GUYS. We almost died this week. (Not really, but kind of.)
After a few days in North Vancouver and a particularly beautiful afternoon at Porteau Cove, we made it to Squamish! Squamish has lots to offer, both as a stopover on the way through and as a destination in itself (for those locals looking for a staycation). Whether you're into hiking, walking, relaxing, health and wellness, fine dining, craft breweries, wildlife viewing - Squamish has it all!
After hearing some rave reviews of a local hike to Shannon Falls, we headed there late one morning for a leisurely stroll. After finishing that walk, we were feeling quite energetic, so we decided to continue! Without any prep or research, we headed to the trailhead for the Sea to Summit Trail. Turns out.... not planning is NOT good planning! The hike itself is 7.5 km; however, so much of that is STRAIGHT UP that after 1.5 km, we had exhausted our meagre water supply, and we failed to pack ANY snacks. The hike almost killed us, but hey - we made it! And the views both during the hike and at the end make it well worth it. (Just check out the video at the bottom and you'll see!)
Here are our recommendations for the Squamish area:
• Shannon Falls Hike: This is a short, 10 minute hike along mildly sloping, paved roads to the base of a large waterfall. Be aware - the waterfall has LOTS of spray, so make sure to wear something you don't mind getting damp!
• Sea to Summit Trail: One of the funnest and most challenging hikes we've done in Canada! It is only 7.5 km to the top, but it is quite advanced - in some areas, you're required to hoist your body up sheer boulders using ropes or chains. The hike itself is gorgeous, and very, very rewarding. Once you get to the top, there is a restaurant and suspension bridge joining several leisurely strolls that traverse the peak. For those who want to enjoy the summit without the sweat, there is a gondola that can take the 4 hour hike and turn it into a 10 minute ride! (Also, we'd recommend taking the gondola down - the way down is quite precarious, as you'll see when you hike it!)
• Estuary Trail: This flat, 3 km loop crosses the Squamish river delta as it joins the saltwater inlet. This brackish water is an ideal habitat for many plant and animal species; it wouldn't be surprising to see a few bald eagles, lots of flowering shrubs, and some stunning views of the inlet! The walk is surrounded by the towering, sheer cliffs of the Squamish mountains, which are bursting with waterfalls.
• Howe Sound Brewery: With easy parking nearby at the marina, and a sunny, private patio, this spot is a great place to grab a brew and a bite! We recommend the wild mushroom pizza - it is HUGE and very tasty. We loved the Honey Ale and Oatmeal Stout, as well as the blueberry wheat ale. Bring a book and make an afternoon of it!
Stay the night at the Squamish Valley Campground, and head out in the morning!
So, without further ado, enjoy Episode 1 of Happy Holidays Hits the Road! (Make sure to watch all the way to the end, when you'll get to see how Norman REALLY felt after the hike!