What’s that big rock?
One of the first views welcoming you to Squamish along the Sea to Sky Highway is the massive Stawamus Chief. Known by locals and tourists as the most popular day-hike around, this mountain is actually the second-largest granite monolith in the world. If you’re wondering what this means, the word “monolith” comes from the Greek “mono” meaning one, and “lithos” meaning stone. Basically, it’s one giant rock that makes up this popular British Columbian destination.
The Chief gets its name from the local Skwxwu7mesh population, and legend has it that the Chief is a longhouse transformed into stone. Locals say you can see several figures on the Chief, including the Witch, which you can see from the highway as you head towards Vancouver, the Mermaid, which is visible from the Squamish Estuary and the Spit, a popular kite-surfing spot, and the Chieftain, a face which is elusive but can be seen as you pass the mountain on the highway.
Difficult, but well worth it!
After a grueling climb up the back of the mountain, which many compare to an outdoor Stairmaster, hikers are treated to stunning views from three peaks at the top of the Chief. It is also a climbing Mecca, with many multi-pitch climbing routes for the adventurous. The area hosts local wildlife, including Peregrine falcons and friendly chipmunks. Although the Chief is not for the faint of heart, this mountain is at the heart of the experience offered by the ‘Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.’
How to experience the Stawamus Chief!
Even if you’re a pro-hiker, one of the most unique and scenic ways to experience the Chief is by air. Better yet, this option is open to people of all ages and fitness levels. Several of our tours take you past the majestic Stawamus Chief, including the Squamish Valley Tour, the Sea to Sky Special, and we can even extend your Introductory Flight Experience an extra 20 minutes so you can get in some incredible sightseeing. Although the hike is a must-do, seeing the Stawamus Chief by air elevates your experience of Squamish to a whole other level (pun intended).