In 1982 the land including and surrounding Shannon Falls was donated to BC Parks and turned into Shannon Falls Provincial Park, home to the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia. The park is now operated under provincial jurisdiction for camping, outdoor recreation, and the preservation of wildlife, and is one of the most popular sightseeing locations along the Sea To Sky Highway.
Looking for a day trip from Vancouver? Shannon Falls Provincial Park is just south of the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park near Squamish, an easy 50-minute drive from Vancouver along the Sea To Sky Highway. The park and its protected status also includes the surrounding area on the north-east shore of the Howe Sound.
Related post: A brief history of the Howe Sound and how ecotourism can protect it
The decades between the early 1950’s and 1970’s was a time when the majority of today’s most popular parks were developed.
Completion of the Sea To Sky Highway segment between Squamish and Whistler in 1965 created an appetite for roadside parks and rest stops. The first to be developed as a destination park and campground was Alice Lake, just north of Squamish downtown (and 5 mins drive from our base at the Squamish Airport). From day one the new park became staggeringly popularity and still, over 50 years on, remains high on the list of things to do in Squamish. In the wake of Alice Lake’s popularity, other roadside parks including Murrin Lake, Nairn Falls, Green Lake were quickly developed.
As time moves on, Squamish has continued to gain recognition as one of the top day trips from Vancouver, and visiting Shannon Falls Provincial Park is frequently featured on many bucket-lists as one of the top Squamish things to do.
Shannon Falls Provincial Park is in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It is located 58 kilometres from Vancouver and 2 kilometres south of Squamish along the enchanting Sea to Sky Highway.
This park holds significant spiritual value to the Squamish First Nation, the first people to live in this area. Stories told of a two-headed sea serpent, Say-noth-ka who lived in and around Howe Sound. According to the legend, this beast travelled both on land and in water.
Some versions say it was Say-noth-ka who formed Shannon Falls by slithering and twisting his powerful body up the mountainside on repeated expeditions, Say-noth-ka gradually wore down a spillway for those cascading waters.
Shannon Falls Provincial Park covers an area of 210 acres and the falls are composed of a series of cliffs, rising 335 metres above Highway 99. From the road-side viewpoint, you can see the first and second cliffs but the real beauty of this giant horsetail waterfall is best appreciated from the air above Skypilot Mountain.
Resources for this post:
1. British Columbia’s Magnificent Parks: the first 100 years; James D. Anderson. 2011
2. BC Parks
3. “Shannon Falls – World Waterfall Database: World’s Tallest Waterfalls”; Bryan Swan & Dean Goss. 2004.