While you’re visiting British Columbia, Squamish is a little city with a stunning landscape that is certainly worth a visit. It is the ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. After all, the town’s tagline, “Hardwired for Adventure,” has a purpose. Squamish is frequently referred to as Canada‘s “Capital of Outdoor Recreation.” Even the well-known Netflix series Virgin River was filmed there.
Here Are the Best 10 Things to Do in Squamish:
1. Sea to Sky Gondola
Taking the Sea to Sky Gondola, which ascends 885 meters above sea level in just 10 minutes, is the shortest way to become completely immersed in the mountains.
You will experience educational hikes, expansive vistas, viewing platforms, and the 9,000-square-foot Summit Lodge with sit-down dining and much more.
You will enjoy every second of the journey since there is a lot to see, including boats dotted around Howe Sound, hikers navigating the dense undergrowth below, and famous sites like Shannon Falls and the imposing Stawamus Chief. Take some time to explore this area once you reach the summit.
As you stroll along one of the hiking routes or cross the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, the alpine view is breathtaking. The bridge is the ideal location for some shots because it offers sweeping vistas of the valley covered in pine trees.
On top of this, there is a 5,000-square-foot viewing platform with even more incredible views, making it one of the best things to do in Squamish.
Summertime walks range from short, simple loops that are always scenic to longer, more difficult journeys. You can even choose to go up the mountain rather than take the gondola.
With access to more than 3,000 acres of backcountry terrain and winter activities for all ages and skill levels like front and backcountry skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and tubing, the Sea to Sky Gondola transforms into a true winter wonderland in the winter.
The experience is capped off with an après-adventure at the Summit Lodge. A travel tip that you can follow in winter is to either rent some snowshoes for a wintertime romp through the snow or get your adrenaline pumping with some snow tubing.
There are many meal alternatives available at the summit to appease your taste.
The gondola hosts a ton of unique events all year long, including holiday parties, concerts, and perhaps the most picturesque yoga lessons you’ve ever experienced.
Before boarding the gondola to return to the mountain’s base, you can refuel at the lodge. You will have a great experience there and will also get some amazing pictures of the scenery.
2. Shanon Falls Provincial Park
One of the best sights to visit in Squamish is the stunning Shannon Falls. Barely 2 kilometres have separated it from the city. This massive waterfall, which drops more than 1,000 feet, is the third-tallest in British Columbia.
The mountain snow that melts in the late spring and summer gives the falls their greatest force. The falls’ source mountains are Mount Sky Pilot and Mount Habrich.
One of the best things to do in Squamish to properly enjoy nature and the surrounding mountains is to hike the Upper Shannon Falls Trail. Shannon Falls, which is accessible from Highway 99, makes a wonderful location for a large picnic.
This area is also conveniently close to the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park and the Sea to Sky Gondola. You may explore some of the area’s tall trees, old-growth stumps, and the persistent mist from the thundering falls above the area’s well-maintained boardwalk and path network that circles the foot of the falls.
At Shannon Falls, there are also some fantastic rock climbs, mostly on the rock slabs to the south of the falls. Shannon Falls’ cliffs are home to some of the region’s highest concentrations of 3-star routes in the 5.11 category, however, they only receive a small number of ascents.
The best times to visit this place are in the spring and fall when it’s less congested because it does get busy, especially during the summer months.
Weekends can be challenging for parking here. Picnic tables, a snack shop, and a restroom with running water are all located in the open green space away from the falls.
Additionally, you will get to witness the raging, thunderous falls caused by the high water levels of the rain and snowmelt. It is a fun place to visit with many activities available near the park.
3. Rock Climbing at Stawamus Chief
The granite cliffs and bluffs in Squamish are among the most well-liked natural attractions and offer some of the best rock climbing in the world. As the climbing is so accessible — often a 5 to 10-minute drive from the center of town — climbers of all ability levels love coming here.
There are many tools available for those who are new to the sport or to Squamish climbing in this lively and forward-thinking climbing community. Also, local businesses provide beginner classes that may be finished in a single day and cover fundamental techniques.
Stawamus Chief is without a doubt Squamish’s most well-known climbing rock and one of the best things to do in Squamish.
You don’t need to be an expert to climb Stawamus Chief, one of Squamish’s main attractions that are almost 2200 feet high. Naturally, some places are only accessible to specialists, but others are also accessible to beginners.
