We have been to Whistler dozens of times and on our way there we pass through Squamish, situated along Highway 99, half way between Vancouver and Whistler.
Although we always pass in front of “Squamish’s door”, we had never been there. Until yesterday, when we decided to check the pink salmon spawning that is occurring right now.
Squamish is a great place to go if you live in Vancouver or if you are just visiting.
From downtown Vancouver it’s only 65 km along one of the most scenic driving routes in the world: The scenic Sea to Sky Highway.
On our way, we stopped at Squamish Adventures Center where we got a map and directions for the best place to spot salmon. The Squamish Adventure Center is a beautiful building on the right hand side of the road and it’s impossible to miss it. I do recommend you stop there and get maps or book excursions, adventures and so on.
The best place to spot salmon spawning is at Mamquam River and the small creeks and ponds along it. To go there, turn right on Mamquam Road (easy to see as there’s a Canadian Tire on the corner) and drive along this road. You will see the Golf Club on your right hand side. There’s a parking lot just after the club.
From the parking lot you see the trail. Turn right and walk along this trail. The river will be on your left hand side.
During a couple of meters, the trail goes side by side with the golf course, so, pay attention in golfer’s movements in order to avoid being hit by a ball. 😀
While we were walking we met a lady with two kids and she stopped us to say we should be vigilant as they had just spot a bear on the trail. She was very calm but said “ok, just to tell you to be vigilant”.
We continued walking but the “bear scare factor” was high! 😀
Which of the three trails?
As soon as you see a wooden pannel with a map, you will notice that there will be three trails in front of you: One that goes to the right, one in the middle that is narrower and goes down, and one to the left (the wider one that continues along the river).
Take the one in the middle. Along this trail you will spot many salmon dropping their eggs in the calm and crystal transparent ponds.
We did that but… as soon as we started walking I got really scared. Besides us, there wasn’t a single soul there. On top of that, the trail is narrow, a bit dark due to dense vegetation and I didn’t know what we should do in the event we met a bear. Or worse, a cub, or cubs, with big Mamma Bear coming behind them. 😀
Although we got our bells and whistles with us (everyone walking on Canada’s trails should have them), I was scared and I didn’t want to continue.
I was feeling disappointed, as I really wanted to see the salmon, but I didn’t have the confidence to proceed, specially because we didn’t know the territory. In case we needed a fast escape, escape to “where”? 😀
Then… a magic thing happened! There was a couple coming and I asked them if they were going to take the middle trail. They said that in fact they were. Oh good! Four is much better than just two! At least there will be more people and the bears can probably go away, he?
So, we went with them and it was great!
First because they live in Squamish during 6 months on a calendar year. The other 6 months they live in their homeland, Australia.
The husband told us that many of his friends have seen bears on that trail, and although he walks there almost daily, he has never seen a bear there. Oh, good! I hope he will bring luck and the bears will not show up! 😀
Our walking was very nice, as he knows everything about the trails and the region, and provided us with a lot of information. It was better than a private tour!
When we reached the end of the trail he pointed us a wider trail to be used as a return trail to go to our car (a wide one, along the river), where bears, if found, would not be “shoulder to shoulder” with us.
I even asked them about a good place to eat and got the information that The Watershed Grill, although very simple, would be an excellent choice.
We said goodbyes and I hope we can welcome them next time they come to Vancouver. Thanks Olivia and David for being so nice with us!
Before getting into the car, we walked on the asphalt to the bridge (it’s very close to the parking lot), and from there we had another view oh the salmon swimming up river in order to spawn and die.
The end of a circle and the beginning of another.
I must add that there’s a stench of salmon carcass along the way, but it’s not something that “disturbs” you. It’s stronger sometimes, faint another times and it’s part of Mother’s Nature, so, you will probably be fine.
From the parking lot we drove to The Watershed Grill. It’s located on 41101 Government Rd, Squamish, exactly in front of a super-famous attraction: The Eagle Run. This is the place where in winter, hundreds of eagles come for the annual chum salmon run in Squamish and Cheakamus Rivers.
The restaurant is exactly across Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park and has an amazing view. The river has turquoise waters, due to silt, as it’s fed by a glacier.
Lunch at The Watershed was delicious and the prices are great, specially when compared with Downtown Vancouver’s prices! 😀
Guess what we saw while having lunch? A bear!!! Oh good, as it was across the Squamish River and I could appreciate him (or her) without being afraid!
After lunch we saw a beautiful snake waking along the river’s bank.
We loved Squamish and for sure we will return many times. If you want more information about this lovely town, visit Squamish Tourist Office and you will see dozens of options of what to see and what to do while there. For now, if you are around, go check the salmon spawning. It’s a must do attraction!
Next time we plan to visit Garibaldi Lakes and Howe Sound Brewery Company. There was not enough time during this day tripping. but we will be back. For sure.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to add you comments! 🙂