To write a detailed post on all of the outdoor rec activities Squamish has to offer would be more akin to writing a book. With that in mind, I thought the best way to tackle the great outdoors of the Sea to Sky corridor would be to divide and conquer- with conquer here meaning to add lots and lots of links. Let us begin in alphabetical order; the list is long, so scroll down!
Not everyone has the same views on camping. Some of us love to hike through the woods bringing only what we can carry, while others love to load up the car and roll on in to pre-set campsite. Squamish and the Sea to Sky corridor offer the best of both camping worlds with car camp locations that vary from campgrounds to logging road lakes, and beautiful Provincial Parks that offer a more rugged adventure. If it’s your first time in a tent, or your hundredth, you’ll find the perfect escape.
Whatever your style, an Adventure Club trip to Elfin Lakes may get you inspired:
People come from all over the world to climb in Squamish. We have everything from beginner sport routes to 5.14d trad, so we welcome climbers of all experience levels. You can boulder at the base of the majestic Squamish Chief, or if you’re more daring, climb the face.
The Tourism Squamish site has a great breakdown of the main climbing areas in Squamish, as well as some videos and links to local gear shops. You can also check out Squamish Climbing for more videos, articles, and anything else you could think of.
If anyone is a big climber and in the area, the Squamish Mountain Festival is happening this weekend. You can grab the details here.
Although better known for mountain biking, Squamish does offer some stunning routes for cyclists. Low traffic routes include the Squamish Valley and Paradise Valley, with the Sea to Sky highway offering higher traffic but also higher elevation routes. Cyclists can gauge some of the recommended Whistler area routes, join local shop Republic Bicycles for some 100km group rides, or train hard for the Grand Fondo. Biking to Vancouver is always an option!
Okay, this does not really fit the category of this post, but bird watching is an outdoor activity, so go with me here. Brackendale, a small community on the edge of Squamish, is the wintering home of thousands of bald eagles who venture down from Alaska. You can sit on the patio of The Watershed Grill and watch the eagles catch salmon from the Squamish River, or join in the Brackendale Winter Eagle Festival with the BAG.
For some, the thought of careening down a mountain at top speed is not their cup of tea. Outdoor recreation isn’t all about action. Squamish has some beautiful hiking and walking trails that allow you to get down with nature without the risk of tumbling down. You can read more about the Squamish trail systems here.
For all you horse lovers, have no fear moving to Squamish, we are a horse friendly town! There are plenty of stables in the Squamish Valley, and odds are you’re not bringing your own horse, so you can sign up for horseback tour if you feel the call of the saddle. There are a few horses within Squamish, including a small barn at the bottom of the Quest hill. Occasionally you will see people riding along Loggers Lane, and there is a hitching post out front of our Tim Hortons!
Still lakes, white water rivers, and ocean sounds are all available to you within minutes from campus. For your introduction to Squamish rivers and our ocean access, head on over to Tourism Squamish. For a more detailed look, make your way over to the Squamish Paddling Club’s official site. You can always plan a weekend or block break trip for a longer water session!
Squamish comes from the Coast Salish word “Mother of the Wind”, so you can imagine we get some blustery days. Howe Sound, our access to the ocean, also houses the Squamish Spit– one of the best places in Canada for wind sports.
If you don’t feel like going big, you can always lounge around one of Squamish’s many lakes and enjoy the sun while it lasts. Go for a swim, lie in the sun, jump off cliffs, whatever makes you happy! I’m pretty sure you’ll get to experience at least one of Squamish’s lakes during orientation, but be sure to venture out during the warm September weather.
Squamish has everything you could ask for in mountain bike trails, including access to Whistler’s Bike Park and the legendary North Shore. Get a grip on the Squamish scene here and here. If you hope to get involved in the scene more than a casual rider, I would recommend checking out SORCA and consider becoming a member.
SORCA also offers toonie races alternating weeks, with social rides on the off weeks.
When you think Sea to Sky skiing, you think mountains. However, the Sea to Sky corridor boasts some amazing cross-country trails, and now a world-class Nordic facility thanks to the 2010 Olympics. Even if you don’t ski, you should click through the link to watch the video; it features our very own Vice President, Toran Savjord, and half of his adorable family!
Squamish may not be a tropical paradise, but we have some amazing dive sites– dry suits recommended. You can dive in Squamish’s Howe Sound (walking distance from downtown) in search of marine life, or take the 15km trip down to Porteau Cove and explore BC’s first underwater park which is home to three sunken ships. You may wish to incorporate diving into your question, and capture some incredible footage as other Quest students have.
This kind of goes without saying. Whistler Blackcomb is about 45 minutes up the road, and offers some of the best skiing in North America. Of course you can check out the mountains around Vancouver, which include Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour, if you decide you need a break from resorts.
If you need an even bigger break, backcountry is always an option. Strap on your skins and head behind campus into Garibaldi Provincial Park for an overnight, or if you’re feeling fit, join fellow Questers for morning session in our backyard before class.
Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Squamish is one of the best places to jump on the SUP craze. Not only do we offer a broad range of water features, but we’re also home to Norm Hann, who is behind the StandUp4GreatBear and STANDfilm movement to conserve the wildlife and culture of our amazing coast.
While you cannot technically surf in Squamish, our Adventure Club has been taking students to Tofino since the second ever block break; it’s only fair to add it to the list, as odds are you will venture out at least once during your time at Quest.
White Water Rafting:
While joining one of these tours can be a little costly, they are definitely a good time. One of our Quest professors has been known to take students rafting as a field trip, so you could always find a way to mix academics with adventure.
I apologize if there is something I’ve missed, with so much to do it’s hard to keep track! Until you get here: