Yervana Explorer, Chris, shares his experience of canyoning in West Vancouver's exhilarating waterfalls with Local, FX Gagnon.
Updated for summer 2020.
Hiking. Climbing. Biking. Windsurfing. Kayaking. Squamish: the land of Adventure.
Nestled at the North End of the stunning Howe Sound in British Columbia, this vibrant town is your one stop shop for everything from award-winning breweries to gorgeous multi-day hikes and everything in between.
We love Squamish because of all the things to do, but also because of the speed of life. You’ll find comfort taking the time to slow down- with the option of filling your days with adrenaline-spiked Adventures.
Things to See in Squamish
Kite Surfing on the Spit
Kiteboarding, windsurfing and observers come together at the Squamish Spit to enjoy perfect conditions for the sports. Once a secret, local hotspot, the spit is becoming more accessible as more people become interested in water sports. Bringing people from around the world together, you can find this adrenaline-high area where the Squamish River enters the Howe Sound.
Ps. This area is often windy, so dress warmly if you’re thinking of visiting!
Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is a leisurely way to see the beautiful vistas of the Howe Sound and its surrounding mountains. Although the gondola and its destination are accessible and relaxing, you can also find more to do at the top. From viewing points and tree walks to suspension bridges and hikes, this can become a full-day, full-heart experience!
For bonus adventure, hike your way up the Sea to Summit trail and take the gondola back down. You’ll pass waterfalls, get a good workout and spend the majority of your journey on peaceful sections of the trail.
Did you know Shannon Falls is BC’s third tallest falls? You have to see it to believe it! Don’t worry, everyone around you will also have their necks craned upwards as they try to fit it all in. The lower portion of the falls is well-maintained with boardwalks and picnic areas making the Falls accessible for many. Shannon Falls can become crowded in the summer months, so we recommend checking it out in shoulder season (spring or fall)! This way you can enjoy the space and the Falls in their prime. These times of year also offers the most mountain-melt and rain- causing a huge rush of water tumbling over the soaring cliffs.
Things to Do in Squamish
Visit the Local Waterfalls
The valleys around Squamish are filled with rushing waterfalls- big and small! You can find yourself hiking to big falls and beautiful local spots, like Crooked Falls, with our Local, Dylan. Not only will you experience stunning viewpoints along the way, but you’ll also wander through majestic forests dripping with moss, past sky-high boulders and up to the tumbling falls.
PSA: Don’t forget to read up on your waterfall safety! You can find out more details on water safety with AdventureSmart. Start with their Three T’s and read up on their ‘Water’ section on the website.
White Water Rafting
Squamish is home to some of North America’s most exhilarating rapids. The glacier-fed rivers offer a perfect spot for rafting, where you’ll pass by world-class landscapes including old growth forests, dormant volcanoes, towering glaciers and flowing waterfalls. Local guide, Graham, runs white water and chilled scenic rafting adventures out of Squamish, kitting explorers out with everything you need to safely experience the rapids!
Climbing is an awesome way to invigorate all your senses! Feel your way around the rocks, smell the fresh mountain air, taste the work you’re putting in, and hear the gentle breeze flow around your body. Our Local, John, offers rock climbing Adventures for those who want to try the sport for the first time and for those looking to taste the Squamish granite climbing. With routes suitable for beginners through to world class climbers, Squamish is a bucket list destination for anyone with a love of rock climbing. Take in the views, the experience and the good company!
Squamish is probably most famous for The Stawamus Chief, aka ‘The Chief’.
Located near Shannon Falls, this popular hike runs alongside a flowing creek and continues through dense, mossy forest with viewpoints that will make your breath halt. After climbing to the first peak (with the assistance of chains and ladders) you’ll find yourself standing on a huge slab of rock with 360 degree views of the Howe Sound, Squamish and the surrounding mountains and valleys. Pause for a well-deserved lunch break and then head back to the parking lot- or to the other two peaks.
To avoid overcrowding on the trails, we recommend ticking this hike off your bucket list during a weekday. Note, you’ll need a BC Parks day pass to access the trail – find out more here.
Squamish has no shortage of stunning hiking trails that are off the beaten path. For a truly special adventure, we’d encourage you to seek out some of the hidden gems where you can get your nature fix away from the crowds. Reach out to a Local guide to seek out the best spots!
Local Highlights: Eat, Drink and Shop in Squamish
We think it’s safe to say, we’re all looking for the local experience when we travel. Whether we’re heading to the town next door or we’re heading across the ocean, the locals are what make the experience. They show us where to go and what to do, all with a whole lot of personality! After spending some time in Squamish with our Locals, we’ve put a quick list of places you have to check out while you’re in Squamish:
“Owner operated. Team orientated. Distinctly adventurous.”
Tasty beer. Delicious pizza. Cool staff and decor. What more can we ask for post-Adventure?
Food trucks are now a staple to gourmet foods. We no longer live in the days where these trucks deliver late-night, greasy eats. The Locavore offers delicious meals crafted with organic, locally-sourced and grown ingredients. What are you waiting for? Get over there and try one of the town’s favorite eateries!
“They wanted to set up a community cafe back in B.C. where lifestyle, food, coffee and culture would blend seamlessly.”
And did they ever succeed! A great cafe to meet other climbers, eat great food, drink heart-warming coffee and listen to open mic nights.
Tasty, made-to-order, real-fruit ice cream! “That’s it, that’s all.”
“Spacious but cozy Cafe…. Grab a quick cup of fair trade, organic, locally roasted coffee to go, or stay awhile.” – A perfect stop to chill out and appreciate Squamish’s relaxed pace.
A great apothecary with gifts and locally made goods, this husband and wife owned shop says, “[we’re] natural healing for the Wild Adventurer.”
Find yourself pondering the goods of a variety of vendors at this Farmers’ Market while listening to live music or getting ready for the next event on the schedule. Occurring during the summer and winter months, you’ll have loads of opportunity to swing by this Market.
When to Visit Squamish
Squamish is a year-round destination. During the winter months you can cross-country ski, snowshoe, hit the slopes and more. Summer is the perfect time to set up your camping spot and explore the area around you by foot, watercraft, or bike. And shoulder seasons will offer you the best of both worlds- with less tourists.
How to Get to Squamish
If you’re heading to Squamish via Vancouver (if international, you would fly into YVR Airport. From the airport it’s easy to rent a car or take the skytrain into downtown), you can take the sea-to-sky highway. A curvy highway with views to envy, this is a quick route into the cozy town. Rent a car or take a shuttle. You can also take a float plane in- a great way to get the high-altitude view!
While in the Squamish region, be sure to check out nearby adventures and 5 breathtaking hikes near Vancouver. If you’re travelling with family, read about 4 family friendly hikes in the sea-to-sky corridor!
ELAHO EXHILARATOR WHITE WATER RAFTING
Experience a wet and wild adventure as you ride big waves and white water rapids navigating down the Class 3-4 Elaho and Squamish Rivers.
ROCK CLIMBING MOVEMENT SKILLS
Boost your climbing efficiency and have fun with a day focused on gaining confidence in technique specific to outdoor climbs, Squamish style. Join Squamish Local, John, on this outdoor Adventure.