Explore Squamish - November 21, 2018

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 mid-November to mid-January. 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 eagles 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, picnic tables, and even spotting scopes when EagleWatch is operating. Volunteer interpreters from the EagleWatch program will be at the Eagle Run Viewing Shelter on Saturdays and Sundays during peak season, as well as through Christmas Week to help educate interested guests about our famous Squamish 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 stunning 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 access 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. Please note the Mamquam spawning channels are located in very sensitive habitat. People should be very careful to not disturb the eagles, whether they are roosting or feeding. 

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.

Tour operators: Squamish Rafting Company and Canadian Outback Rafting Company.

7. From the saddle of a Bicycle 

Eagle bike tours are available for the first time ever this 2019/2020 season. Your guide will take you on a relaxing ride to search for eagles in some of Squamish's most scenic spots. Choose from a standard mountain bike tour, or opt for an e-bike. Tours are available rain or shine and include bike and helmet rentals and rain gear. 

Tour operators: Blazing Saddles Adventures (e-bikes only) and Ride BC (e-bikes and mountain bikes)

8. From the Saddle of a Horse

Ride alongside one of the densest eagle habitation areas in all of Squamish to gain close up views of eagles perched high in the trees. The 1-hour trail ride takes place along the river where the eagles spend most of their time. Keep your cameras close to capture the magic!

Tour operator: Cheekye Ranch

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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Eagle Viewing

Eagle Floats

Eagles by Bike