Day 2 of our Squamish Family Adventure!
We woke up early and headed out for more family adventure! This was the second day of our Canadian vacation in the Squamish area and we wanted to maximize every minute of it. After grabbing some coffee at the ubiquitous Starbucks, we headed for Shannon Falls.
Shannon Falls is breathtaking! It can be seen easily from Highway 99, but we wanted an up-close view of this spectacular Canadian treasure. The falls cascade down over 1,099 feet (335 meters) of smooth granite to Howe Inlet. It is British Columbia’s third highest waterfall. Coming in third place, however, takes nothing away from its beauty; it is impressive.
The walk from the parking lot to the base of the falls is only approximately .5 miles (1 kilometer), so it is more of a leg stretch than a hike. Still, it makes for a great family outing. The falls greet you with a cold mist and thunderous roar at their base. The water comes from glacial melt, so is very cold and clear. Since this was late spring, there was a considerable volume of water over the falls. Something about the beauty, power, and loftiness of the falls made people, including us, stare up in awe mesmerized. We had to break the hypnotic effect and force ourselves away to the next adventure.
Next to Shannon Falls is the Sea to Sky Gondola. This new attraction opened in 2014 and has made the high country accessible to those not energetic enough to hike up to the 2,789 feet (850 meters) high viewing platform. The ride from sea level to summit takes 10 minutes. Along the way, you can look back to Howe Inlet as it drops further from view. At the top, the views are amazing! You can see 360 degrees of magnificent breath-taking scenery. To the west is Howe Inlet far below, to the north is Mount Whistler and the Black Tusk, to the east is Mount Garibaldi and the back-country, and to the south is the Sea to Sky Highway and Vancouver.
We ate lunch at the summit restaurant. It was reasonably priced and delicious. Plus, sitting outside looking at the views as we ate was fabulous. From the summit, several trails branch out. We took an easy one called the Panorama trail. This pleasant trail meandered through alpine forest and ended in another amazing viewing area called The Chief. From this high perch that jutted out over the cliff we could see the Chief Stawamus, one of North America’s largest monoliths and much more. We were content to spend the afternoon sitting on high in the sun gazing at the impressive vistas, but we had more to see and do, so down we went.
The trip down is more thrilling than the trip us because you are focused on the descent, which seems much steeper going the other way. At one point, the gondola car passed over a sheer cliff and we all gasped. We also were able to glimpse Shannon Falls from the top so we got see it from both angles.
After we set foot on the ground, we decided to go back to the hotel for a quick rest before we headed out for the next adventure, zip lining!
Stay tuned for the next chapter in our family travels!