An incredible view at Stawamus Chief — Photo courtesy of Sea to Sky Gondola
The Stawamus Chief - a granite dome in Squamish, B.C. - has long been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy a challenging hike and breathtaking views. Located just about 45 minutes from Vancouver, it's just a short drive away. The hike from the base is not for the faint of heart, but you will be rewarded with the spectacular sights of Garibaldi Provincial Park mountains and Howe Sound. Hikers can choose to do all the peaks in one day, or just one.
If a tough hike isn't on your agenda, you can still enjoy the sweet reward at the top thanks to a new attraction. The Sea to Sky Gondola recently opened and takes guests on a 10-minute journey to the northwest ridge of Mount Habrich. The ride itself is picture perfect!
Once you're at the top, this magnificent piece of nature is yours to explore. There are hiking trails, a suspension bridge, viewing platforms, mountain biking trails, walking paths, rock climbing, a lodge and more.
For the experienced hiker, there are an abundant number of trails that will challenge and inspire. They offer guided tours every day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you're unfamiliar with the area, or worried about getting lost, these guided tours are awesome and take out the guesswork for you.
For those who are less experienced, there are two walking trails that have been carved out and are great for all ages. The Panorama Trail and Spirit Trail are pretty flat, making them very easy to navigate.
The Summit Lodge Viewing Deck is the first viewing platform you will reach after stepping off of the gondola. This 5000-square-foot deck provides stunning views, and it's the perfect spot to enjoy a bite. The Summit Lodge offers self-serve dining and is a fully licensed restaurant and bar.
The Chief Overlook viewing platform is stunning — Photo courtesy of Sea to Sky Gondola / Paul Bride and Chris Barton
The second platform, the Chief Overlook, is 800 meters from the lodge and is sure to get your heart racing. This awe-inspiring platform hovers over hundreds of meters of pure drop. Don't worry though: you're safe here.
Lastly, for something more insightful and culturally rich, the third platform is a must-visit. The Spirit Viewing platform is where you can learn about interpretive information on the views before you, and what it means to the Stawamus First Nations people. The Squamish Nation has been living off the land for eons, and this platform is a fantastic way to learn more about the people, their history and the area.
Another must-visit while you're up here is the Sky Pilot suspension bridge. It connects the Spirit Trail and viewing platform to the Summit Lodge viewing deck. Walk across 100 meters (almost 330 feet) of incredible views, and make sure to stop and take a picture – you won't want to forget this!
Rock climbers will be in heaven here! There are already a number of established climbing routes that are popular with locals, and they plan on expanding the number of routes over the next few years. It's world-class climbing here.
There is so much to do at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola and it's great for the entire family. So pack your camera - this is one for the album!