Everything You Need to Know About the Shannon Falls Pools Trail
If you have ever explored the Sea to Sky Highway, then you have probably seen the epic Shannon Falls either from the car or from the viewpoint that you can walk to from the parking lot.
Shannon Falls is one of the best waterfalls to visit near Vancouver and is a quick stop along the Sea to Sky Highway near Squamish. Hundreds of tourists visit Shannon Falls every day by taking the short 5 minute trail up to the viewpoint, however, did you know that you can also hike up above the falls to hang out at the pools with absolutely insane views of Howe Sound.
This spot is a popular spot amongst locals and one of the best things to do from Vancouver on a hot day!
This guide will tell you everything you need to know to reach the pools, including how much climbing is involved in the hike (because there is a bit of scrambling and ropes involved), how much time you will need and some extra tips to make your adventure day the best it can be!
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📑 Hike Stats
Distance: 2.4km / 1.5 miles return
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Elevation: 243m / 797ft
Dog Friendly: No, as it is a pretty steep scramble to the pools
Toilets: Yes, next to the parking lot and at the Shannon Falls picnic area
📍 Where is Shannon Falls
Shannon Falls is located along the Sea to Sky Highway in Squamish. From Vancouver, it is about 50 minutes – 1 hour drive to the Shannon Falls parking lot.
Where to Park for the Shannon Falls Pools Trail
Shannon Falls has its own designated free parking lot, however on the weekend it is ALWAYS full. Luckily, because the walk to the classic viewpoint is super short, most people will only take around 15-20 minutes to check out Shannon Falls before heading back to their car.
If the Shannon Falls parking lot is full when you arrive, don’t worry and just be patient, someone is bound to leave soon.
ℹ Shannon Fall FAQs
How Tall is Shannon Falls
Shannon Falls is 335 metres (1,105 feet) tall and is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia!
How Long is the Hike to the Lower Viewpoint
The classic Shannon Falls Viewpoint is only 1km return from the parking lot. It is a great viewpoint for the whole family and a great place to stop on the way to Whistler. This trail to the lower viewpoint is also accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
What Movies or TV shows has Shannon Falls been in
Shannon Falls is beautiful and so has been used in quite a few movies and t.v shows such as Virgin River, Elektra, MacGyver, Supernatural and more!
Do I Need a Pass to Visit Shannon Falls
There are currently no passes or permits required to park or visit Shannon Falls. Parking is also free.
🚸 How to Find the Trailhead to the Shannon Falls Pools Trail
The trailhead is not all that easy to find. From the parking lot, you will need to backtrack down the road towards the Sea to Sky highway (make sure you use the pedestrian path on the right hand side).
Before you get to the main highway, cross the road to where the forest meets the road and look for a small opening in the trees where you will find a trail. It is a little hidden and not sign posted so you will need to look for it.
When you first find the small opening in the trees, it may look like bush bashing, however, once you walk through it the trail opens up a lot more.
🥾 How Hard is the Hike to the Shannon Falls Pools
Although the hike to the Shannon Falls Pools is extremely short, it is also really steep and a lot of the trail involves climbing up boulders using the ropes provided.
This trail can be described as quite technical in nature and if you are not used to scrambling using your hands, you might find it hard.
I would describe the Shannon Falls Pools Trail as hard in difficulty due to its steepness and the rope sections.
I don’t recommend doing this hike with small kids or infants.
🐶 Can dogs do the Shannon Falls Pools Trail
Dogs are allowed on the trail on a leash, however, they may struggle due to the steep elevation.
Depending on your dogs ability, you may find this trail hard to do with a dog, as in some sections you might need to help them up the steep boulders.
🏊♀️ Can You Swim in the Shannon Falls Pools
You can swim in the pools above Shannon Falls, however, do so at your own risk as it is a dangerous spot and people have died there in the past. The rocks are extremely slippery so you can easily be swept up over the falls.
The water is EXTREMELY COLD so you won’t be in for long but it is a great way to cool down during a hot day.
I had a dip in the water in the lower pool. It was quite hard to get to the lower pool as you had to cross a small section of the falls but this meant that there were not many people there and we had the pool to ourselves.
⌚ Shannon Falls Pools Trail Hiking Time
The Shannon Falls Pools Trail will take you around 1.5-2 hours return. This will greatly depend on your hiking ability as well as your ability to scramble up boulders using the ropes.
There are no facilities along the actual trail, unless you count the ropes to help you climb the steep sections.
There is a pit toilet next to the parking lot and there are other bathroom facilities in the picnic area. In the Shannon Falls picnic area, you will also find picnic tables.
🌲 Leave No Trace
Whenever you are enjoying the beautiful nature that our world has to offer, remember to leave no trace (LNT)! Respect the beautiful places that make our world beautiful and take out everything that you take in, take only photos and respect the wildlife and other people. You can read more on the 7 LNT principles here.
🥾 The Shannon Falls Pools Hiking Trail
The Rope Sections
The trail starts out easy and quite flat, with a slight incline. Before not too long, however, you will start to notice the increase in the amount of roots that you will be hiking over.
Soon, you will come to your first rope section. This climb takes you up between two boulders and is quite awkward to walk between as it is such a small path between them and is covered in slippery roots.
This is then followed by a few more “rope” sections where you will need to climb up steep boulders.
Follow the markers and continue straight
Make sure you follow the markers the entire way as there is one section that you will come to on your left after all of the climbing is done, which is a super steep climb up a rockface with a rope that you don’t need to do.
If you enjoy climbing, take this route to continue climbing up to the trail, otherwise, you can continue hiking straight ahead which will take you a slightly longer but easier way. Both of these routes eventually lead to the same place.
Roots and more elevation
After this section, you are clear of all of the rope sections and can enjoy the hiking aspect of the trail. The trail will continue leading up, with lots of roots and smaller boulders to navigate.
Soon, you will reach the Shannon Falls pools on your left and can hike down the trail to the surrounding rocks.
You might also enjoy:
- 11 Best Hikes Near Squamish (including Easy Trails)
- The Most Insane Places to Watch the Sunset in Squamish
- The 12 Best Things to do in Squamish
- How to Spend One Day in Vancouver
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