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Where
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Squamish, British Columbia

Squamish has 21, 000 residents and is located on the Sea to Sky Highway #99 from Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay  (45 km to the south) north to Whistler (60 km to the north), and continuing up to Pemberton, Lilloeet, and Cache Creek on the Main Trans-Canada Route.

The town is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountain Range, providing residents and visitors access to diverse natural environments.   The town is named for the Skwxwúmesh First Nation that lived in the area.  Today, there are nine Indian Reserves that are wholly or partly within the District of Squamish. Together these Squamish Nation reserves represent approximately 4% of the total land area of the municipality.

Squamish is located at the very northern end of Howe Sound, and has  stunning natural surroundings which beckon outdoor recreation  such as hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and water sports, and of course, tourism.  The iconic Stawamus Chief Mountain, a massive granite monolith popular with rock climbers, and Shannon Falls are just south of town. The Sea-to-Sky Gondola, also just south of Squamish, takes visitors on a scenic ride up the mountainside, with panoramic views of Howe Sound, the surrounding peaks, and gives access to hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and a suspension bridge.

There are some steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks forming the cliff, and all those climbing to the top (702 m / 2303 ft) are rewarded with great panoramic views of Howe Sound. There are over 1200 rock climbing routes in the Squamish area, plus 300 more on the road to Whistler. In recent years, Squamish is also popular with mountain bikers, with 600 trails around the town. Other recreations in and around town are golfing, river-rafting, wind surfing and kite surfing; snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, and birdwatching (Brackendale has one of North America’s largest populations of bald eagles).

Squamish History

The Squamish area was inhabited by the Coast Salish Indigenous peoples, specifically the Squamish Nation who have lived here for  thousands of years.

In the 1800s, European fur traders and explorers arrived in the area (including Russians, Spaniards, and British). The Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post near present-day Squamish, contributing to the development of trade and interactions with the area’s Indigenous peoples.

The late 1800s saw the rise of logging and forestry as significant industries in Squamish, exploiting the abundant timber resources in the surrounding forests.

The construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway from 1912-1918 was a key factor in Squamish’s growth. The railway connected the port at Squamish to Lillooet, Quesnel,  and Prince George, and made the northern forests, the Caribboo gold fields, and  the Cariboo ranchlands of the the BC interior. The railway facilitated the transport of resources like timber, cattle, and minerals, and helped connect Squamish to larger economic centers. The PGE was acquired by the provincial government in 1918. Over time, the government extended the route to Prince George in 1952, and from Squamish south to North Vancouver in 1956. In 1972, the PGE was renamed the British Columbia Railway. The provincial government sold BCR to Canadian National Railway in 2004.

After World War II, Squamish continued to evolve. The forestry industry remained important, and the town served as a transportation hub. The Sea-to-Sky Highway, which passes through Squamish, was expanded (twinned) for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics for the skiing, slidingm, and jumping venues located in Whistler.

Squamish Attractions

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Squamish, BC
604-986-9371
Website

A prominent granite mountain offering challenging hiking trails and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Stawamus Chief Park protects the 700-metre, awe-inspiring granite cliffs that stand at the southern entrance to Squamish on the scenic Sea to Sky Highway.

The park provides rock-climbing opportunities of international significance. Hiking trails to The Chief’s three summits offer rewarding views of Howe Sound, Squamish town, and the surrounding mountains. This park also offers camping opportunities.

Sea-to-Sky Gondola

PO Box 2389, 36800 Highway 99, Squamish, BC V8B 0B6
604-892-2550 or toll-free: 1-855-732-8675
Website

A scenic gondola ride that takes visitors to the top of a mountain, providing stunning views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains.

 

Shannon Falls Provincial Park

604-986-9371
Website

Home to Shannon Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in British Columbia, with hiking trails and picnic areas. It is a popular day-use park (established in 1984)  offering picnicking, hiking, and access to the well-known trail in Stawamus Chief Park.

