This 11-kilometer round-trip hike near Squamish takes you to the top of Stawamus Chief for gorgeous views of the valley and surrounding peaks. Rising 700 meters straight up from the bottom of the Squamish Valley is one of the the world's largest granite monoliths. Renowned for its world-class rock climbing, the Stawamus Chief is named by the first nations people after their village on the Squamish River. These cliffs are home to some of Canada's greatest bigwall and multi-pitch climbing routes.
The Chief sits at the bottom of Mount Habrich, where the Howe Sound meets the town of Squamish. The granite tower looms over the town and is mostly visible from anywhere in the valley. The top of the Chief offers a 360-degree view that is truly awe inspiring. The trails give you access to three different peaks that offer different perspectives of the valley and the surrounding mountains.
The hike up is technically difficult and gets steep in areas, but it has been enhanced with fixed lines and chains. The trails are well marked and indicate if you are on the first, second, or third peak trail. The top of each peak is exposed granite, and a short scramble to the summit is required. The trail to the third peak is the wildest and most rough. Choosing to climb to the third peak first and then following the trail to the second and first peaks will prove easiest to follow.
The peaks offer incredible views from all directions, and you will also have the opportunity for some additional exploring. There is a small pond at the top of the third peak and large canyons between each summit. There are no fences or barriers, so use caution when approaching leading edges. The trail back down loops back to the trail that you climbed, offering views of the cascading river and thick old-growth forest. In just a few hours you can be up in the sky and back to the sea. Hiking the Stawamus Chief Summit Trails should definitely make its way to your to-do list.