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11 Best Hikes Near Squamish (including Easy Trails)

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Best Hikes in Squamish

When we first moved to Vancouver, we knew about Whistler, but we didn’t realise just how much time we would spend hiking in and around Squamish! If you haven’t heard of Squamish, you should google it right now because it is a real hidden gem when it comes to the outdoors. Squamish is a small town on the way from Vancouver to Whistler.

Squamish is full of incredible day hikes and backpacking trips and makes for the perfect weekend trip from Vancouver if you are into outdoor adventures. As we live in Vancouver, we find ourselves road tripping to Squamish a lot all-year-round. Some of the trails higher up in the mountains get snow covered, however there are many lower down that are accessible all year.

This guide will list 11 of the best hikes in and around Squamish. I will also separate the harder hikes from the easier hikes so that you can start off with the easier ones if you prefer. I know Dave and I always like to start the hiking season off with some of the easier hikes before progressing to the harder, more epic ones.

Couple sitting at Smoke Bluffs viewpoint overlooking Squamish

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Where is Squamish

Squamish is a small town in British Columbia Canada located around a 1 hour drive from Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway. It is the perfect place to stop at on the way to Whistler.

Click here to open the map in Google Maps!

What to Pack When Hiking in Squamish

What you pack will depend on the season. For example, in Winter, you may want to pack gloves and a beanie and some extra layers. If it is Summer, you should also make sure you have some bear spray and bug spray because the bears and bugs will both be out and about!

😉 For a full guide containing all of the things we take hiking, check out our hiking gear guide!

Best Hikes in Squamish

Both Dave and I absolutely love hiking in Squamish! It is such a great area to hike in for all hiking levels. In this list, there are some really short and easy hikes that still have amazing views, there are some harder day hikes and also some overnight hikes.

📌 Looking for more things to do in Squamish? Check out this guide!

Best Easy Hikes in Squamish

Murrin Loop Trail

Distance: 1.8km loop
Elevation: 160metres
Time: 1-1.5hrs
Dog Friendly: Yes on leash, however prohibited from the main beach and picnic area 
Toilets: Yes, in the parking lot

Couple sitting at viewpoint overlooking Howe Sound along Murrin Loop Trail
Quercus Viewpoint at sunset

The Murrin Loop Trail is one of our favourite sunset hikes in Squamish because the trail is nice and short so you don’t have to hike back in the dark for too long. Quercus Viewpoint has incredible views of Howe Sound and Squamish. The viewpoint is a great place to sit for a while and there is even a seat a bit further back from the view!

You can also choose to turn the Murrin Loop Trail into a slightly longer hike by hiking out to Jurassic Ridge. This part of the hike is more challenging with some scramble sections and ropes and turns the trail into 2.4km instead of 1.8km.

Smoke Bluffs Loop

Distance: 2.7km
Elevation: 123m
Time: 50 minutes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes in the parking lot and along the trail.

Smoke Bluffs Squamish at sunrise
Sunrise from Smoke Bluffs

Smoke Bluffs is another great sunrise or sunset spot in Squamish because of how short the hike is. It is also really close to the town so a great quick hike to do if you are staying in Squamish and have some time to spare. The Smoke Bluffs trail takes you up through the forest and there are a couple of little viewpoints that you can stop off at along the way. This is a trail where you really don’t have to go far to get to enjoy a stunning view!

Shannon Falls

Distance: 1km
Elevation: 39m
Time: 15 minutes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes

Girl standing in front of Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls is a gorgeous 335 metre tall waterfall located very close to the Sea to Sky Gondola. It is the 3rd tallest waterfall in British Columbia and is worth stopping at on the way home from Squamish or Whistler to Vancouver. The walk from the parking lot to the waterfall is very short and will take you around 10-15 minutes. The short trail takes you to not only 1 but 2 viewpoints of the falls. Due to the shortness of the trail, we found that the viewpoints got extremely busy so if you want to try to get the falls to yourself, I recommend going on a weekday or early in the morning to beat the crowds.

Panorama Trail

Distance: 1.8km loop
Elevation: 44m
Time: 30 minutes
Dog Friendly: Yes, however the Sea to Sky Gondola’s Pet Policy only allows dogs down on the gondola, meaning that you would have to hike up along the Sea to Summit Trail (more details on this trail below in this guide).
Toilets: Yes

The Panorama Trail is located at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola which you will need to purchase a ticket for.

It is a great loop trail that you can do to see the awesome views of Howe Sound and Squamish from a few different spots along the trail. We had a great time doing this trail with Kerry’s parents when they came to visit. They especially loved the beers and fries that we had outside on the deck looking out to the views after. The Sea to Sky Gondola and the Panorama Trail is a great activity for the whole family!