Beautiful old-growth forests may be found scattered throughout Murrin Provincial Park, and the park’s numerous cliffs and crags offer a wide variety of sport climbs suitable for climbers of all ages and skill levels.
Some of Canada’s hardest sports climbs can be found in the Chek Canyon area, but there are also enough intermediate grades to make it worthwhile for any climber to visit.
Other include Shannon Falls, the smoke bluffs, and the grand wall boulders. A 5-day mountain climbing festival is also annually held by the Arc’teryx climbing academy. You can attend clinics and interact with international climbing experts and can learn a lot about rock climbing.
4. Whitewater Rafting in Elaho and Cheakamus River
While negotiating rapids on the Elaho and Squamish Rivers, you can have fun and experience an adrenaline rush while viewing Squamish from the river. Given that it includes transportation, a guide, and all the equipment you need, this white-water rafting excursion in Squamish ought to be on your list of things to do.
You have a choice between the two main rivers. The Elaho-Squamish River contains more difficult class 3 and 4 rapids, while the Cheakamus River has milder class 1 and 2 rapids that are suitable for families.
Family cruises on the Cheakamus River run an hour to an hour and a half and are around 7 kilometres long. As you float down the river, you may anticipate seeing iconic views of Mount Garibaldi and the southern Tantalus Mountain Range.
For a 20 km voyage, trips down the Elaho-Squamish River last between two and a half and three hours.
Get ready to see Mount Cayley and Mount Garibaldi from 180 degrees as well as old-growth woods, cliffs, waterfalls, and wildlife such as mountain goats, eagles, bears, and deer in the world’s most glaciated mountain range at its latitude.
For different ages and experience levels, a variety of half-day and full-day alternatives with lifejackets and necessary gear are offered, making it one of the best things to do in Squamish.
Reservations are recommended to be made well in advance. You will have a wonderful and thrilling experience in both the rivers which you won’t forget.
5. Mountain Biking on Wonderland Trail and Half Nelson Trail
Squamish’s incredible mountain bike trail network is coveted by people all over the world. Squamish, located in a valley with mountains around it and sandwiched between Vancouver and Whistler, offers countless kilometres of mountain biking routes, from easy cross-country rides to hair-raising downhill descents.
You will never run out of satisfying single tracks in this town, regardless of your skill level. Among some really beautiful landscapes, you’ll discover dirt jumps, rapid descents, skills tracks, and climbs.
For individuals who like to get around on two wheels, there are paths in this area for people of all ages and skill levels. Squamish is a mountain biker’s nirvana with technical single track, lengthy rock slabs, quick, loamy descents, jump trails, climb trails, and pump tracks.
The mountain biking community in Squamish is warm and inviting, and there is a ton of resources available for riders who are new to the area or the sport.
The Wonderland Trail is a fantastic location to start for new hikers. It is mildly hilly and passes through woodland. Once you reach the top and gain some momentum, you’ll have the chance to tear down the trail to get a feel for mountain riding.
Another popular trail that is suitable for all skill levels is the Half Nelson Trail.
It can go really quickly and has a good flow. Mountain bikers with experience can rent a bike, pick up a paper or digital map, and explore to their heart’s content. However, be aware that the trial ratings may differ slightly from what you are used to.
They take great pride in creating and maintaining a top-notch network of single-track and free-ride trails because riding is an integral part of their culture.
6. Alice Lake Provincial Park
With its breathtaking mountain views, thick forest, wonderful hiking, and bike paths, and four freshwater lakes, Alice Lake Provincial Park is a local favourite. Only 13 kilometres (8 miles) separate it from Squamish.
The park offers a ton of land and water activities, including some of the greatest mountain biking and hiking paths in the region. The park has four freshwater lakes: Edith, Fawn, Stump, and Alice.
The closest parking is at Alice Lake, making it the most accessible. The Four Lakes Trail, a six-kilometre, kid-friendly loop through the woods, can be explored if you packed your hiking boots.
Seasonal canoe, kayak, and standup paddleboard rentals are offered. As all the lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout, fishing is also good here; just make sure to first obtain a fishing license.
Additionally offered are standup paddleboard instruction and standup paddleboard yoga, making it one of the best things to do in Squamish.
With 108 roomy sites, this campsite is great if you wish to camp. Although it’s usually peaceful compared to the other campgrounds nearby, you should still reserve a place in advance during the busy months of July, August, and September.
