Hiking the Murrin Loop Trail
Murrin Loop Trail to Quercus Viewpoint is one of the easiest hikes we have done near Vancouver and is a perfect spot for a sunset picnic. It is also one of the best trails in Squamish! It is extremely short at only 1.8km, with a little bit of a scramble at the end but not enough to scare us away from going back again and again! The incredible viewpoint looks over Howe Sound with mountains lining each side and the hike is just South of Squamish. The Murrin Loop Trail is located in Murrin Provincial Park and starts at Browning Lake which is a popular spot for picnics and water activities on the lake.
In Summer, the carpark is extremely popular as this is also a popular rock climbing location in Squamish. We recommend getting there early if you are planning on a day hike, or late in the afternoon if you are planning to reach the viewpoint for sunset.
Dogs are allowed on the trail and it is a very popular dog walking spot for locals.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Murrin Loop Trail, Murrin Provincial Park and also give you information on an additional viewpoint that you can hike to called Jurassic Ridge.
Distance: 1.8km loop (2.4km including Jurassic Ridge) Time: 1-1.5hrs Elevation: 160metres From Vancouver: 45mins Dog Friendly: Yes on leash, however prohibited from the main beach and picnic area Toilets: Yes at the carpark
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Where is Murrin Provincial Park
Murrin Provincial Park is a 10 minute drive from Squamish BC and is located along the Sea to Sky Highway. You can actually see the lake from the highway and during Summer, you will see it packed with picnickers and paddleboarders.
How to get to the Murrin Loop Trailhead
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
Driving by car from Vancouver to the Murrin Loop Trail takes about 45mins (55km). The trailhead is located along the Sea to Sky Highway with the carpark directly off the main road. Coming from Vancouver you will turn left to go into the carpark. Parking is free, however the gates are only open from 7am – 11pm. The carpark is also fairly small so fills up quickly in Summer especially on the weekends so we recommend getting there early!
At this point in time, there is no flexible public transport system that runs along the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver. If you don’t own a car, we can recommend using a car sharing service such as Evo or Modo which is something we did quite a lot of when we first arrived in Canada from Australia. You can sign up for Evo here and Modo here.
Finding the Murrin Loop Trailhead from the carpark
Once parked, walk towards the lake. You will go past the pit toilets located in the carpark. These are the only ones so if you need to go, go now. Once you reach the lake, keep walking and follow the natural lake curve around to the left. Eventually, you will come to a signpost. Go right towards the Murrin Loop Trail. From here you will follow the trail markers all the way to the top.
How Hard are the Murrin Loop and Jurassic Ridge Trails
The Murrin Loop Trail is one of the easiest hikes in Squamish and probably the most bang for your buck hike that we have done! The trail is very short with a quite a bit of elevation, however the epic Quercus Viewpoint will make you forget about the uphill pretty quickly. Murrin Loop is an easy – slightly moderate hike.
The hike to the next viewpoint, Jurassic Ridge is not so easy. We would classify the Jurassic Ridge hike as difficult – hard. The reason for this is that there is quite a bit of scrambling involved. A couple of sections even have ropes to help you climb down the rocks. If you are looking for an adventure that will get your heart pumping that much faster, perhaps you should add this viewpoint onto your hike.
Tips for hiking Murrin Loop at sunset
#1 The gates do not stay open all night
The gates to the carpark are open from 7am – 11pm so make sure you plan around these times. Winter shouldn’t be a problem but watch out for the later sunset times in Summer and make sure you leave the viewpoint to head back down with enough time to spare.
#2 Be prepared to hike back in the dark
Hiking in the dark is no joke! Especially when you are hiking in BC. Hiking in BC is hard enough in daylight hours, with the slippery roots and loose rocks but at night time you need to take extra time and be extra careful! We always bring our headlamps with us when hiking at night. We upgraded our headlamps when we moved to Canada and they are great with a few different levels of brightness.
#3 Bring/ wear layers
When we hike we always wear layers. We recommend wearing a Merino hiking shirt, a fleece, an insulated jacket and a windbreaker/raincoat. If you are hiking in Spring, Fall or Winter, we also recommend bringing a beanie with you.
#4 Let someone know where you are going
As always on any hike, you should let someone know where you are going and what time you plan on being back. Although it’s unlikely that you will have an issue, it’s always good to have this as a back up and peace of mind.
