Slhanay Peak Trail
Slhanay Peak is a hidden gem of a hike tucked away in Squamish, British Columbia, about 1 hours drive from Vancouver. Think, the Stawamus Chief Trail, but 10,000 times quieter with less stairs and, in our opinion, much more unique views. If we had to pick between the Chief and Slhanay Peak, Slhanay would win every time! It is one of the best day hikes in Squamish! The views from the top overlook the Chief itself, Squamish and Howe Sound.
The Slhanay Peak Trail or the Slhanay Trail is 8.5km return with an elevation of 650 metres and takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete. The hike is of moderate difficulty. The trail takes you up quite a steep incline through the mossy forest. There are actually 2 different viewpoints along this trail, one halfway up and then the one from the top. I recommend stopping at both to take in the views.
This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about doing the Slhanay Peak Trail including where to park and how to find the trailhead.
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Distance: 8.5km / 5.2 miles
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Elevation: 650m / 2,132 ft
From Vancouver: 1 hour
Dog Friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes, when you first turn off the main road next to the carpark
📍 Where is the Slhanay Peak located?
The Slhanay Peak Trail is located in Squamish British Columbia, not too far from The Chief parking lot, however we don’t recommend parking at the Chief as it is still a bit of a walk from here. Instead, use the directions below to park at the Slhanay Peak Trailhead,
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
How to get to the Trailhead for Slhanay Peak
If you are heading from Vancouver driving towards Whistler, you will need to take the Sea to Sky Highway. About 2km after you drive past The Chief Parking Lot, turn right down Mamquam River Forest Service Road.
You will see a parking lot straight away which is where the toilet is located. Keep driving down the gravel forest service for another 1.7km road using the GPS coordinates in the map below and you will eventually come to the trailhead. You will probably see a few other cars parked here. Park on the side of the road as there is no official carpark here.
There is not a lot of great public transport from Vancouver to Squamish so you would need to transfer quite a few times and then do some extra walking. If you are a BC resident, you can use a car sharing service such as Evo or Modo.
Once you have parked, you will notice a boulder field on the right side of the road as you drove in. The trailhead is just past the boulder field and is easy to miss.
🕐 How Long Does the Slhanay Peak Hike Take?
As long as you don’t take any wrong turns, the entire hike should take you around 3-4 hours which includes some time to chill out at the viewpoint.
The first time we did this hike, we only went to the halfway viewpoint and didn’t get lost at all.
The second time, however, when we went all of the way to the top, we took a right instead of a left at the trail loop intersection (more on this in the trail notes below), and got a little confused. If we didn’t have our GPS with us, I’m not sure we would have found the viewpoint.
I recommend allowing a bit of extra time for this trail, just in case you get a little lost and have to back track.
🥾 How Hard is the Slhanay Peak Trail?
Slhanay Peak is not the hardest hike we have ever done, however, it is extremely steep so you will definitely feel your legs, especially coming back down! Like a lot of hikes in British Columbia, the trail is extremely full of roots and can be quite muddy and slippery so you need to take care to watch your footing.
When we did this trail in February, there was still snow on one section of the trail which made it a little tricky but still doable. If you do this hike during Winter, I recommend bringing along some micro spikes in case the trail is icy.
Overall, I would rate the Slhanay Peak Trail as moderately hard due to the elevation.
🐶 Can Dogs do the Slhanay Peak Trail?
Yes! Dogs are allowed on the Slhanay Peak Trail, on a leash.
🐻 Wildlife in Squamish
On trails in and around Squamish, there is loads of wildlife. There are often black bears, cougars, coyotes, elk and even sometime grizzlys are spotted. Just be vigilant, make lots of noise so that any animals know that you are coming and also make sure you have bear spray with you.
⌚ When is the Best Time to do the Slhanay Peak Trail
You can hike the Slhanay Trail at any time of the year, however if you choose to do so in Winter, you will need to bring along a pair of micro spikes to stop you from slipping as it does snow in Squamish and the trails get very slippery with snow and ice.
Fall and Spring are great times to do the Slhanay Trail as the snow melts on this trail, before the more mountainous, high up trails. These are our favourite times of the year to hike this trail.
Of course Summer is a great time of the year for any hike and with the entire hike being in the forest, you are sheltered from the hot sun until you pop out at each viewpoint so the Slhanay Peak Trail is also great in Summer!
🥾 Hiking Boots or Trial Runners?
Hiking boots and trail runners would both work on this trail. You should just make sure that whatever shoe you decide to wear has enough grip on the bottom because the trail is quite slippery on the way back down.
There are also a lot of roots that you will be hiking over so a shoe with a thick sole will help protect your feet a little better.
I wore my Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry boots on this trail which were excellent!
