Tourism and Tours

Squamish British Columbia | A Playground for Adrenaline Seekers

Squamish British Columbia

Squamish is the self-proclaimed ‘adventure capital of Canada’, so you can expect to never be bored in this coastal town. From kitesurfing and hiking to mountain biking and whitewater rafting, Squamish is a great place to visit in the province of British Columbia. Here are 12 things to do during your visit.

Conveniently situated between Whistler and Vancouver, the outdoor recreation capital of Canada is the perfect spot for active families. Get your bearings on the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, where misty views of the Howe Sound and Coast Mountains will set your Instagram feed on fire.

Amp up your adventure with a float down the river and count how many bald eagles you see. And don’t forget to put the Britannia Mine Museum on your trip to-do list. Here you can pan for real gold, have a multi-sensory experience with BOOM! and rumble underground on a mine train. At the end of the day, disconnect at Sunwolf Resort, a rustic hideaway with cosy riverside cabins (and no TV).

Things to do in Squamish British Columbia

Of course, the journey is great, but when you get to the world-class destination of Squamish there are a lot of things to see and do. In the past we’ve simply driven through Squamish, but while on a road trip around British Columbia, we finally spent a few days in Squamish and wondered, Why hadn’t we done this sooner? We compiled a list of 15 amazing things to do in Squamish BC. Let’s get into it.

  • Scenic Flight and Float Plane Landing

By far one of our favourite things to do in Squamish was to get up in the Air. Scenic flights are always amazing, but Sea-to-Sky Air does it with a twist. We not only went up in the sky, we also landed on Howe Sound where we drove along the water in search of whales. Our pilot David was an excellent guide showing us the scenery and historic sites.

A cool thing we learned from the sky is that renowned Canadian environmentalist, David Suzuki runs Camp Suzuki at Gambier Island to learn about Howe Sounds rich history. It was once a waste dump of toxi waters, but today it is thriving and clean with waters filled with an abundance of wildlife. It’s amazing how the area has been cleaned up in a short time.  We also got to enjoy bird’s-eye views of the Stawamus Chief, a 702 metre (2,303 foot) granite cliff that attracts top climbers from around the world.

  • Britannia Mine Museum

It’s a mix between a haunted train ride and a visit to the science fair and it is so much fun for all ages. The Britannia Mine Museum takes you back to the British Colombia of yesteryear when it was home to the largest copper mine in Canada. The Britannia Mines in Howe Sound is a national historic site. The Britannia Mines Concentrator processed copper ore starting in 1905 up until 1974.

  • Sea to Sky Gondola

Sky Gondola in advance with free cancellation within 24 hours of entry should something come up. Once you get to the top of the gondola you can test your nerves by crossing the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. If you’re looking for something a little tamer you can try out the walking trails. If you’re feeling peckish you can visit the Summit Lodge for local British Columbia fare.

  • Rock Climbing

Usually, when you want to go for an authentic rock climbing adventure you’ve got to hike pretty far out of city limits, but not in Squamish, British Columbia. Among rock climbers, it’s renowned for its accessible crags as their just minutes outside of downtown Squamish.

The most famous rock to climb in Squamish has got to be Stawamus Chief. Stawamus Chief is one of Squamish’s top attractions and is over 2200 feet high and you don’t have to be an expert to climb it. There are areas that are for experts only of course, but some areas are open to novices too. You can also rock climb in the Smoke Bluffs as well as Murrin Provincial Park.

  • Mountain Biking

You could call Squamish the outdoor adventures capital of the world and no one would bat an eye. There are hundreds of mountain biking trails and that means it doesn’t matter what level of a mountain biker you are, you can find the trail right for you. There are dirt jumps and pumps as well as skills tracks and near-vertical rock face climbs for the more adventurous.

With Squamish’s unique location in British Columbia, no matter which way you ride, you’re going to be dealt a beautiful hand in nature viewing. You can do cross country rides in the estuary or death-defying stunts on the slabs. Whatever you do, remember to keep that bike helmet on at all times.

Squamish is known for its slabs by mountain bikers around the world, but for even the less-seasoned, the mountain biking scene is inspirational and inclusive.

  • Four Lakes Trail

The Four Lakes Trail in British Columbia is a 4-mile loop adventure with a 479 feet elevation gain. It’s considered an easy hike. The trail sits in Alice Lake Provincial Park, which is also quite a popular campground. The park is on the north side of Squamish on Highway 99 and you can reach the Four Lakes Trail from the Stump Lake parking lot or from Alice Lake.

If you start from the parking lot then the first thing you’re going to see is little Stump Lake. Once you continue past Stump Lake, you’re officially on the Four Lakes Trail. On the trail, you’re going to see meandering creeks, and the other three lakes – Fawn Lake, Edith Lake, and Alice Lake to make up the Four Lakes.

  • Upper Shannon Falls Trail

It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in British Columbia, Shannon Falls is made up of striking cliffs that are an adventure on their own. The headwaters of the falls come from Mount Sky Pilot and Mount Habrich. Hiking the Upper Shannon Falls Trail is one of the best things to do in Squamish to truly appreciate nature and the surrounding mountains.

