During my time in the Pacific Northwest, I was lucky enough to take this roadtrip international! Bella, my beloved Wrangler and I, made a few trips up to Squamish in British Columbia, Canada to visit some friends. Needless to say, we had a blast!
The first thing I did when I arrived was map out all the trails I wanted to hit. There are countless logging trails that are perfect for Jeeping.
Squamish is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada for a reason!! I rockclimbed, hiked, and of course, offroaded to my heart’s content. Squamish is also a great place for kiteboarding, downhilling (mountain biking) and soooo much more.
The Spit is a super cool place where you can catch tons of people kiteboarding and watch the boats come in and out. The Spit is known worldwide as one of the top kiteboarding destinations since it’s so windy here. It’s a great wildlife viewing area as well, especially for bird watching. The Spit is also where freshwater meets saltwater, which creates a unique ecosystem.
The Spit is a great place to catch some killer views of Mount Garibaldi. This iconic stratovolcano ( also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice and ash) is one of the best known landscapes in BC.
There are trails all over Squamish and unlike Oregon or Washington, you don’t need an OHV permit to offroad, you can just go! I had a blast exploring the trail systems out there. You can Jeep through places that look like another world. Everything is so green and covered with moss, and the fog during the springtime is super cool too! Just be prepared for a lot of rain if you come in the spring.
Squamish has been one of my favorite places to rock climb so far. I have always been terrified of heights, which is super ironic that I’m obsessed with outdoor rock climbing. I like to challenge and push myself, especially over the edge to rappel down ?
I was still very much beginner status when I was visiting, and I climbed my first 5.9! This was my first “hard” climb and I conquered it like a champ, if I do say so myself. I got in quite a few gnarly climbs in Canada and can’t wait to go back and hit some more later this year.
Another one of my favorite things to do in Squamish is hike to the top of the “Chief.” The Stawamus Chief Mountain is over 2,000 feet of hiking straight up to the top.
There is not a real “trail” so you’re basically hiking rock over rock to the top. (This picture is one of the more mellow spots). There are quite a few staircases as well but it doesn’t make the hike any easier. It’s a very strenuous hike, but man are the views worth it!!
I’ve been lucky (or crazy) enough to hike the Chief to the top a few times. I’ve started to make a point of doing this every time I’m in Squamish not only for exercise, but because it is such a cool thing to experience. A lot of locals run up and down it daily and time themselves for exercise. If I lived here I would too! Here are a few shots from the hike:
The picture above was taken about half way up to the top. This is a great place to catch your breath and take in the views.
The picture above is at the top of Peak One. You can see the Sea To Sky Highway next to the water for perspective of just how high up this is!
You know I love a good shot! Here I am at the top of the Chief doing what I do best – photographing away!!!
The ladder shown in the picture above is right before you get to the top and the very first peak. There are three peaks you can hit, but this first one is where I got all these epic shots overlooking the water and Sea To Sky Highway. Peak One is definitely my favorite.
The picture above is of the Chief from the ground. The wall you see behind Bella and her twin is where people actually rock climb up the Chief. That’s definitely on my to-do list!
The Pacific Northwest is notorious for massive waterfalls, and Squamish has no shortage of them. When you hike up the Chief, you can get some really cool views of Shannon Falls. This is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia (BC), towering over Squamish at over 1,100 feet up.
The road that brings you into Squamish is also worth noting. The Sea To Sky Highway (Highway 99) is a gorgeous drive! I did it with the top off my Jeep and had a blast! You drive down the coast next to the ocean overlooking massive mountains all around you. This road is beautiful to drive any time of year.
Another stop you’ll want to make on this epic highway is the Sea To Sky Gondola. It will cost you to get to the top but it’s worth every penny. There are multiple trails you can take to various viewpoints and they are all breathtaking.
You will be up higher than the Chief at the Sea To Sky viewpoints, so you can see way past all the water and mountains. I ended up doing this hike after a major snow storm, which is rare for Squamish. Go figure!
I also had the pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve in Squamish and a few friends and I power-toured through the trails to catch one of the best sunsets I’ve seen yet. A few shows have even been filmed at the Sea To Sky Gondola, like Altered Carbon on the Sea To Sky Bridge. This cable bridge lights up with color changing lights at night, so if you make it for sunset, stay a bit to see the magic come to life.
North of Squamish is a very famous snowboarding and skiing resort called Whistler. Tons of pros come to Whistler Blackcomb from all over the world to hit the mountain at one of the largest ski resorts in North America. I’ve visited this area in the winter and summer, and there’s tons of activities to do here year round. The village also has lots of great food, bars, and lodges, plus everyone is super friendly. Squamish isn’t typically snow-friendly, except for rare occasions as I mentioned.
Above you can see the Spit covered in deep snow! This was pretty cool to see since it doesn’t happen often. This snowstorm happened my first time visiting Squamish. Almost all of Canada gets pounded with snow during the wintertime, so I really thought my friends were joking when they said it never snows in Squamish, then we got snowed in. Who is the joke on now?
I’ve visited Squamish quite a few times and there’s always so much more to see in BC. There are sooo many hikes you can go on, the adventures are really unlimited. You can find all kinds of hikes from easy to advanced based on what you’re up for. There are lots of waterfalls you can hike to as well.
In the picture above, I’m standing on the edge of the cliff that overlooks the waterfall. It’s so cool seeing how the water carved its way so far down! The nature in BC is truly incredible.
What are your favorite spots to hit in Canada? Comment below and thanks for reading!