LOCAL JOURNEYS

Squamish Hikes That Locals Love (Food and Beer Pairings Included)

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Squamish

Squamish has always been loved by locals for its fresh air, breathtaking scenery, endless opportunities for outdoor activities and tight-knit community. But to most out-of-towners, Squamish wasn’t much more than a rest stop on the way to the world-famous destination, Whistler.

In recent years, however, the former hidden gem has been too good to ignore.

Squamish has gone from pit stop to popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and panoramic views.

If you’re seeking outdoor adventure on foot, we have compiled a list of spectacular Squamish hikes as well as local food and beer pairings that come recommended by Squamish residents themselves.

The following list covers both well-known hikes and hikes you’ve never heard of—with everything you need to know before you go.

Secret Squamish Hikes That Locals Love

Squamish locals are proud that their beautiful town is attracting people from all corners of North America. But locals live there partly because they value solitude in nature—away from crowds. Here are three top-secret hikes that locals recommend...to other locals.

1. High Falls Creek

High Falls Creek is a local gem that only the expert Squamish hikers frequent. You can expect a steep climb from the get-go, with sections that border along the canyon. Although there are chains and ropes to assist, this hike does require some technical hiking expertise. This hike is not a good time when wet or icy since it can get fairly slippery. High Falls Creek is best for warm, sunny days.

Another word of caution: in July the trail is full of blueberry bushes—which can mean two things: 1) built-in hiking snacks, and; 2) bears! Stay alert if hiking High Falls Creek at that time of year.

That said, if you’re a seasoned hiker, you are guaranteed to enjoy stunning viewpoints overlooking the falls and the canyons.

Season: May - October
Difficulty level: Expert
Elevation gain: 650m
Distance: 12km roundtrip
Duration: 5 hours
Camping: No
Dog-friendly: No

Access point: From Upper Squamish Valley Road, go 100m past a bridge then cross a wooden bridge next to a hydro station. Park your car before the bridge that crosses High Falls Creek. Walk north across that bridge to begin the hike.

Insider’s tip: Views are most visible late in the day when the sun shines directly on the canyon. Time your hike accordingly.

Beer pairing: Widowmaker by Backcountry Brewing. Intense flavours after an intense hike.

Food pairing: Chimi Changa Loco at Mag’s 99. The perfect meal for the “crazy” Squamish hikers.

2. Hat Mountain

Experienced hikers will surely appreciate this resident recommendation. Even with strenuous elevation gains and scrambling sections, local adventure-seekers love Hat Mountain. Enjoy fantastic views, wildflowers, old-growth forest, birdwatching and solitude at Hat Mountain.

Season: July - February
Difficulty level: Expert
Elevation gain: 1642m
Distance: 14.6km roundtrip
Duration: 10 hours
Camping: Yes
Dog-friendly: No

Access point: At the end of Sunset Drive in the village of Lions Bay.

Insider’s tip: If there has been heavy rainfall, be prepared to cross creeks. Additionally, bring bug spray in the summertime.

Beer pairing: The award-winning Trailbreaker by Backcountry Brewing after an award-worthy hike.

Food pairing: Chilli Beef Birria Meat Poutine at Sunny Chibas. Comfort food after an arduous hike.

3. Echo Lake

Echo Lake is Squamish’s most magical secret. It requires physical fitness and hiking expertise that calls for scrambling on all fours in some spots. But the struggle is worth the unique perspectives of Squamish and awe-inspiring rock formations at Echo Falls along the way. And that isn’t even the best part. Once you reach Echo Lake, the clear blue waters make you forget that you almost died on the way to this paradise.

Season: May - September
Difficulty level: Expert
Elevation gain: 900m
Distance: 5.2km roundtrip
Duration: 6-7 hours
Camping: Yes
Dog-friendly: No

Access point: This hike is accessible by boat only. You will need to canoe or kayak across Squamish River; alternatively, you can pay for a boat shuttle by Squamish Watersports.

Insider’s tip: Do not cross the river without consulting tide charts first, and plan your trip accordingly.

Beer pairing: Hazy Daze Northeast IPA by Howe Sound Brewing. Tropical fruit flavors to cheers to the paradise that is Echo Lake.

Food pairing: Grizzly Burger at The Watershed Grill. Because you’ll be hungry as a bear after a hike at Echo Lake.

Well-loved Squamish Hikes

Ask a local where to hike and they’ll likely point you in the direction of the higher-traffic hikes. Having said that, these hikes are popular for a reason - they’re no less stunning than the hidden gems and many locals do frequent these areas.

