Snowshoeing in Squamish, British Columbia

Snowshoeing in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, Vancouver
Gaze into the valley below from this suspension bridge.

 

There is no arguing against the beautiful mountainous landscapes quintessential of British Columbia.   Even in metropolitan areas, outdoor enthusiasts have little difficulty getting out into nature.  Less than an hour from Vancouver, Squamish is one outdoor recreation hotspot for those needing a break from city life.  Even during winter, trekkers can explore wooded trails with snowshoes strapped to their feet.

 

Snowshoeing in Squamish

 

In 2014, the Sea to Sky Gondola celebrated its grand opening.  Some worry the new infrastructure will bring in crowds of people and detract from the natural beauty of the area.  Others are only too happy for access to a new set of trails and new mountains to summit.

 

Snowshoeing in Squamish

Snowshoeing in Squamish

 

As the gondola is still relatively new, and with Squamish being farther out than Mt. Seymour or Cypress Mountain, it is easy to spend a day snowshoeing without having to share the trail with a crowd of people.  There are several trails to choose from and serious trekkers won’t have to worry about tourists following them up an intermediate – or advanced- grade climb.

 

Snowshoeing in Squamish

 

It was a sunny Saturday morning when four of us started out on the 10km Shannon Basin Loop Trail.  We tramped through snow and trees for over four hours in almost complete seclusion.  Encountering only half a dozen other hikers, the trail was beautifully – and almost eerily – quiet.  While this trail can be completed more quickly, you will want to stop frequently to absorb the quiet and isolated views that are becoming a rarity on Vancouver hikes.

 

Snowshoeing in Squamish

 

Bear in mind, 10km in snowshoes feels longer than 10km in hiking boots.  About half way through this hike – just when you feel like you’ve accomplished something and are ready to head back – you realise you are going down the mountain instead of up.  For the next hour, you will catch glimpses of the chalet in the distance.  As much as you long to rest your legs next to a roaring fire, the chalet keeps appearing smaller and farther away.

 

Snowshoeing in Squamish
Knowing how far up you have to walk doesn’t make it easier.

 

When you finally do trudge your way up the final ascent – which seems never-ending – stunning views of the surrounding mountains will be your reward.  The dazzling sunset will almost make you forget how sore your legs are.  Almost.

 

Snowshoeing in Squamish

 

If you’re not feeling up to an arduous traverse up and down the mountainside, you can always try your legs on the shorter Wonderland Lake Loop.  It may be easy, but it really is enchanting!

The ascent in the gondola costs $39 CAD.  Passengers can receive a 20% discount on this fare if hiking with a friend who holds an annual pass.  Ambitious hikers who want to walk the steep 7.5km Sea to Summit trail can ride the gondola back down the mountain for $15 CAD.  Snowshoes are available for rent for $20 and tours are also available.

 

When you finally do trudge your way up the final ascent – which seems never-ending – stunning views of the surrounding mountains will be your reward. The dazzling sunset will almost make you forget how sore your legs are. Almost.

 

Note that while these trails are marked, they are still considered backcountry.  If you are heading out, be self-sufficient.  Ensure you have everything you need to survive and know what the conditions are before setting out.  As the weather warms, avalanches and slides are a risk.  It could be hours before help arrives should something go wrong.

Check out the Sea to Summit website for more information.

 

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 Snowshoeing in Sqaumish

 

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13 Replies to “Snowshoeing in Squamish, British Columbia”

  1. I love that you lay out how how hard snow shoeing is! Those things feel like they weigh a TON!!! Talk about a way to wear people out. Kids have to sleep like rocks at night after that. LOL What a fun experience.

  2. Showshoeing must be so hard. i guess you get really tired after such a long trek in the snow. Add going up hills as well, I don’t think I am in shape for it, but would love to try a short hike one day. The nature and the views look spectacular, I guess that makes all the hard work worth it.

  3. I only visited BC once, it was mid-year and only Vancity. I would absolutely love to take advantage of all of the outdoor activities BC has to offer. lol That walk up would completely discourage me from attempting it but you’re right, that view is totally worth it. I have to put snowshoeing on my bucket list 🙂 ALSO, I love your tag line.

    1. Next time you’re in Vancouver, I’ll take you out to the mountains:)

  4. I have been wanting to go snowshoeing every winter and always seem to run out of time to get out. My husband and I hiked the Sea to Summit trail last spring and when we finally made it to the summit, we were beyond impressed with ourselves. Spotting the chalet never felt so good. I think I did the whole Rocky celebration. We will definitely have to snowshoe there next winter, but maybe the shorter loop for the first time as I have never snowshoed yet, and by the sounds of it, it’s a challenge. Loved reading a post about my home, Vancouver.

    1. If you did the Sea to Summit, you should be fine on Shannon Basin Loop. There were some people hiking the Sea to Summit in the snow…looked a bit too sketchy for the likes of me:)

  5. I used to hate snowshoeing for years because I would trip over my own feet. When I finally moved to Montana, I discovered the MSR snowshoes and WOW! what a difference. I could actually cruise for miles and do it fairly comfortably, minus the shortness of breath and sweat of course. Snow shoeing is a great way to get out and enjoy the winter while getting a good work out. Loved your post.

    1. I know right?! MSR snowshoes are the best. I always have loaners, but when I get a pair of MSRs on my feet, I feel totally comfortable on steep, off-trail meanders. Snowshoeing just might be the only thing I like about winter…

  6. I know right?! MSR snowshoes are the best. I always have loaners, but when I get a pair of MSRs on my feet, I feel totally comfortable on steep, off-trail meanders. Snowshoeing just might be the only thing I like about winter…

  7. Snowshoeing in Squamish sounds great! I am a keen hiker and trekker and would love to hike the trails around Squamish, especially in snowshoes – it sounds like a real challenge. I have a cousin who lives in Vancouver and I keep promising to visit him. If I do I will certainly head for the hills in Squamish. Good post!

  8. Hey,

    Squamish looks so similar to Lapland, where I too tried snowshoeing. Like you, I too had a great time in the outdoors. I was nodding in affirmation reading, “trudge your way up the final ascent – which seems never-ending – stunning views of the surrounding mountains will be your reward”.
    After reading your post i want to go back to Finland or visit Canada 🙂

  9. There is always something so exciting about backcountry trails! I still have yet to snowshoe but am dying to try it! Looks like so much fun. Hope to visit Squamish one day.

  10. I am sure those 10 kilometres will be memorable. I am an adventure enthusiast and loved reading this post. I did not know about this part of Britain. Glad writers like you are educating travelers across the world.

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