Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
We are unbelievably lucky to live on the North Shore within minutes of world class hiking trails and stunning scenery (which I never get tired of) but sometimes it’s great to get a new perspective on, and appreciation for, this beautiful place we call home.
So last weekend we decided to hit one of my other favourite places to hike and explore- the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park about an hour north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway.
Easily identified by the stunning granite cliffs that stand at the southern entrance to Squamish, the Chief has over 300 climbing routes up it’s massive rock face as well as hiking trails up to the 3 summits of the Chief.
So… if you’re looking for a fun, but still challenging, alternative to the Grouse Grind trail, head to the Chief.
We decided to do just the first peak on Sunday, which is like a natural jungle gym for adults. You hike up forest trails, at times alongside a roaring waterfall, up wooden stairs, climb 2 small ladders, and clamber up a small rock gulley with the aid of a chain rope. The reward? A great workout plus some of the most stunning views of Howe Sound, Squamish and the surrounding coastal mountains.
We saw children, adults of all different fitness levels, and dogs make the climb. It is a workout though and as the sign says at the bottom of the trail, “This is not just a walk in the park”! So be prepared with good trail shoes, water, food, and warm clothes, the bare minimum actually to have on hand when doing any outdoor activity.
In the same day you can easily do all three peaks reaching a maximum elevation gain at the third peak of 702 metres (the Grouse Grind elevation gain is 853 metres to give a comparison). All three peaks give you slightly different views and fantastic places to rest, eat, take pictures and relax. We took our lunch to the top and ate overlooking Canada’s recreation capital of Howe Sound and Squamish.
Who needs a fancy restaurant patio when this is at your backdoor?
Go to the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park website at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/stawamus/ for information, maps, camping information, notices, conditions and directions to the parking lot.