Set between sea and sky, this mountain paradise brings together the best of both.
Winding away from the urban density of downtown Vancouver and through the coastal ranges on the Sea to Sky Highway, it only takes about an hour to reach this mountain town. And it’s truly a world away, something you’ll quickly realize when you look up at the Stawamus Chief massif—a favourite for climbers. Raft through the cold, crashing waters of nearby rivers, kite-board the steady winds at the Squamish Spit, hike to waterfalls, and bike along hundreds of kilometres of trails. When you’re ready to take it easy? Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola for views of the surrounding mountains, all the way out to Howe Sound on the Pacific.
Here, the falls are the star of the show. Walk a 350-metre trail along Shannon Creek, through Douglas firs, western red cedars, and western hemlocks, to a viewing platform overlooking the falls, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife.
Encompassing more than 1,800 square kilometres and abutting the east side of Highway 99 between Squamish and Whistler, this massive park is named for the 2,678-metre Mount Garibaldi. You’ll find outdoor pleasures to keep you busy, including hiking along 90 kilometres of trails and swimming at five lakes, plus opportunities for cycling, climbing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Just north of town, you can pick your pace at Alice Lake. Those looking for a challenge can hike one of 10 trails, including the Four Lakes Trail, which traverses a six-kilometre course around all four park lakes. And if you’re just looking for a nice afternoon in the sun, drop your line to fish for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden, or head to one of two beaches to swim the calm waters of Alice Lake to an anchored platform.
This park is all about the soaring peaks, so come for climbing and hiking. If you opt for the latter, lace up your boots and pack good equipment and plenty of stamina—while routes tend to be relatively short, they’re steep. The trail to First Peak, for example, runs only 1.5 kilometres, but involves a 540-metre gain in elevation.
Located in a temperate coastal climate, the summer months here are perfect for camping, with highs rarely reaching the mid-20s, and evenings cooling off quickly, perfect for sweaters and campfires. Spring and fall can be chilly, and winter is very wet—the town is doused by about 2,200 millimetres of rain every year, and most of that falls during the winter months. If you’re coming in the summer, make sure to book ahead, and this is a very popular tourist destination.
Experience the tranquil beauty of the Canadian wilderness when camping near Cheakamus Lake. Surrounded by old-growth forests and snow-capped peaks, the Cheakamus Lake camping experience offers serene hiking trails and opportunities for quiet reflection by the turquoise water's edge.