Magazine article Sunset

A Perfect Day in Squamish, B.C

Magazine article Sunset

A Perfect Day in Squamish, B.C

Article excerpt

Long just a coffee stop en route to Whistler, this waterfront town has become British Columbia's favorite early-autumn adventure spot. By Crai Bower

Out of the big mountains' shadow

When North America's largest (and arguably most beloved) ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb, sits just 37 miles north, it can be hard to carve out an identity for yourself. That's why, for years, travelers barely slowed down when cruising through tiny Squamish, a former railway town at the north point of Howe Sound. That all changed a year ago with the opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola, an eightpassenger car that climbs for 10 minutes to the Summit Lodge Viewing Deck at 2,900 feet. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer stomach-flipping views of the sound and the lush coastal forests of Shannon Falls Provincial Park. The gondola has become a success not just for the scenic trip itself, but also for the 2-mile-high backcountry it accesses. At the ride's end, you can snap a panoramic shot from the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge or strike out on Al's Habrich Ridge Trail, 7.S miles round-trip, for a few hours of solitude. $29 U.S. round-trip; seatoskygondola.com.

Sea and be seen

Like the climbers ascending nearby Stawamus Chief mountain, you get a foothold in Squamish by learning its nooks and crannies. Our first tip: Look beyond the chain storeheavy strip mall and you'll discover some of the best Japanese and Indian restaurants in this comer of B.C. (We like the palak paneer at Bisla Sweets.) Tip number two: The liveliest place for a pint and good conversation is Howe Sound Brewing Company. The Rail Ale Nut Brown pairs well with the Drunk Salt Spring Island Mussels and deep-fried pickles. If you prefer hoppier brews, you can create a tasting flight of IPAs. Bisla: $ U.S.; 36132 Second Ave.; bislasvieets.com. Howe Sound Brewing: $ U.S.; 37801 Cleveland Ave.; howesound.com.

Up, up, and away

Squamish has one of the area's most enviable playgrounds: a 28,000-acre patchwork of granite peaks, alpine lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers called Tantalus Provincial Park, just north of town. One thrilling way to see it? Soaring in a fourpassenger floatplane with Sea to Sky Air. …

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