Hike the Chief!

Squamish, BC

Peering over the Chief

If you’ve ever driven from Vancouver to Whistler, entering Squamish you will no doubt have been left gaping at  the stunning Stawamus Chief rock ( The Chief, as it’s locally known) towering above you.

No trip on the Sea to Sky Highway (Hwy 99) could be complete without a hike up the Chief, which offers – at the summit – spectacular views of the Squamish Valley, Howe Sound and the nearby peaks of Garibaldi and the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Hemlock and mountain views from the top of Chief in Squamish BC

Stunning view after hiking the Chief in Squamish BC

It’s a steep hike – expect to sweat like a loon – but should only take an average fit person about 2 hours to the top. This is a fool-proof trail and the route is well marked by aluminum signs on trees and red painted arrows on the rocks all the way up. Log steps and guardrails have also been recently updated and constructed all the way up and while there are a few tricky rope assist sections towards the top, it’s well worth it for the view that awaits you.

If it’s a sunny day dining al fresco on top of the rocks is a must.

Overlooking Squamish from top of the Chief

Overlooking Squamish from top of the Chief

I completed all three peaks of The Chief in a day but many choose to do a shorter trip to the South Peak that still offers amazing views of Squamish and its environs.

If you’re in no hurry to leave, make a night of it here as there is an excellent camping spot at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park at the base of the Chief with running water, pit toilets and 62 designated camping spots. Or if you require power and hookups there are several campgrounds nearby. Go to Camping & RVing BC, click on Where to Camp and type in Squamish, BC.

It gets pretty busy in summer time up here, and particularly during school holidays. I was up walking here at 7.30am which was an excellent time with nobody around. By 9am the pedestrian traffic starts to roll, so if you’re one for serenity get up early and enjoy the quite morning views from the top.

Just as the view from a car, at the top you will be left gaping silently at the natural beauty enveloping you.

Published: July 24th, 2013

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by Louise

Louise ditched her day time job as a news reporter in Ireland to go on a six month sabbatical to see the world. The six month extravaganza turned into a six-year adventure spanning 22 countries and all of the continents. Louise had a list comprising every country she wanted to see and adventure to embark on and managed to achieve it- exploring everything from the depths of Antarctica to the mist covered mountains of Japan. She has blown up dynamite in underground mines in Bolivia, hiked the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, ran the New York marathon, been chased by flowing lava down a dodgy mountain in Guatemala, trekked around east Africa, spent three years discovering the beauty of New Zealand and most recently hiked and skied one of Japan’s famous active volcanoes. She is a qualified ski instructor and solo paragliding pilot and is currently (unsuccessfully and with many injuries!) exploring Squamish's biking trails whilst concocting her next big adventure.

2 thoughts on "Hike the Chief!"

Nice article on the Chief – will definitely give it a try this Summer!

alennalang says:

Glad you enjoyed it. Let us know how your hike goes 🙂

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