1. Stawamus Chief

Better known as “The Chief”, this hike is a Squamish icon — one of the most popular day hikes in B.C. There are three summits that you can climb: the South, the Centre and the North. Most people turn back at the South (the first peak). If you have the energy, you may as well hike up to the Centre and the North summits to take in the views with smaller crowds.

Season: March - November
Difficulty level: Moderate
Elevation gain: 627m
Distance: 11km roundtrip
Duration: 3-5 hours
Camping: Yes
Dog-friendly: Yes

Access point: The parking lot and entrance are found on the east side of the Sea to Sky Highway as you enter Squamish.

Insider’s tip: To avoid the crowds and enjoy The Chief in peace and quiet, plan a weekday trip.

Beer pairing: Howe Sound Lager from Howe Sound Brewing. A crisp and refreshing classic, just like this hike.

Food pairing: The Alpha Bowl at Fergie’s Cafe. A serious meal after working up a sweat.

2. Sea to Summit

*Note: The Sea to Summit is currently closed due to investigations of a gondola incident. It is set to re-open in Spring 2020.

With the opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola in 2014 came the opening of new trails that were previously hard to access. One of these trails is the increasingly popular Sea to Summit trail. This hike has been compared to the grueling Grouse Grind—but without the stairs and a lot longer. Be ready to climb steep inclines for at least three hours, using your hands and ropes to pull yourself up smooth rocks at certain points in the hike. It’s a great workout with a major payoff at the top and stunning views along the way.

You’ll get a close-up look at Upper Shannon Falls, panoramic views of Howe Sound, Sky Pilot and other peaks.

Season: March - November
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Elevation gain: 918m
Distance: 7.5km one way
Duration: 3.5 hours
Camping: No
Dog-friendly: Yes

Access point: Via the Basecamp parking lot.

Insider’s tip: Make sure you have your wallet with you to pay for the gondola on the way down. Hiking back down is not recommended.

Beer pairing: Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale by Howe Sound Brewing. Made specifically for the opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Food pairing: Salmon Burger at The Watershed Grill. For a little seafood after the Sea to Sky summit.

3. Elfin Lakes

Elfin Lakes are two small lakes located in the scenic alpine setting of Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish, British Columbia.

Boasting old-growth forests, and a backdrop of mountains and glaciers, Elfin Lakes is a popular hangout for Squamish locals who enjoy mountain biking, snowshoeing and hiking. One lake is perfect for swimming on a hot day, while the other lake is reserved for drinking water only.

There is a rest stop about an hour into the hike at Red Heather Meadows. Further along, there is a campsite if you’re up for some overnight, backcountry camping. Otherwise, plan on making the Elfin Lakes hike a full-day affair.

Season: July - October
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Elevation gain: 600m
Distance: 22km roundtrip
Duration: 6 hours
Camping: Yes
Dog-friendly: No

Access point: Garibaldi Provincial Park Diamond Head parking lot

Insider’s tip: The weather can change instantly so be prepared with food, water and layers of clothing.

Beer pairing: Elfin Lakes Belgian Ale by A-Frame Brewing. Notes of honey and clove with a finish as refreshing as a dip in the lake.

Food pairing: The Squampton at The Copper Coil. A fully-loaded meal to go with a hike that has all the fixings.

4. 4 Lakes Trail

4 Lakes Trail is a hike located in Alice Lake Provincial Park, a family campground favourite amongst Squamish locals and visitors alike. With little elevation gain and easy terrain, it’s a perfect way to spend the day out in nature with the kids.

Season: April - November
Difficulty level: Easy
Elevation gain: 200m
Distance: 6km roundtrip
Duration: 2 hours
Camping: Yes
Dog-friendly: Yes

Access point: Alice Lake campsite parking lot

Insider’s tip: All four lakes are great for swimming but if you prefer slightly smaller crowds, try either Fawn Lake or Edith Lake.

Beer pairing: OKANAGAN LAKE Cream Ale by A-Frame Brewing. Keeping it light after a day spent swimming and sauntering around 4 Lakes Trail.

Food pairing: Homemade Veggie Burger at Zephyr Cafe. A mild and delicious meal that feels just right after a day at 4 Lakes.

Women hiking in DUERS

Squamish is packed with hiking trails at every turn. A few other local favourites include Demon Ridge, Tantalus and Brohm Lake. Whichever adventure you choose, comfortable attire is essential. For those who want pants that are comfortable and stylish, browse our full collection of hiking pants.

Men and Women hiking in DUERS

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