This former logging town is having “a moment”. For years, it was most people’s pit-stop of choice en route to Whistler, but these days people are sticking around for longer. Between its soaring snow-capped mountains, sparkling turquoise lakes and lovely, laid-back downtown, we’re not surprised. If you’re heading up along the Sea to Sky Highway and looking for the best things to do in and around Squamish, we’ve got you covered.
What are the best things to do in and around Squamish?
1. Get a head for heights on the Sea to Sky Gondola
This 10-minute gondola ride soars 885-metres above sea level and offers jaw-dropping views over the Howe Sound and coastal mountains. At the top, the 9,000 sq. ft. Summit Lodge boasts expansive decks offering sweeping views, two restaurants and a wobbly walk over the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. Every Friday night from June to September, you can enjoy the “Mountain Music Series” too. Early birds can also start the day with mountaintop yoga from Monday to Friday.
Or, if you’re feeling active, you could hike up the Sea to Summit Trail and take the gondola down afterwards. There’s a whole network of trails out from the Summit Lodge too, if you haven’t run out of puff yet.
2. Picnic at Shannon Falls Provincial Park
Shannon Falls is British Columbia’s third tallest waterfall – and one of its best looking too. Nestled between towering trees and old-growth stumps, the falls cascade from a staggering 335-metres (1,105-ft) high. Rock climbers hot foot here to take on the steep slab of Local Boys Do Good and the immaculate Klahanie Crack, while hikers can choose from a whole string of scenic hikes. It’s also an excellent spot to stop for a picnic too.
3. Mine for information at the Britania Mine Museum
We would describe this as a rainy day activity, but it’s worth exploring this immersive, multi-sensory, live-action museum on a sunny day too. Just 10 minutes south of Squamish, this 10-acre award-winning museum and National Historic Site tells the story of British Columbia’s mining industry. The mine operated from 1904 to 1974 and was once the largest copper mine in the British Empire. More than 60,000 people have lived and worked here, with fascinating stories to tell.
4. Sip your way around the Squamish Craft Trail
BC is big on beer, and Squamish is no exception. The local tourism board has even created a walkable Craft Tasting Trail, which includes some of the region’s most beloved breweries, cideries and roasters. The trail begins at A-Frame, a blockbuster brewery that serves up full-flavoured beers and ends up at Frostbites Syrup, which specialises in artisan cordials, syrups and shaved ice. Get your hands on a Craft Tasting Trail Passport from the Squamish Adventure Centre and collect stamps along the way. At the end of your tour, you can claim prizes like branded bottle openers and camping mugs, depending on how many stamps you’ve totted up.
5. Hike up Stawamus Chief
Squamish isn’t lacking in eye-popping scenery and world-class hikes, but Stawamus Chief is its most iconic landmark. Towering 2000-ft above Squamish, it’s one of the most talked-about rock climbing and hiking destinations in the whole of North America. There’s a whole host of hiking trails to choose from that finish at the top, as well as multi-pitch crack climbing routes and granite walls.
6. Explore Downtown Squamish
Downtown Squamish has a surprising amount to say for itself. It’s home to an eclectic range of shops selling everything from locally-crafted soaps to snowboard gear. Foodies can head to vibrant restaurants and eateries like the Green Olive Market & Cafe or Sunny Chibas Fried Chicken Mexican Cantina. Over on Cleveland Avenue, there’s the O’Siyam Pavilion, a huge outdoor stage for live music performances, and the beloved Stan Clarke Park. Come summer, the town hosts a dizzying array of events, from the Squamish Arts Festival to the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Parade.
7. Get to know the locals at Squamish Farmer’s Market
Voted one of BC’s Best Farmers’ Markets by The Vancouver Sun, Squamish Farmers Market is the perfect place to get a flavour of this personality-packed town. More than 60 producers and artisans congregate on the corner of Cleveland Avenue every Saturday morning to sell local eggs, cheese, jams, baked goods, textiles, and more. The market runs from the end of April through to early December.