Explore Squamish - November 20, 2017

Where to View the Brackendale Eagles

Photo: Squamish Rafting Company

Where to View the Eagles

It's a bird; it's a plane–no you're right it was a bird! 

Eagles, AKA North America's feathered apex predators have landed in Squamish, and they're a sight to behold! Every fall, just when the salmon runs begin, Bald Eagles from around North America migrate to Squamish to take shelter for the cold winter months and hunt for their favourite dish. Peak eagle viewing season is in full swing. To get the best views in town be sure to check out these top spots:

1. The shores of the Squamish River

Take a stroll along the dyke, and you'll notice a wide variety of birds; crows, seagulls, and wintering bald eyeing down their next meal . Efforts are made by volunteers to shovel the snow on the ramp to access the dyke. Come wearing your winter gear and be sure to remember your camera!

2. Eagle Run Viewing ShelterBrackendale Eagles Provincial Park

Photo: Ian Robertson

3. Eagle Run Dyke

Nestled along the dyke in one of the most picturesque locations along the Squamish River is the Eagle Run Viewing Shelter.  The shelter includes interactive information boards, covered spaces to hide from the elements, park benches, and even viewing binoculars on Saturdays. Volunteer interpreters from the Eagle Watch program will be at the Eagle Run Viewing Shelter on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am - 3 pm between November 10 and early January 2019 as well as through Christmas Week to help educate interested guests about our famous Brackendale Eagles.

4. Squamish Estuary

Spectacular mountain views and picturesque meadows and marshes characterize this site. Beautiful year-round the addition of wintering eagles only elevates this already picturesque location. Eagles are known to perch in the leaf baren trees against the backdrop of the Stawamus Chief. Arrive camera in hand, you will not want to put it down. 

5. Mamquam River Trails

Photo: MJ Blanchet, Canadian Outback Rafting

A home for many spawning salmon, it's no surprise that hundreds of bald eagles can be spotted here year after year. The mellow forested trails skirting the Mamquam River make for a perfect location for photographers and nature enthusiasts to walk among the birds of prey who call Squamish home each winter.

To acess the trails take the Mamquam Road exit from the Sea to Sky Highway and park your car in a small lot slightly past the Squamish Golf and Country Club. The trailhead begins a few metres west of the parking lot. You can view a map of the Mamquam River trails here

6. From a Raft Floating Down the Cheakamus River

Photo: Squamish Rafting

Nowhere is the eagle population more amazing than seen from a raft, floating down the Cheakamus River. Eagle watching float tours run through to February and are suitable for people of all ages and abilities, it’s a great way to get up close with one of the world’s most magnificent birds of prey.

Eagle floats are offered by Squamish Rafting Company and Canadian Outback Rafting Company.

Eagle Viewing Ethics

  • Winter is a stressful time for eagles, please give them space
  • Early morning is an important feeding time for eagles. Never disturb them while they are feeding.
  • Use binoculars or telephoto lenses to get a closer look. Do not use drones!
  • Stay on the dikes and off gravels bars or private land. 
  • Keep dogs on leash. Do not let dogs chase or harass wildlife. 

Still not sure where to go?

You can download a map of popular eagle viewing sites here, or stop by the Squamish Adventure Centre and we’ll give you a map and rundown of where to find the best viewing spots.

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