#5 Leave No Trace (LNT)
If you plan on have a sunset picnic up at the viewpoint, make sure you take ALL of your rubbish with you and leave everything else where it belongs. Take only photos! . You can read more on the 7 LNT principles here
Can You Hike the Murrin Loop Trail in Winter?
You can definitely still hike the Murrin Loop during Winter. We did it just last weekend in very early January. The lake was frozen, and we saw a little bit of snow along the trail but only as we got higher towards Jurassic Ridge. If it has snowed recently and you still still want to do this hike, bring along a pair of micro spikes in case it is slippery.
The Murrin Loop Trail Hike
The trail starts out pretty easy but soon changes to a bit of a climb up to the viewpoint through the forest which involves hiking over roots and rocks with some stair-shaped rocks. Soon you will reach a clearing in the forest. Go right and follow the trail up. It gets fairly steep here and you will reach some wooden steps. Luckily, even though this hike is a climb, the fact that it is so short will leave you shocked when you reach the viewpoint.
At the top of your climb, you will reach a junction. Go left towards the huge boulders and up the rockface where you will reach a wooden bench. Congratulations! You have reached the viewpoint! Keep walking past the bench to the end of the rockface and you will arrive at the most spectacular view of Howe Sound. This viewpoint is Quercus Viewpoint.
Once you have finished enjoying the view, walk back down the rockface to the junction, where you will continue on in the opposite direction. This section of the loop trail involves a wooden bridge and a decent down some stairs. Soon you will come to a junction.
Go right and continue walking through the forest until you come to the wooden bridge. Before long, you will reach another viewpoint with another bench. Next you will come to the stairs and the trail will come to another junction. At this junction you need to go left back towards the lake and onto the carpark.
Hiking to Jurassic Ridge
Murrin Provincial Park has lots of different trails, some lead to some awesome rock-climbing spots and some to beautiful viewpoints. The trail to Quercus viewpoint is the easiest trail to (in our opinion) the best viewpoint, but recently we decided to check out one of the other viewpoints, Jurassic Ridge.
The hike to Jurassic Ridge adds on 0.6km, making the total hike a 2.4km loop.
To get to Jurassic Ridge, first you will need to take the loop trail all the way to Quercus viewpoint. Then, Instead of climbing up the granite boulders to your left to get to Quercus viewpoint, you will need to continue on the trail. Soon you will find an intersection with a sign telling you to turn right to hike up to get to Jurassic Ridge. We have to admit, when we did this part of the trail, we thought Jurassic Ridge would literally just be around the next corner but it was a bit further than we thought. The right-hand-side picture above shows the section of the trail where we thought the hike had ended. Here you will need to go right scramble down the rocks and look for more markers.
The hike from Quercus Viewpoint to Jurassic Ridge starts out easy and get harder and harder. After you reach the viewpoint, to continue the loop, you will have to climb down a rope section down one of the granite rockfaces, followed by a few more little scrambles. Just keep following the orange markers around the loop. Once you have found yourself back on the loop trail, keep following the signs back down to the carpark.
Do I Need Bear Spray on this Hike?
If you are hiking in British Columbia, you should have bear spray with you. There are black bears all around Squamish. We have seen them along the sides of the roads during Summer and Dave has seen them on the mountain biking trials. Even in Winter, we carry bear spray with us because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The Murrin Park Loop Trail in our opinion, is one of the easiest hikes near Vancouver along the Sea to Sky. It is a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset with epic views and is one that can be enjoyed again and again!
Jurassic Ridge is quite a bit more effort to get to and whether you like this type of hiking is totally personal preference. I prefer hiking where there is less scrambling and more actually hiking but Dave absolutely loves the added adventure that scrambling brings to the hike. I personally prefer the viewpoint from Quercus Viewpoint but Jurassic Ridge is higher up.
If you love short and easy hikes with insane views, be sure to also check out Quarry Rock Lookout.
You might also enjoy:
- The Most Insane Places to Watch the Sunset in Squamish
- The 12 Best Things to do in Squamish
- The Chief Hike in Squamish – Hike to 3 Epic Peaks
- 11 Best Hikes Near Squamish (including Easy Trails)
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