🚶♀️ The Slhanay Peak Trail
The Slhanay Peak Trail is a figure 8 loop. You will start and finish at the same trailhead and come back the same way towards the end of the trail. You can also do this hike as an out and back. If you would prefer to do it this way, I recommend going left at the intersection so that you can see the halfway lookout.
The Start of the Trail
Once you have found the trailhead, you will hike straight into a thick forest. The trail is easy to follow at first until you reach an intersection. We recommend using the All Trails maps or similar to ensure that you stay on the right trail. Go left here and follow the orange markers up through the forest. The trail climbs quite steeply and becomes a little difficult to navigate but as long as you keep following the markers and have a GPS as a back up, you will be fine.
As you climb up through the forest, you will pass some really impressive looking boulders covered in bright green moss. The forest here is really lush and beautiful.
The Halfway Viewpoint
The first time we did this hike, we only planned to do half the hike as we were told the halfway viewpoint was the most beautiful. It is definitely an amazing viewpoint! It is a great place to stop for a break and a snack if you are going all of the way to the top.
Once you are done enjoying the views at the halfway viewpoint, it is time to keep climbing. You want to look out for a sign pointing to Tony’s Lookout on your right hand side. Tony’s Lookout is the top viewpoint and it is extremely easy to miss.
Once you find the sign, turn right off the main trail and you will find the trail becomes a little bushier and narrower. Very soon after turning off you will find the rock face! Head on up! You will know you have made it to the top viewpoint (Tony’s lookout) if there is a chair facing the view.
Hike Packing List
What you wear and bring hiking in Squamish 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!
- Hiking Boots or Trail Runners – My favourite boots are the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Boots and Dave’s favourite boots are his Scarpa Kailash Plus Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots.
- Hiking Socks – Good hiking socks are important to make your boots as comfortable as possible! Some great hiking socks are the Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Light Cushion Crew and the Darn Tough Hiker Midweight with Cushion Micro Crew socks.
- Micro Spikes – During Winter, you may want to bring along a pair of micro spikes if the trail is icy. We have a pair each in our backpacks on every hike we do in the Winter and they have come in handy more often than not.
- Merino Top / Tee – Merino is a great material to hike in so we use Merino tops to hike. Our favourite Merino tops are from Icebreaker!
- Fleece – My favourite fleece is the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip.
- Puffer Jacket – We love our puffer jackets to keep warm at the beginning of a walk and then once we are at the viewpoint. Dave’s favourite puffer jacket is the Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody and Kerry’s favourites are the Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Hooded Jacket and Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket.
- Rain Jacket – Check the weather before you go, but if there is any rain in the forecast we recommend bringing along raincoats which can also double as a wind breaker.
- Beanie – We never go anywhere in Winter, Spring and Fall without our beanies! Some of our favourites are from Dakine and Eddie Bauer.
- Hiking Poles – if you prefer hiking with poles.
- Safety Items such as a first aid kit, bug spray, sunscreen, headlamps, a navigation device and bear spray.
😉 For a full guide containing all of the things we take hiking, check out our hiking gear guide!
📃 Other Great Hikes in Squamish
The Slhanay Peak Trail is close by to some other really awesome hikes that lead to the most spectacular views! If you are staying in the area, you may as well add another amazing Squamish hike to your list!
Murrin Loop Trail to Quercus Viewpoint
Distance: 1.8km / 1.11 miles | Elevation: 160 metres / 524 ft | Time: 1-1.5 hrs | Level: Easy
The hike to Quercus Viewpoint is one of the most bang for your buck hikes that we have done. That viewpoint is stunning and the hike is super short and easy! If you have time around sunset, Quercus Viewpoint puts on a great show and I couldn’t recommend it more!
Stawamus Chief Hike
Distance: Peak 1: 4km, Peak 2: 5km, Peak 3: 7km | Elevation: Peak 1: 535m, Peak 2: 580m, Peak 3: 627m | Time: 4-6 hours | Level: Hard
The Chief is located right next to Slhanay Peak and you can actually see it from the top of Slhanay Peak! The hike consists of climbing to 3 separate peaks, although you can choose to do as many as you feel like. The majority of the hike is stairs until you reach each granite rockface where you will need to do a little bit of scrambling with the help of ropes and ladders.
The views from the peaks of the Chief are awesome, looking out over Squamish and Howe Sound.
We love that this hike is much less popular than The Chief. It feels like more of a local’s hike than a touristy one which we love about it. If you compare the Slhanay Peak Trail to The Chief, another great thing about it is the lack of stairs which you cannot say the same about the Chief. However, the trail does get extremely confusing at times as there are loads of other trails leading off to different places.
Looking for more outdoor activities to do in Squamish? Check out our guide, Best Things to Do in Squamish!
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