For those living in the Lower Mainland of BC one of the most popular hikes around is the Stawamus Chief which hovers over the town of Squamish at just over 700 metres. It is part of the Pacific Mountain Range and is large piece of Granite Rock famous among Rock Climbers for its climbing routes. Often times you can see climbers on the Chief from the highway.
The Chief is located inside Stawamus Chief Provincial Park which is also home to the amazing Shannon Falls. Access to the chief is simple as it is right off if the Sea to Sky highway. I have hiked this trail a few times over the years since moving to British Columbia and strongly advise that it is best to do it while it is dry as it can be a technical hike. There are three peaks.. 2 of which require the use of ropes in order to get to the top. 2nd Peak will have you climbing up a ladder located near between two very narrow rock faces. 3rd peak is the easiest one to hike as you will be going over roots and such. Access to third peak is also easily done from 2nd Peak. Once you are at the top of the peaks you are treated to relatively flat surfaces and there is a lot of room to move around.. just be careful you don’t go to close to the edge or you could fall off.
The Chief can be extremely busy during the summer months so it is best to go early in order to avoid the crowds. The hike is an intermediate level hike but I would still recommend having fairly decent cardio as the 300 or so steps at the start of the trail will kick your butt. After hiking up the trail for about 40 + minutes you will come to a junction that will take you to other hiking
trails or you can continue going up towards the three peaks. From first peak you get stellar views of Howe Sound and the town of Squamish whereas 2nd Peak offers great views of 1st Peak as well as the town below. From third peak you can see more of Squamish. On a clear day you are also treated to some pretty amazing views of Mount Garibaldi in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Camping is allowed in the park but you need to check with BC Parks for reservations it does have winter camping for those hardcore outdoor enthusiasts. The Chief is an excellent hike if you are looking for something closer to home or you are passing through Squamish and you are looking for a day hike that does not take all day. After hiking the Chief I highly recommend checking out the town of Squamish especially Howe Sound Brewery located on Cleveland St. for some excellent food and beer.