An Adventure Through Canada’s “Outdoor Capital”
I had such an amazing day trekking through Canada’s self proclaimed, “outdoor recreational capital…”Squamish, B.C. Squamish is located about an hour north of Vancouver, or 45 minutes south of Whistler (home of the 2010 Winter Olympics). The beautiful coastal drive along the windy road makes for a challenging journey, as the impressive scenery is a bit memorizing. After significant road construction for the Olympics, the Sea-to-Sky highway is now much safer with the addition of new lanes and median barriers.
First stop was to Shannon Falls, a beautiful provincial park composed of a series of cliffs rising well over 1000’, making it the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. Shannon Falls is located just off of highway 99 and has both paved and dirt trails to explore the wonder of the area.
Next stop was to conquer “The Chief,” a challenging hike/climb high above the valley below. This hike definitely made my top-10 day-hike list…the climb takes you up a humongous mountain-sized rock that most people see when driving highway (99) on their way to Whistler. We decided to climb to the second peak, which is just over 2000 feet… and, very vertical. The beginning of the hike takes you along several waterfalls, then you find yourself in the wonderment of dense forest. As you near the top and above the treeline you find massive granite faces with crevices and assistance devices. Once atop this vigorous mountain, spectacular views of the Squamish Valley, Howe Sound and the town of Squamish will greet you with delight.
Hiking the Chief is very popular and the route is well marked by aluminum signs on trees. It does have a few tricky “rope/chain assist” sections toward the top, which we found quite fun and challenging. All the hiking guides say it will take 2-3 hours to reach the summit, we did it in less than 2 hours with several photo-opp stops.
As the day was winding down we decided to briefly explore the town of Squamish before heading back. The day was so sunny and warm that I really wished I had my camping equipment…a night under the stars would have been spectacular in this area. There is so much to see and do, I began to believe the self-professed “Outdoor Recreation Capital” slogan. If the Squamish Adventure Center didn’t convince me, the kite boarders in Howe Sound sure did.