The Chief (2-5 hours)
The Chief is a challenging and steep hike that leads up to an incredible view over the Howe Sound and Squamish downtown. There are three peaks: the first peak is a 3km hike rising up 535m, the second peak is a 4km hike rising 580m and the third peak is also a 4km hike and rising to 627m.
The loop trail from the third to the second peak is the ultimate way to experience the hike. The third peak ascends on the back side and opens up to a beautiful view over the west. The trail backtracks for a short time and winds along the edge of the rock with magnificent views of Valleycliffe. You will often see slackliners set up in the knee shakingly high canyon. The trail eventually wraps around the front side of the chief offering breathtaking views of the Howe Sound, downtown Squamish and beyond.
The descent down the second peak consisted of steep rock with chains to assist followed by rocky stairs to the bottom.
Echo Falls (5-9 hours)
The Echo Falls trail begins on the west side of the Squamish river, so you must cross the river in order to reach the trailhead. The beginning of the trail is very steep and runs directly beside the falls. The water has carved away at the rock creating beautiful formations and water pools. The steepness subsides for a short time and the trail continues along the river passing by beautiful views of the Howe Sound and eventually meets Echo Lake at the top.
It is necessary to have a boat to cross the river and there are a few small spots to camp at the lake. The trail is steep and tiring so be sure to have lots of snacks and water.
Elfin Lakes (6-8 hours)
The Elfin Lakes hike is a scenic alpine hike in the Garibaldi Provincial Park. The trailhead is up Mamquam Service Rd. After passing the Red Heather Hut, continue for another kilometer following a narrow trail up into the alpine area. You will reach a gravel road, turn left. The trail will begin to descend until you reach the lakes.
The top lake can be used for swimming but the bottom lake is reserved for drinking water. You can stay overnight in the Elfin Lakes hut (must reserve the hut) or bring a tent for camping. The trail is 22km round trip with a 600m elevation gain.