• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking, Fitness, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1968.5 Feet

Dog Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

The Stawamus Chief is a massive granite rock located in Squamish BCIt's one of the top climbing and bouldering areas in North America. It also happens to be one of BC’s top hikes for good reason. The views of Howe Sound and the Coastal Mountains are spectacular. Duration: Full Day if climbing too.

If you are hiking this spot, you can do so even as a beginner so long as you have a good fitness level. I’ve seen people do this in jeans and dress shoes, although they are crazy. Wear some hikers and prepare to get your sweat on.

There are three peaks, first is the most popular, second has the best views and third makes it a longer 11km hike. There is a 600m elevation gain in 1.5km, so this is a steep hike on stairs. Keep in mind that you can hike all three peaks, but this is also a huge spot for bouldering and climbing.

The hikes are something you should do when in Vancouver. Consider it a right of passage. The views over the blue waters of Howe Sound, with windsurfers and kiteboarders sailing around in the windy straight below you looking so tiny as you tower above the famous Squamish rock.

Double up your hiking views by parking (for free) at Shannon Falls and start there. Shannon Falls is one of Canada’s largest waterfalls and black bears have been spotted just off the parking lot from time to time.

Head into Squamish and get your granola on by having some healthy organic options at Zepher’s Café.

Pack List

Hiking:
  • Boots
  • Hiking poles (if you are into that)
  • Camera
Climbing:
  • Rope
  • Crash pad
  • Climbing Shoes
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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If you're in Squamish, you cannot leave before doing this hike. Absolutely the best view I have ever seen. It's a bit of a difficult hike (so many stairs) and the path can be a little bit difficult to follow, but it is undoubtedly worth it. There is a resting point about half way with a great view that you can stop at to catch your breath and drink some water- bring plenty! Beware that it's windy at the top, so bring a windbreaker.

8 months ago
8 months ago

The chief is a superb hike. I'd definitely recommend it, though perhaps not as first hike in the area. It's a good way to go if you want a slightly wilder version of the grouse grind. On bright days it tends to be busy, but it can be great fun in the rain, when it gets peaceful, and you get to watch the drama of the clouds play out through the rocks. As for climbing the chief, it's a phenomenal experience. The climbs are busy, but instant classics. Nothing compares to moving your way above the valley, getting ever higher.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Beginner to hiking? Just do first peak. Looking for a total workout, do all three peaks. First peak offers some super cool views of Squamish Inlet, we stopped and had lunch on this peak. We then decided to head back down and back up to second and third peak, there are some super cool spots along the backside of the chief as you head up to second peak - sometimes people slack line across a massive drop.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Although highly trafficked always a great hike. Gets your heart pumping with stops along the way to appreciate the views. First and Second peak offer spectacular views of Squamish and the sound. Not for the faint of heart when it comes to heights!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Such a great, classic hike! It's definitely popular, and can be busy (hence only 4 stars) but still totally worth it - and what a workout.. The view from the top is unbelievable as well - pack a lunch and enjoy it if you have time!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Hiked Nov 4, 2013 Gorgeous day, sunshine and clear! Was brisk and a bit of ice in a few places at the top, only a couple spots with mud or areas where water was running through a little bit. No snow yet! Starts with stairs pretty much right away! After 10 minutes though they are over and you can enjoy nature!! There was a helicopter for the first 30 minutes as well... Since they are building a gondola (unfortunate) but once that noise was gone it was fabulous to hear the water running, the occasional bird and just be in the great outdoors! Steady incline and nice changes from trail to a bit of scrambling. Loved it! Took us 1 hour and 40 minutes going directing to the 3rd peak. Enjoyed the view while we ate lunch and took our time coming down as you have such a great perspective of all of creation on the way down - took us 1 hour and 30 minutes, but that was at a very relaxed pace. Enjoy! :)

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I recommend going to the third and final peak -the view is amazing and you are completely secluded. Takes about 2. 5 hrs to reach the top peak. See if you can spot the friendly chipmunk that lives there :)

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Did this hike on Good Friday and had great weather, luckily! There were still some wet spots up top, which made for some slick sections on the final climb. We went earlier in the morning, around 9, and managed to avoid most of the crowds. It was way busier waiting and avoiding people on our way down. Stunning views up top!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

As a well-known mountain in the rock-climbing world the Chief is also a hikers paradise. With a choice of 3 separate or conjoined trails connecting the various peaks the chief can be a morning hike or a full-day experience. The views of Howe sound are amazing and the town of Squamish below feels so close you can almost touch it. Many of the trails have chains and ladders to help you get to the top. While the first peak is the most commonly climbed the second peak has the best views and trail.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Rachel Bertsch (Kristensen) Explorer

Travel Blogger | Adventure Seeker | Tour Leader | Find me regularly @meandertheworld on Instagram.

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