Stawamus Chief Hike Squamish – A Spectacular Hike Near Vancouver

stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view

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What to do on our first weekend in Vancouver? It was evident that we had to go hiking for at least one day. Luckily we found a group on FB, and rides were offered for the Stawamus Chief hike, so we said yes. It is the most popular of the Squamish hikes. The trailhead is easily reachable from Vancouver by car, and the walk itself is moderate.

Reaching Stawamus Chief Hike

Squamish is an hour’s drive from Vancouver on a highway, so it was good that we didn’t have to sort out our transportation. Although there are buses to Squamish, people considered it ‘no public transport option’ as they go to the city instead of the parking lot where the trail start.

In case you decide on an overnight stay in Squamish, check your options here to explore Stawamus Chief Provincial Park.


stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
I was in love with every tree.

Hiking Info

Transportation time from Vancouver: 1 hour (by car)
Distance: 11 km
Elevation gain: 700 m
Average hiking time: 4-6 hours

Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Squamish

Squamish Chief Hike: The trail

The trail starts from the parking lot, and there is a possibility to camp there on the official camping place. In the parking lot, an overnight stay is forbidden. It was surprising to see prepared camping lots in the forest.

Besides the camping, many bear warning signs were the other new things for us. I have asked my colleagues, and they told me that during this hike, we should not be afraid at all of an encounter as it is a too popular trail, and the bears don’t like the company of hundreds of loud people. This time we didn’t take a bear spray (actually we haven’t bought it yet), but if we go more east or more remote places, we definitely will.

stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
The developed trail: stairs next to the creek. In the afternoon it was crowded!

The trail is well marked and developed. Stairs go on the first part of the hike near the valley of Shannon Creek. Below the Chief peaks, few chains and ladders help to climb up, although you don’t necessarily need them – based on our European hiking experiences.

stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
Hiking Squamish: Chains on the harder part of the trail.

In general, Canadians considered the Chief hike a harder hike. It was a bit amusing after our multi-day trips and hikes in Tatra and other high mountains. Probably the climbers who were climbing the rock walls could share our opinion about the trail’s difficulty.

stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
A group selfie we took at the beginning of the hike.
stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
Walk in the forest.
stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
We are not yet at the peak but worth stopping.
the chief hike squamish views from First Peak to Second Peak.
Hiking the Chief: View from First Peak to Second Peak.

The full trail reaches all three peaks and is about 11 km, with 700 m of elevation gain. The suggested time is 6 hours, but we did it in 4.5 hours, with a lot of lazy resting on each peak. The route on the lower elevations is in the forest. It reaches the rocks around 550-650 meters, so only a bit under the peaks. That was the place for the best views as well.

stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
View to the Howe Sound.
stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
Bird-view 🙂
stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
stawamus chief hike squamish vancouver view
On the First Peak – the Chief hike Squamish.
stawamus chief hike vancouver
On Third Peak.

The sea (Howe Sound) and the snowy mountains were also visible. I liked the third peak the most as it had much fewer tourists on top while Karol preferred the others as they had steeper rocks and better views due to fewer trees around. These kinds of flat stones and a few vertical parts reminded us of a bit to Koli (Finland). Just instead of a lake, we had the sea around.

On the way back, we took the so-called undeveloped trail from the third peak, but it only meant that there were no stairs. And luckily fewer hikers. The first two peaks were full in the afternoon!


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Stawamus Chief Hiking Guide - The best hiking destinations near Vancouver, BC, Canada

Stawamus Chief Hike Vancouver BC Canada | Squamish Hiking Vancouver

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3 thoughts on “Stawamus Chief Hike Squamish – A Spectacular Hike Near Vancouver”

  1. Pingback: Hiking between 2000 years old larch trees in the Cascade Mountains – Our life, our travel

  2. FullSuitcase

    Looks like such a beautiful hike! Love the picture of that First Peak – great view.

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