They 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.