Squamish is located about an hour north of Vancouver along the Sea To Sky Highway on the way to Whistler. It is sometimes referred to as the outdoor adventure capital of Canada and offers some amazing hikes, climbs, rivers for paddling and mountain bike trails. I’ve driven through Squamish at least half a dozen times on our way to Whistler and on this trip, felt that I really should experience some of the beautiful things on offer in the area.
During our stay in Squamish, we stayed at the Sunwolf Resort which is located about a 10 minutes drive from Squamish towards Whistler.
We had our own self contained cabin, which was really nice and cozy. The cabin had a full kitchen, ensuite, a studio style bedroom, with a lounge and a wood fireplace The fireplace was completely setup for us. All I had to do was strike a match and soon enough Mya was curled up asleep next to it.
I’m told that over summer the weekends book out fairly fast. So if you’d like to stay there, try and book as far in advance as possible. I was really surprised to hear this is not the case over winter. Squamish is still so close to Whistler and the costs are so much lower. If you decide to head to Whistler for a week, I would definitely consider staying at Sunwolf.
Doggy Daycare / Pet Minding
For the most part, Squamish is pretty dog-friendly, but there are occasions (see below) that if you want to fully enjoy the area, you may have to find some doggy daycare. Fortunately, Alpine Dogs who operate out of Whistler aren’t that far away. They run a doggy day care service with off-leash adventure hikes through the forest.
One thing that I love about the service they provide is that each dog has their own GPS collar so that if in the unlikely event that anything was to happen, they can easily be located. For the most part, though, the group of dogs run together as a pack and have a great time and Mya has always come home exhausted.
The team at Alpine Dogs were happy to send me through some happy snaps of Mya playing happily with her new dog friends, which definitely made me feel better about doing my own thing.
Activities and Attractions
Hiking – Train Wreck Trail
On our first day in Squamish Mya and I joined Sarah a friend from Melbourne hiking. Unfortunately, the hike we originally planned to do was closed, due to bear activity. We made a quick decision and decided to go find the train wreck in Function Junction. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Squamish.
If you didn’t know in the 1950s a freight train was derailed. They were able to salvage most of it, but a few damaged carriages got left behind and have been there ever since. It was a fairly easy and beautiful hike. The trail follows the river and dogs can be off leash as long as they are under effective control. We got to go over a suspension bridge, see waterfalls and a short cut named after Mya. We even managed to get back to the car just before the rain started.
Hiking – Four Lakes
We also went for a hike around the Four Lakes with our friends Mieke and Tron. It’s actually only a five-minute drive from Sun Wolf Resort, which is really handy. There are some restrictions though; dogs are only allowed in certain areas of the park and must remain on lead. Despite this, it’s quite a beautiful spot and a nice way to spend two hours hiking.
The highlight of our visit to Squamish would be going white water rafting with Mya along the Cheakamus River. I wasn’t really 100% sure how we’d go. I’d been building Mya up to it for a while now. First flat water, then slow moving water which she had become quite comfortable in.
The next step was going to be rafting & when I started planning our trip to Squamish I spoke to the guys at Canadian Outback Rafting & told them what my long-term goal was with Mya. I was really surprised when they told me they had a family friendly rafting trip in Squamish with grade 1 & 2 rapids that Mya could join me on. I didn’t want to be rushing her, but after speaking to a few experienced rafting guides & looking at the route, I felt comfortable enough that we could make it work. We were going to be in simple water, would both be wearing life vests, had an experienced rafting guide & a rescue boat ahead in case something did go wrong. As for how it turned out, I think it went great.
For Mya, I would say it was probably a day of mixed feelings. She started off excited, knowing something was happening, then we hit the water & she was thoroughly enjoying herself, taking in the views with a big grin on her face. Then we hit a few rapids & the thumps hitting the bottom of the boat created some uncertainty and she needed some reassurance. Overall I think it was a positive experience, nothing bad happened & she grew as a dog. Hopefully, I can work on getting her even more comfortable down the track.
For me I had a fantastic time too. It was my first ever rafting experience & I’m keen for more. I think life should be about more than just sitting in your comfort zone. I’m sure there are others out there who think the same.
A huge thank you to Canadian Outback Rafting for being willing to include Mya on their family-friendly rafting tour (some family members have more than two legs). Their staff were fantastic and really ensured both Mya and I had a great time. Mya absolutely loved our guide.
If you choose to give it a go, your dog will need a life vest. We got ours from Ruffwear and I highly recommend it. The vest has a handle so that I can easily pick Mya up if she was to go in the water and Ruffwear is a brand that I trust when it comes to the quality of their products.
Sea To Sky Gondola
One thing that I did do on my own was the Sea To Sky Gondola. It probably one of the main attractions in the area and does offer beautiful views from the top. It has a restaurant with outdoor observation platforms and a suspension bridge that links up two of the platforms, which I thought was pretty cool.
I do try and be positive when I experience the places we visit and when I tell you about them, but two months on whilst writing about this, I still feel that they could do better. Firstly I find the cost of $41.95 to be a little excessive for what it is; it’s literally a one ride up and one ride down experience (Although there are similar attractions in other areas at a comparable price). Secondly the dogs are not permitted on the ride up unless they are service animals. I am told you can take the hike up which is bout 3-5 hours and then take the gondola down with a dog, but they will not allow dogs to go up the gondola. The only reason I was given for this was that it was to limit the amount of dogs at the top which I personally don’t feel is good enough. It is a beautiful attraction, but just be mindful that they do not welcome pets.
Tourism: Explore Squamish| @TourismSquamish
Stay: Sunwolf Resort| @sunwolfbc
Doggy Day Care: Alpine Dogs| @AlpineDogs
Play: Canadian Outback Rafting Company| @OutbackRafting