Best Day Hikes in Squamish

The Chief

Distance: Peak 1: 4km, Peak 2: 5km, Peak 3: 7km return
Elevation: Peak 1: 535m, Peak 2: 580m, Peak 3: 627m
Time: 4-6 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, but make note that the trail includes ladders and chains
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead

The Chief in Squamish
View of the second Peak from the first Peak

The Stawamus Chief Hike is Squamish’s most popular and famous hike. It is Squamish’s version of the Grouse Grind but with incredible views from the top! In other words, there are a lot of stairs! You can choose to hike to all 3 peaks or just the first peak. The Chief is also a really popular spot for rock climbers. While we were chilling out at the top of the First Peak, we saw a few rock climbers reaching the top! Absolutely insane if you ask me! 😆

Slhanay Peak

Distance: 8.5km return
Elevation: 650m
Time: 3.5 – 4 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes, when you first turn off the main road next to the carpark

Man sitting on cliff on the edge of Slhanay Peak in Squamish
Can you spot Dave?

This was the first hike we did in Squamish and it is an epic one! The first time we did the Slhanay Peak trail, we only made it to the first lookout because we had heard that it was the better lookout but we have now also hiked to the top.

Slhanay Peak is steep but such a great alternative to The Chief as it is much less popular and instead of horrible stairs, you will be hiking up a dirt trail with classic BC roots and mud. The trail takes you up through an absolutely stunning mossy green forest to the views overlooking Squamish and out to the Chief.

Sea to Summit Trail

Distance: 7.5km one way
Elevation: 918m
Time: 3.5 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead and the top.

Do you remember how I was saying that if you want to bring your dog up to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola, you will have to hike up with them? The Sea to Summit trail is the one that you will need to take to get to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola. A lot of people choose to hike up and catch the gondola back down. You can purchase a ticket down only if you want to do this and dogs are also allowed down the gondola but not up.

Best Overnight Hikes Near Squamish

Wedgemount Lake

Distance: 12.2km
Elevation: 1,200m
Time: 6-8 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, in the carpark and at the lake
Reserving a campsite: You will need to reserve a campground 4 months out from your booking date on the BC Parks website.

Couple standing at sunset at Wedgemount Lake
Wedgemount Lake at sunset

Wedgemount Lake is an incredible hike that can be done as a backpacking trip or a day hike. I didn’t think I would love Wedgemount Lake as much as I did. Yes, it is an absolute grind, but when we reached the perfectly blue glacial lake surrounded by the mountains, I actually cried a little. We were camping for the night so it was super nice to relax by the lake for the rest of the afternoon after such an exhausting hike.

Before hiking to Wedgemount Lake, you will need to make sure that you are physically and mentally ready. The trail has 1,200m elevation in only 6.1km so it goes literally straight up for almost the entire trail.

Elfin Lakes

Distance: 22km
Elevation: 600m
Time: 6 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, in the parking lot, after the Red Heather Meadows shelter, and near Elfin Lakes. Please note that you will need to bring your own toilet paper.
Reserving a campsite: You will need to book a campsite through BC Parks 4 months in advance.

Elfin Lakes is a popular backpacking trip or day hike located in Garibaldi Provincial Park. We haven’t hiked this trail yet but are hoping to this year! If you want to do Elfin Lakes as a day hike, you will need to reserve a day hiking pass on BC Parks for access to the trail.

Elfin Lakes is also a popular Winter snowshoeing trail. From the photos that I have seen, in any season it looks like it has absolutely stunning scenery!

Watersprite Lake

Distance: 17km
Elevation: 660m
Time: 7 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at the cabin at the lake
Reserving a campsite: You can reserve a campsite at Watersprite Lake 60 days in advance.

Watersprite Lake is another backpacking trip on our 2023 list but it looks like a dream, especially in Summer when you can cool off in the gorgeous, turquoise lake! You can also do Watersprite as a day hike if you prefer.

One thing to be aware of about Watersprite Lake, is that the trailhead is located down a rough 4×4 road which we have read that you need a 4WD for. We only have an SUV so will update you once we try to get down the road this Summer.

Panorama Ridge

Distance: 30km
Elevation: 1,520m
Time: 11 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at several spots along the trail including Taylor Meadows campsite, the Black Tusk junction, and Garibaldi Lake and also at the trailhead in Rubble Creek parking lot.
Reserving a campsite: You will need to reserve a campground 4 months out from your booking date on the BC Parks website.

Panorama Ridge is the most famous and popular backpacking trip in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Panorama Ridge Viewpoint is an awesome ridgeline overlooking Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk and the surrounding mountains. Because you are up so high, Garibaldi Lake is a bright blue colour which is just incredible to see!

We actually missed out on doing this one last year but we are determined to do it this year! So stay tuned for our Panorama Ridge backpacking adventures!

Our Thoughts

Squamish is one of our favourite places to go from Vancouver for a weekend of hiking and camping adventures! Even if we are only wanting to go for a super short hike, we love going to Squamish because it means we can go to one of our favourite Squamish breweries post hike! We absolutely love the Prosciutto & Fig pizza at Backcountry Brewing. 😉

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