Explore Squamish - May 29, 2018

Hiking Murrin Provincial Park

Howe Sound Viewpoint
Photo: D'Arcy McLeish

Hiking Murrin Provincial Park

Just 9 kilometres south of Squamish, is a small provincial park that sits between the highway and Howe Sound. At 24 hectares, Murrin Lake Provincial Park is predominantly known as a rock climbing and swimming destination. In fact, the park receives over 350,000 visitors a year, many of which are climbers, looking to test their skills on the more than 250 climbing routes scattered throughout the park. Murrin is also home to Browning Lake, a small, deep lake right at the entrance to the park that is one of the favourite swimming and picnic spots for locals and tourists alike. But what many people don't know is that Murrin Park is an awesome place for a hike. 

Murrin offers two main trails in the park. The Browning Lake Trail which meanders around the lake and surrounding forest and the relatively new Murrin Park Loop Trail (also called the Quercus Trail) which dips into the forest giving you a tour of the entire park. 

The Route

 

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At only 2km in length, the Murrin Park Loop Trail is one of the quickest hikes in Squamish, and it makes no compromise on views. The trail offers forested peek-a-boo lookouts as well as an unobstructed Howe Sound vista complete with a bench to relax and watch the sunset. For climbers and hikers alike, the loop trail offers a chance to see Murrin Park in all its beauty as well as to scope out some of the many climbing crags located within the park. To access the trailhead walk along the beach of the lake in the direction that leads away from the highway. Shortly after the picnic tables, you will see a fairly distinct sign and trail leading off to the right. Continue to follow the well-marked path and pay attention to the trail signs which will indicate the name of the nearby climbing areas and the direction of the trail. 

 

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Over the last fifty years, Howe Sound has recovered from much of the environmental degradation it suffered throughout the early twentieth century. Now pods of dolphins are not uncommon here, and seals are often seen swimming around by the shores below the lookout. The Loop Trail, along with the Browning Trail, all eventually work their way back to the parking area and lake. If you work up a sweat, go for a swim. While small, Browning Lake is deep, clean and beautiful to behold. 

Good to Know

  • Time: Plan for the trail to take around 1.5 - 2 hours to complete
  • Dogs: Murrin Provincial Park is dog-friendly so long as dogs are kept on leash
  • Parking: On hot days the parking lot can fill up, arrive early to ensure a spot
  • Noise: Please be considerate of climbers nearby who need to communicate with each other, keep the noise down while passing nearby crags

The Squamish Access Society

This trail was constructed by the Squamish Access Society (SAS). You can read about the project and access SAS's website here

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