Hike and Climb the Chief

Shannon Falls Parking

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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RT Distance 6.8 Miles
Elevation Gain 1968.5 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking, Fitness, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

An Absolute Must-Do

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.

Crowd Pleaser

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.

The Vancouver Staple: Get After It!

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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