The trail is a 10.1-mile trek and is considered one of the more strenuous hikes but makes for one of the most fun day trips. You have an elevation change of 3067 feet. The trail sits in Shannon Falls Provincial Park on Highway 99. The trailhead can be found at the Shannon Falls parking areas.

  • Howe Sound Brewing 

For authentic craft beer and authentic views to match, you’ve got to head to Howe Sound Brewing. They’ve got ale, lagers, and stouts including their famous Garibaldi Honey Blond and Hopraiser West Coast IPA.

The Howe Sound food choices include everything from Ale and Cheddar Soup to the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich and Fried NY Cheesecake as well as a bunch of vegan options like the Impossible Burger. As you drink and nosh away, you can check out the stunning views of the granite monolith called Stawamus Chief.

If all of that tuckers you out, they’ve got an inn that will show you old-fashioned Squamish BC hospitality.

  • Elaho River

The Elaho River and Squamish River are known for stellar class 3 and 4 rapids. So if you’re a fan of whitewater rafting, this is when you’re going to want to visit. Not only can you raft, but you will also likely see all sorts of wildlife like bears, deer, and bald eagles.

  • Farmers Market

Every Saturday from 10 am – 3 pm, you can experience what it’s really like to be a local in Squamish BC. You can do that by visiting the farmer’s market in downtown Squamish. So what are you going to find at this farmer’s market? Well, how about homemade sauerkraut and kimchi or ethically harvested honey and macrame of coastal rainforests.

The artisans that present their wares at this British Columbia farmer’s market bring all that it means to live in Squamish. You might not live there, but you can certainly take a piece of the wild Squamish life home with you.

  • Windsurfing and Kiteboarding
  • Trail System
  • Brohm Lake Cliff Jumping
  • Bald Eagles
  • Squamish Valley Campground

How to Get to Squamish British Columbia

You can take the British Columbia Sea to Sky Highway, also known as Highway 99, to get to the Squamish area. It is a 254-mile trip but there are a lot of things to see along the way like a stop in Whistler so it can take 3 hours or a lot longer depending on how often you stop.

For travel in British Columbia, we highly recommend renting a car. Things are very spread out. You can compare rental prices at CarRentals.com and pick your car up directly at the Vancouver International Airport and be ready to hit the road. Download this self drive audio tour for just $5 (CAD) showcasing the highlights on the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler.

Alternatively, you can take a flight from the biggest airport in British Columbia, the Vancouver International Airport, to Squamish Municipal Airport. You can also take a ferry from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay which will land you about 40 minutes from Squamish and from there you will need to take a bus, taxi or rent a car.

Best Time to Visit Squamish British Columbia

The best time to visit Squamish is in the spring-summer months if you want to have a chance to do all the things in Squamish that involve the outdoors. We visited during autumn and it was beautiful. But make sure to check when activities close. Both Squamish and Whistler shut down for a short window to prepare for the winter ski season. For a family-friendly adventure, the optimal times would be between June and October.

Where to Stay in Squamish British Columbia

There are many places to stay overnight in Squamish. We stayed at the amazing Sunwolf Riverside Lodge located directly on the river with our own private cabin, fireplace and thanks to the Squamish River’s stock of salmon, eagles soaring overhead.

Other picks for where to stay in Squamish are Executive Suites Hotel and Resort Squamish where you are just minutes away from Alice Lake Provincial Park. You can lounge by the pool, enjoy terrace views of the mountains and sit in luxury among the ruggedness of the British Columbia terrain.

There are plenty of places to eat in Squamish and a top pick is the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company where you get to mingle with locals while enjoying stunning views of the area such as Stawamus Chief while noshing on local fare. For a great dinner head to the  Salted Vine the executive Chef Jeff Park recently moved from the famous Araxi Restaurant in Whistler to open his own and it doesn’t disappoint.

What is there to do in downtown Squamish British Columbia

There are a ton of things to do in Squamish downtown. You can mountain bike on nearby trails from there. In fact, if you want to mountain bike, but don’t want to hit the most difficult trails in all of British Columbia then stick to the trails closer to downtown. Besides that, there are cute shops to visit and restaurants where you can sample mouthwatering Pacific squid and Waygu beef too.

What is there to do in Squamish British Columbia for free?

British Columbia and specifically Squamish are known for the outdoors. The outdoors are free for the most part. You can take any public trail and go for a walk or hike and see waterfalls and rivers and lakes and mountains.

What is Squamish British Columbia known for?

Squamish is known for its outdoor activities as there are hundreds of biking and hiking trails that weave in and around the city. It’s also known as one of the best destinations in British Columbia for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

One of the popular landmarks in Squamish, Canada is Stawamus Chief. It is known as one of the stunning granite forms in all of Canada. It’s just a few hours drive from Vancouver and can easily be reached by air from anywhere in Canada.

What is good in Squamish British Columbia?

All of the adventure trails are amazing in Squamish. They have traditional Canadian trails you can do with the whole family and other treks that are just for experts only. The trails are well-marked and the people are friendly. No matter where you go, you’re not going to get lost and if you feel slightly turned around, there will be a friendly face to help you get back on track.

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