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, also a backcountry skiing hot spot.
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.
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. Divided into two areas: Olympic Park and Callaghan Country.
Olympic Park - This was site of the cross-country, biathlon,Nordic combined and ski jumping events for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. Located just 30 minutes north of Squamish, visitors can expect breathtaking views of the Callaghan Valley, Callaghan Lake and Black Tusk. Departing directly from the Day Lodge there are over 20km of maintained trails. Those that are just being introduced to snowshoeing or do not have their own equipment can rent top of the line snowshoes, over boots, and poles from the rental shop located in the Day Lodge. The trail system includes novice trails, scenic lookouts, picnic shelters and heart pumping climbs deep in the coastal forestor.
Callaghan Country - Unlike other venues, snowshoeing in Callaghan Country is the “real deal” allowing you to challenge your personal navigation skills as you wind your way through the wilderness following modest “route” flags. Rather than walking through a commercial snowshoe “track”, experience the more intimate nature of snowshoeing! NEW for 2012-13 they have introduced a very short “Treasure Trail”, perfect for families who are looking to get a taste of the snowshoe experience with “little” snowshoers . This trail has the same feel as the other routes, but stays relatively close to the base area. Offering a network of snowshoeing routes from the base, delivering more than 15 km to explore: Treasure Trail (0.5km), Alexander Falls Explorer (3.5kms), Finger Lake Loop (5.0kms), Old School (2.6kms), and more.