Photos & Imagery
Fun in the Winter Backcountry
The scenic alpine terrain around Squamish makes for great snowshoeing. The mountains surrounding Squamish get an average of 2,300 mm (90 in) of precipitation annually, which means a generous amount of snow accumulates in the winter months. As soon as the snow begins to fall at higher elevations around Squamish, snowshoers head for Diamond Head in Garibaldi Provincial Park or the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Garibaldi Provincial Park - Diamond Head
Chances are that, beginning in late October and lasting through May, you will find snow covering the 7-mile (11-km), intermediate-level route that runs from the trailhead at the 3,000-foot (900-m) level to the cabin at Elfin Lakes (4,900 feet/1485 m). Allow four hours to make the trek one way. If you're just here for a day trip, the day shelter at Red Heather Meadow, a 2-mile (3-km) climb, may be as far as you wish to go, whereas continuing up the trail to the Elfin Lakes is more appropriate for an overnight excursion. Diamond Head is also the approach to a vast backcountry region in the southwest corner of the park. Come prepared for sudden changes in weather.
Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is now open for the 2014 / 2015 winter season offering five marked snowshoeing trails as well as access to endless terrain if you are equipped for the backcountry. The Sea to Sky Gondola region gets some of the deepest snow in North America and has a wide variety of terrain whether you are an experienced snowshoer or first-timer. Rentals and guided interpretive tours are available.
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
If there's fresh snow, stop at Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. Follow the trail markers intended for summer hikers. This isn't a long trek, about 2 miles (3 km) return. Crossing the bridge over Brandywine Creek is an adventure in itself, especially if the snowpack is so deep that you are at the same height as the top railing. Pause in the shelter of a cedar grove at lakeside to admire the Black Tusk, gone white with snow. From there, retrace your tracks to Brandywine Creek and head along the trail to the falls. Cross the BC Rail tracks and hike a short distance to the observation platform beside Brandywine Falls. The sound of Brandywine Creek tumbling onto the exposed boulders below is remarkably similar to that of a jet streaking high in the sky above. All this glory, and you may even have the place to yourself.
Another amazing location for snowshoeing around Squamish is in the Callaghan Valley. Offering spectacular landscape viewpoints & lookouts from the base of a 150ft waterfall to the top of a towering Olympic Ski Jump! The Valley is divided into two areas: Whistler Olympic Park and Callaghan Country but one ticket to "Ski Callaghan" gets you access to both areas offering 40 kms of marked trails for all abilities.
The trail system includes novice trails, scenic lookouts, picnic shelters and heart pumping climbs deep in the coastal forestor. Some of the highlights include the very short “Treasure Trail”, perfect for families who are looking to get a taste of the snowshoe experience with “little” snowshoers. Other popular routes include: Stadium Explorer (3kms), Alexander Falls Explorer (3.5kms), Finger Lake Loop (5kms), Old School (2.6kms), and more.
Rentals and guided tours are available.