Additionally, there are two structures with showers and restrooms, an amphitheatre, a playground, and the Beachside Café, which is open from May to October depending on the weather. Overall, it is a refreshing experience with lots of learning.
7. Britannia Mine Museum
This museum welcomes visitors of all ages and is conveniently located in the old mining community of Britannia Beach, just south of Squamish.
You can visit the Britannia Mine Museum to learn more about Squamish’s industrial past. The Museum transports you back to the time when British Columbia was home to the biggest copper mine in Canada.
A national historic site is the Britannia Mines in Howe Sound. From 1905 through 1974, the Britannia Mines Concentrator processed copper ore. It combines a ride on a spooky train with a trip to a science fair.
The Britannia Mine Museum’s classification as a National Historic Site is due to the Mill 3 building. The ore was formerly processed inside this magnificent industrial landmark.
Through a variety of exhibits, tours, and an award-winning multi-sensory live-action show, it offers an immersive experience that allows visitors to get a sense of what it was like to live and work in a small, isolated community and to reflect on their own connections to the materials that are still mined today.
They are also equipped with an underground tour, a gold panning pavilion, a family play area, and Beaty Lundin Visitor Center. They also have a mining hall of fame. It is the perfect place to visit with children.
8. Garibaldi Provincial Park
The 194,650-hectare Garibaldi Provincial Park, which bears the name of the famed 2,678-meter Mount Garibaldi, is the biggest provincial park in Squamish.
Rich geological history, varied vegetation, snow-capped mountains, iridescent waterways, an abundance of wildlife, and picturesque panoramas all contribute to the extraordinary splendour of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Just 70 km north of Vancouver, the park is situated in the heart of the Coast Mountains.
Although the park extends further north past Whistler, the local Diamond Head region is the only part with year-round access and a wealth of recreational opportunities.
Be prepared for breathtaking landscapes while climbing up to the Red Heather Hut in the summer or through the meadows to the Elfin Lakes.
The park’s expansive terrain transforms into a paradise in the winter for ski mountaineers, snowshoers, and backcountry skiers.
At the Elfin Lakes Campground and Elfin Lakes Shelter, where there is camping available, you may find a propane stove, a dining area, and a sleeping space for up to 33 people.
The shelter does fast become full. If you want to go on an overnight expedition, start your hike early in the day and pack a tent as a backup.
Winter camping is permitted, however, you should be aware of the harsh winter weather this area may experience. In this park, fishing chances are scarce. Garibaldi Lake, Mamquam Lake, and Cheakamus Lake all offer fishing opportunities.
9. Scuba Diving
One of the best things to do in Squamish is scuba diving. The Chief is the first sight that catches your eye when you arrive in Squamish. You occasionally lose sight of the fact that the water is nearby because the mountains in the area are so stunning.
With artificial reefs, sunken ships, and a ton of marine life in the Howe Sound, Squamish is a fantastic place for scuba diving.
All levels of scuba divers and snorkelers can readily reach the beauty that lies under our coastlines and observe more than 100 marine species, including eels, octopuses, urchins, anemones, seals, and a variety of fish.
Three buried ships are located in Porteau Cove, making it a great place for novice divers. Pam Rocks is a popular diving and snorkelling spot because of the abundance of marine life there, including a sizable colony of harbour seals.
At 3-6 meters in Christie Islet, you’ll find a bottom with a rock wall, massive rocks, and a few little caves. It is one of the most surreal experiences.
10. Flight Seeing
The best way to view Squamish, British Columbia, is from the above. Explore secret lakes, twisting rivers, and never-before-seen mountain panoramas from above.
You’ll depart on this 35-minute flight tour from the Squamish Airport, which is located approximately 15 minutes from the town’s center.
This flight will take you over Garibaldi Provincial Park and up close to all the breathtaking scenery you’ve been admiring from a distance, including snow-capped mountain peaks, enormous glaciers, and crystal-clear alpine lakes.
The pilots are extremely informed and passionate about this region, so you will learn about Squamish’s geology and history while you fly.
You will be provided with headphones for the duration of the flight. As you fly over the Squamish Valley from a great height, you’ll have a completely new view. The experience is a little expensive but totally worth it.
In the End
Here are the 10 best things to do in Squamish. It is filled with outdoor adventures, some of which are mentioned above. You need to try all these while you visit Squamish and have a wonderful experience.
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