North of Vancouver in the Squamish area is the Stawamus Chief. It is a destination for rock climbers and hikers alike. Rock climbers would simply go straight up the granite face - hikers can take the long way around.
I've never actually been on this hike (though I will when I move back to Vancouver); I will update this tip when I actually do this hike next year. But my boyfriend has done it and swears it is 10 times more interesting than the Grouse Grind. It certainly has more interesting and varied terrain, and is challenging but in a different way from the Grind.
It is about 6 km long, a climb of about 500m, and pretty much a full day out (about 6 hours).
Equipment: The ground can be slippery, due to roots and rocks and the like, so take care in rainy or snowy weather.
Wear sturdy hiking shoes, and generally dress for the weather. As always in Vancouver, layering is your best option. As it is a fairly long hike, bring some food and supplies with you, and maybe a few emergency supplies (in case of emergency). Just general caution is advised in any areas of BC.
There are so many different trails to hike on in the Vancouver area. Most of these are located on Vancouver's North Shore, accessible by either the first or second narrow's bridges. Some of the most popular hikes are the Grouse Grind and The Lions.
Most of these hikes can be completed in just one day, but others take several days (The Garibaldi Lake trail is one of my favourites, althought it's near Whistler).
Equipment: Bring sturdy hiking boots for most of the trails, along with plenty of water/sports-drink and a snack or two.
The Chief is a gigantic granite monolith that overlooks Squamish BC., a little town North of Vancouver nestled at the mouth of the Squamish River in Howe Sound. The town has mostly served as a based of operations for logging companies and Howe sound is evidence to this as it is filled with tree logs tied together to form barges. But these days it seems adventure sports are fueling the local economy more and more.
So, back to the hiking the Chief. If you're a rock climber, you're route is simply straight up the nearly vertical granite face that has made the mountain an international superstar. But if you prefer a less dangerous way, there are a few roundtrip hiking trails that led you up the backside of the Chief to its summit, sort of like sneaking up on it. Depending on which route you pick, you're hike to the summit can be a healthy 4 to 7 kilometers.
Once on top, the view of Howe Sound and the Squamish River tributary are absolutely incredible...and the to look over the edge down the sheer face of the 650 meter Chief is terrifying.
Equipment: A good pair of hiking boots and clothing designed for the elements. Also, be sure that you will have enough daylight to make it up AND back before dark.
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