Why Squamish, BC Is an Outdoor-Lover’s Paradise

©istockphoto/ HABesenThey don’t call it the Out­door Recre­ation­al Cap­i­tal of Cana­da for noth­ing!

Squamish, British Colum­bia is nes­tled between two world-renowned destinations—the city of Van­cou­ver to the south and the moun­tain resort town of Whistler to the north—but it’s a wor­thy des­ti­na­tion in its own right, espe­cial­ly for those who love all things out­doors.

With the ocean and moun­tains with­in a stone’s throw, the oppor­tu­ni­ty for out­door adven­ture in Squamish is prac­ti­cal­ly end­less. Here are sev­en rea­sons that Squamish will get any outdoor-lover’s heart flut­ter­ing.

Rock Climb­ing
Men­tion Squamish to a rock climb­ing enthu­si­ast, and there’s a good chance they may start sali­vat­ing.

Squamish, with its extreme­ly acces­si­ble gran­ite cliffs and bluffs, is a world-famous des­ti­na­tion for rock climb­ing. The crown jew­el is the gran­ite mono­lith known as the Stawa­mus Chief, tow­er­ing over the town and offer­ing fan­tas­tic views of Howe Sound. You can’t miss it from the Sea to Sky high­way; keep your eyes open for the small dots (that would be climbers) scal­ing up the face.

Moun­tain Bik­ing
With its mild cli­mate, Squamish’s many mean­der­ing moun­tain bik­ing trails are most­ly clear through­out the entire year. The trails are prac­ti­cal­ly end­less, and there are options for all lev­els of moun­tain bik­ers, although with the pres­ence of the moun­tains, expect a few leg-burn­ing climbs through mag­nif­i­cent old-growth rain­forests.

Ski­ing
Squamish may not be the ski­ing mec­ca that is Whistler (at least not yet; a ski resort for Squamish is in the ear­ly stages of plan­ning), but back­coun­try enthu­si­asts know that there are plen­ty of epic pow­der stash­es to be found in Squamish. If you’re will­ing to hike for it, there is some excel­lent ski­ing and split­board­ing to be enjoyed in near­by moun­tains, you just have to know where to look.

©istockphoto/kongxinzhu

Hik­ing
The best part about hik­ing in Squamish is that you’re typ­i­cal­ly reward­ed with some mind-blow­ing views. Steep climbs up the local moun­tains almost always result in epic vis­tas up top (save for a fog­gy day, but those views can be eeri­ly cool too). Trails are easy to get to, espe­cial­ly if you head up the Sea to Sky Gon­do­la, which offers access to a huge vari­ety of ter­rain and has options for var­i­ous hik­ing abil­i­ty lev­els.

Trail Run­ning
Squamish’s trails aren’t just for hik­ing and moun­tain bik­ing; just slip on a pair of trail run­ning shoes, and you’ll get to expe­ri­ence the local trails in a whole new way. The trail run­ning com­mu­ni­ty is con­tin­u­ous­ly grow­ing, and local races (includ­ing the Loop the Lakes Trail Run and the Sea to Sky Scram­ble Trail Run) offer the per­fect chal­lenge for locals and vis­i­tors alike.

Wind Surf­ing
What do you get when you mix the Pacif­ic Ocean with some seri­ous wind? You get the ulti­mate des­ti­na­tion for wind­surf­ing. Nature has craft­ed the per­fect con­di­tions for wind­surf­ing enthu­si­asts, and Squamish has recent­ly announced that it will be expand­ing its water­front to accom­mo­date two new wind­surf­ing beach­es. The best just keeps get­ting bet­ter.

Kayak­ing
Howe Sound offers some incred­i­ble sea kayak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, not to men­tion some killer views and plen­ty of wildlife spot­ting poten­tial (think bald eagles, seals, por­pois­es and the occa­sion­al whale). The new Sea to Sky Marine Trail includes wilder­ness camp­sites scat­tered around the coasts and var­i­ous islands of Howe Sound; sim­ply hop in your kayak and choose your own route for a killer kayak­ing trip.