The long, hot days of summer in the lush forests near Squamish are the reward for weathering the cold and rain of winter. As temperatures rise, many will head out to explore and see some of the many natural wonders close to home.
As the popularity of our corner of the world increases, so does the number of individuals we encounter on the trails. That passion for the outdoors that is spreading should be applauded but still, time away from interacting with society, being present and finding a personal space to be peaceful is an important part of the experience for those of us who love the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Thankfully, the mountains around us are vast. Here are five recommendations for worthwhile hikes in the Sea to Sky region where you are much less likely to see crowds.
If you have driven between Vancouver and Squamish you have likely looked up at this peak but you’d be forgiven for never knowing its name. In Lions Bay, park near the end of Sunset Drive.
Parking is limited so start early or park further back.
To ascend this peak by the easiest route, start by mostly following the Magnesia Creek Trail at the end of Sunset Drive. Follow the trail for The Lions and then branch off on to the Mount Brunswick Trail. At the intersection with the Howe Sound Crest Trail turn left and follow this trail to Hat Pass. At Hat Pass, you should be able to see the flagged trail leading up to Hat Mountain on your left.
There is a radio repeater tower at the summit with a wooden deck that you can sit on to enjoy the views out over the Sound.
A beautiful lake with a long enough hike to keep the crowds away. Park at the Porteau Cove interchange above Highway 99 and follow an old road up until it becomes trail. Along the way, you will pass Deeks Lake, Hanover Lake, and waterfalls connecting the outflows between them.
There is an emergency shelter above Brunswick Lake. This can make a nice spot for lunch.
This is a recommendation for a beautiful hike, but it requires off-trail navigation. Something to consider if your plans are to focus on your ability to leave the trail behind this summer.
Follow the trail to Watersprite Lake. Once there, head right along the shoreline until you can begin to angle up and around to your right. After ascending up a slope of mostly talus you will reach the crest at the low point in the ridge. Begin heading right at this point towards Martin Peak. The summit is a large area and will offer views back down to the lake.
Becoming more popular every year but still pretty quiet due to the need to cross the mighty Squamish River. Once across the river by canoe, boat or otherwise follow a flagged trail up that follows closely along the sides of Monmouth Creek which features many stunning waterfalls. The lake is a nice spot for lunch and offers unique views back down to Squamish.
Follow the busy trail to Garibaldi Lake but once there continue along the shoreline past the ranger cabin. As the flagged trail becomes narrower and a little more overgrown the crowds will be left behind. Follow this trail all the way to the sub-summit of Mount Price, sometimes mistakenly called Clinker Peak. Drop off this sub-summit and ascend the true summit of Mount Price to the north.
These five only really offer a glimpse into what is out there to be explored. There are hundreds of trails to visit nearby, leading to pristine lakes of clear and deep water, overlooked by jagged peaks encased in ice waiting for you to set your eyes upon them.
Use a little imagination, buy the hiking guidebooks at your local outdoor store and get out somewhere new this summer season.