The Ultimate Climber's Guide to Squamish

Photo by Cydney Wood Lyons

Summer after summer, climbers from all over the globe travel to Squamish to experience the majestic beauty that the Sea to Sky Corridor has to offer. Squamish is truly a world-class climbing destination with renowned trad climbing and bouldering, with some pretty good sport climbing thrown into to round out your experience. Nowhere around the globe it is as easy to navigate such a beautiful area in the barest of conditions. Even without a car, Squamish is a pretty accessible place.

The following is the ultimate climbers guide to Squamish, including where to camp, where to buy food, how to get a shower and all the essentials you will need to make your trip worthwhile. We have broken down each are into parts to guide you through the best experience possible.

Getting to and from Squamish

Squamish is situated 64 km from Vancouver, BC, nestled in the north end of Howe Sound. Although most visitors come by car, there are also a number of bus options when arriving from Squamish. Greyhound Canada offers four buses a day from Vancouver to Squamish, all leaving from 1150 Station Street in Vancouver and making two different stops in Squamish. The bus technically does not stop at The Stawamus Chief Provincial Park but if you ask the bus driver to stop there, they usually will accommodate you.

Other bus services to Squamish include Perimeter Transport, who offer buses from YVR airport and Downtown Vancouver to the Squamish Adventure Centre four times a day. Please note that for pick up in Squamish, pre-reservation is required.

Where to Stay

There are a variety of places to stay in Squamish depending on your circumstances. Most climbers who visit Squamish usually stay in one of the four campgrounds that can be found in Squamish.

The easiest and most convenient campground is the Stawamus Chief Campground located at the base of the Stawamus Chief. The campground offers a total of 47 walk-in sites and 15 vehicle accessible sites. The campground is officially open April 8th to October 15th. During off-season, there is no fee to stay in this campground and campers must walk in from the gate. Campsites cost $10.00 per person per night and offers bathrooms and running water, although this can dry up during the summer. No campfires are allowed at this site.

Other campgrounds to stay in Squamish include the Brennan park Campground, located just off Loggers Lane before you get to Brennan Park. As of 2016, these sites were $15.00 dollars per night and there are 45 sites available. Across from Shannon Falls, there is another campground, Klahanie Campground, that offers more expensive sites for $35.00 a night based on four people and one vehicle.

North of Squamish, there are a few other options include Alice Lake Provincial Park, Paradise Valley Campground, and the recreational site at Chek Canyon. All of these are great alternatives if you are planning to climb outside of the main areas.

For all other accommodations, we recommend checking Air BNB listings in and around the Squamish area.

Where to get Food?

There are three different grocery stores in Squamish, each offering different prices for different qualities of food.

The easiest and most convenient grocery store is Nester’s Market, located at the mouth of downtown. Here will will find everything you need, however, the prices may be a bit higher than other grocery stores in the area. Nester’s is great for small portions of meat and not that great for things like fruits and vegetables.

The next best thing is Save On Foods, located just next to the main strip in town and directly across from Climb On Equipment. It offers a variety of products, including a full deli with some great sandwich options, awesome bulk bins for candy and nuts, and to top it off, you can get get free WiFi here.

On the north side of Squamish, there is Extra Foods. Extra Foods is a great place to save on bulk foods and get the best prices for fruits and vegetables but it may sometimes come at the cost of quality depending on the time of year. Generally, the produce is usually good and there is always a great deal to be had.

Where to Eat Out?

Eating out options in Squamish are getting better and better each year, but most people keep going to the same few restaurants because they are so great. We are sure that there are a variety of opinions on where to eat out, but here are a few of our favourite to keep you going.

  1. Howe Sound Brew Pub– This is where you will find a lively atmosphere and some great dishes that pair well with a variety of locally brewed beers. When going here, be ready to wait a little for your food. We would recommend the pizzas as well as the fish and chips! While your at it, get yourself a Devil’s Elbow IPA to wash away the day.
  2. Sushi Goemon – The best sushi in town is always up for debate, but our vote goes to Sushi Goemon. A great little place to eat with reasonable prices and good healthy food.
  3. Bisla Sweets – Located across from Climb On Equipment, this is a great place to get $1.50 Samosas that will keep you going all day long. This is also a great place to get some take out and we recommend the Aloo Tikki.
  4. Top Hat Pizza – Top Hat pizza is a classic pizza joint that offers some great two for one discounts on pizza that is straight from the 1980’s! Great crust, a ton of cheese and toppings, smothered in a bunch of tasty stuff. This one is our all-time favourite. Usually best to call in and pick up because the pizzas take about 25 minutes.
  5. Mags 99 – This list would not be complete without including the newest kid on the block. Mags 99 is a fantastic Mexican cantina to finish the climbing day with a huge burrito and some fried chicken. Enough said!

Where to get a coffee?

Coffee shops are popping up all over the Sea to Sky, but there are still a few favourites.

  1. 1914 – Located on the same street as Climb On, 1914 is owned and operated by local climber Mike Chapman and offers the best specialty coffees in Squamish. Be sure to check it our while you are in town. Mike can talk all day about coffee so if that is your thing then make sure you stop by.
  2. Zephyr Cafe – The Zephyr Cafe has long established itself as a great hang on the Squamish strip. A good place to get a coffee and they also offer a roadside patio and food to make a morning stay pretty sweet. The breakfast wraps here will keep you going on those early morning multi-pitch runs.

Where to get a shower?

The best place to get a shower is Brennan Park Recreation Centre. Brennan Park is located just after the main turn to Squamish and your first turn right after the Adventure Centre. Depending on the year, showers are $2 for 30 minutes or $4 dollars including swimming. Be aware that Brennan Park does close during the month of October for cleaning, in which, showers can sometimes be found around the baseball fields.

Where to buy gear?

Obviously, Climb On Equipment is the best place for all your gear needs. Even if you don’t need anything, come by and say hello. Our staff is very knowledgeable about everything from weather predictions to information on a particular route. We are always happy to answer any questions you have to make your stay the best it can be.