where you will pass a well-marked signpost to your left and from there the trail starts off somewhat overgrown. The western flank of the ridge opens up and you get some nice views of Mamquam Mountain. It is easy to follow the trail which is well marked with cairns. At this time Demon Ridge does not link to Watersprite Lake however you can just see the cabin from the ridge.
Time: 8 hours
Four Lakes Trail - Top Pick from the Squamish Visitor Centre
The 4 Lakes Trail is an easy 6.5km loop that meanders through creeks, second growth forest and visits four distinct mountain lakes. The trail can be started in the Stump Lake parking lot or at Alice Lake itself. Have your cameras ready at Stump Lake which features peek a boo views of Mt Garibaldi.
Time: 2-3 hours
Where to Buy and Rent Gear
Never hit the trails unprepared, whether you choose to rent or purchase hiking equipment the most important thing is to make sure you have it before starting your adventure. From hats to boots the entire gamut of hiking and camping gear is available for purchase at Escape Route and Valhalla Pure Outfitters.
Rental backpacks, poles and camping equipment is available at Escape Route, you can view a full list of their offerings here. Rental poles and a baby carriers are available at Valhalla Pure Outfitters.
Brandywine Ridge with Mountain Skills Academy and Adventures
Hike through a flowery alpine valley, following rough paths creek to creek towards boulder-covered heather slopes, then climb a talus slope to gain a beautiful tarn skirting a rocky ridge. At the ridge, you will see gratifying views of the Mount Fee Spires, Tricouni and Cypress Peak, Mount Garibaldi, the Tantalus Range, Rainbow Mountain, Whistler, Black Tusk, and many other glaciated summits in the distance.
Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult
Time: 5-8 hours
Echo Lake with West Coast Wonders
Echo Lake is a true Squamish classic, exceptionally highly rated by those in the know. To reach the trailhead, you will cross the Squamish River by boat. Once across the trail leads steeply upwards parallel to a series of super scenic waterfalls. Watch for a natural granite arch and stunning views out over Squamish and towards the Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls.
Time: 8-9 Hours
Al's Habrich Ridge Trail with Sea to Sky Adventure Company
Access the alpine in style, take a ride in the new Sea to Sky Gondola to the start of your hiking adventure. Al's Habrich Ridge Trail is one of Squamish's flagship backcountry hiking trails. Enjoy epic views of Howe Sound, Skypilot Mountain and Habrich itself. The trail weaves through old growth forest, ancient glacial formations, creeks and waterfalls and offers a half to full day excursion for those seeking a little more from their hike. Dotted with granite outcroppings, subalpine meadows and the picturesque Neverland Lake, Al’s Habrich Trail is not to be missed.
Time: Around 5 hours
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