Best known to locals as The Chief, hiking the Stawamus Chief is a popular activity for visitors to the area. Amazing views of Howe Sound, the small town of Squamish, and the surrounding mountains reward those that reach the top of this granite dome. The Chief is the 2nd largest granite monolith in the world and is easily accessible from Vancouver by car.
Directions to the Chief
Taking the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) from Vancouver, the drive will take you just under an hour to reach the Chief, 5 minutes south of Squamish. Parking is available at the Shannon Falls Provincial Park car park, and the start of the trail is a short walk from here.
The Chief hiking trail is considered medium to advanced, and you should allow at least 3-4 hours to tackle this 7-11km return hike. The best thing about The Chief is there are three different summits that you can choose to hike, depending on your fitness or time constraints.
- First Peak or the South Summit – 2,001 feet
- Second Peak or the Centre Summit – 2,149 feet
- Third Peak or the North Summit – 2,303 feet
First timers may want to hike the first peak. For a beginner hiker, this is an achievable goal, and you’ll probably be sore the next day!
There are some chain-assisted parts of the trail near the top and some rather large steps, but if you take your time and are reasonably fit, you should have no problems. Make sure you are well prepared with supportive shoes, bottled water, snacks and of course lunch to eat at the top.
For more information about Stawamus Chief, visit the BC Parks Web site.