The tumbling waters of Shannon Falls originate from Mount Habrich and Mount Sky Pilot. They rise 335 m above Highway 99, making this the third highest falls in British Columbia (ranking behind 481 m Della Falls in Strathcona Park and 396 m Hunlen Falls in Tweedsmuir Park).

Squamish Spit

Spit Road, Squamish, BC

A popular spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

Squamish Adventure Centre

38551 Loggers Lane, Squamish, BC
(604) 815-4994
Website

A visitor information center providing resources and information about outdoor activities, attractions, and events in the Squamish area.

Britannia Mine Museum

1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach, BC
604-896-2233 and tol-free 1-800-896-4044
Website

A museum housed in the historic Britannia Mine buildings, showcasing the region’s mining history and featuring interactive exhibits. Guided underground tours to self-led exploration of the social history of Britannia Beach. The 10-acre site is itself an exhibit providing unique access to an important piece of Canadian history.

West Coast Railway Heritage Park

39645 Government Road, Squamish, BC
604-898-9336
website

A railway museum featuring a collection of vintage trains and railway artifacts, offering a glimpse into Canada’s railway history.

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC
1-866-441-SLCC (7522)
Website

A cultural center highlighting the art, history, and traditions of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, including exhibits, art galleries, and guided tours.

Alice Lake Provincial Park

BC-99, Squamish, BC V0N 1H0
604-986-9371
Website

A popular outdoor destination with hiking and biking trails, camping facilities, and a picturesque lake for swimming and water activities. Alice Lake is a popular family park surrounded by towering mountains, dense forests, and grassy areas. Four freshwater lakes dominate the landscape, making this a great park for swimming and fishing. There is an easy trail around Alice Lake, a more challenging Four Lakes Trail, and the DeBeck’s Hill Trail, offers excellent views of the Squamish River and the Tantalus Range.

Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park

Exit the Sea to Sky Highway at Garibaldi Way and head north on Government Road to the viewing area
Website

Aa 755-hectare park located along the west side of the Squamish River, known for its large population of bald eagles, especially during the winter months. The park offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and hiking. Brackendale Eagles Park lies in the Squamish River watershed, within the rugged terrain of the Coast mountains. As the Squamish River drains through the Pacific Ranges to the coast it has carved a deep low-level valley.

The Squamish River Valley has long been recognized as one of the most significant areas of wintering bald eagles in North America. In the 1994 winter eagle count, Squamish had the world record count of 3,769 eagles.

Tantalus Lookout

Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish, BC, Canada.

A scenic viewpoint along the Sea-to-Sky Highway offering breathtaking views of the Tantalus Mountain Range and the surrounding landscape. Thre is an 8km hike around the lake and the Viewpoint (expect 3-3.5 hrs). You also pass the Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest.

Squamish Valley Golf & Country Club

2458 Mamquam Road, Squamish, BC
Website

A golf course surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, providing an enjoyable and challenging experience for golf enthusiasts.

Smoke Bluffs Park

On Highway 99 just opposite downtown Squamish on the east side of the highway.
Turn at the lights at the intersection of Highway 99 and Cleveland Avenue and park just opposite of the Adventure Centre. The Park entrance is located 500m north of the Adventure Centre on Logger’s Lane.

Website

A popular rock climbing area with a network of trails, offering not only climbing opportunities but also scenic views of the surrounding forest. A haven for rock climbers, with over 400 granite climbing routes on various cliffs and bluffs dotting the park, the Bluffs are also home to one of the great, short hikes in Squamish.

Garibaldi Provincial Park

Five park access points along Highway 99 (the Sea to Sky Highway) between Squamish and Pemberton.
1-800-689-9025
Website

A vast wilderness park with hiking trails, alpine lakes, and stunning mountain scenery. Popular hikes include Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk. The towering 2,678 m peak of Mount Garibaldi is the park’s centrepiece. Offering over 90 km of established hiking trails, Garibaldi Park is a favourite year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Squamish Estuary

A natural estuary area with walking trails, birdwatching opportunities, and a chance to explore the diverse ecosystem where the Squamish River meets the ocean.

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Squamish, BC Area Map