Everybody loves the Chief. The iconic hike to the peak of the 700-metre-high granite monolith in Squamish offers some of the most astounding views in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, if not the entire province.
There’s just one problem: Everybody loves the Chief. On weekends and sunny days, the 11-kilometre roundtrip trail can feel like one long queue, with lines of people forming at critical junctures where the trail narrows.
There is, however, a brand new alternative offering similar views with fewer crowds: the Sea to Summit trail. The route (which partly follows an older path called the Upper Shannon Falls trail) starts at Shannon Falls at the base of the mountain, then climbs for approximately four hours (around 9 kilometres) before reaching the new Sea to Sky Gondola facility at the summit. Along the way, it winds past raging rivers, thundering waterfalls, moss-covered forest and dizzying viewpoints. And the best part: For $10 you can ride the new gondola back down in a brisk five minutes, skipping the long hike back.
I checked out the Sea to Summit trail over the weekend. Here’s a quick photo essay of what you’ll see along the way. If you’re considering doing the hike, keep in mind that the trail has an intermediate difficulty level, with some steep sections. The entire route is well marked with bright green Sea to Sky trail blazes. More detailed information is available on the Sea to Sky Gondola website and on Vancouver Trails. Continue reading:
PHOTO ESSAY – Great Vancouver Hikes: A New Alternative to The Chief