Must do Mountain Bike Ride of the Month - Rotorua, New Zealand - Billy T to Roller
Squamish, BC is a must-do mountain bike holiday destination and is one of the foremost mountain bike playgrounds in the world. Squamish has over 215km of trails (and the trail network is growing every month), near four season riding possibilities, and trails that suite most riders’ skill levels and interests.
Squamish’s mountain bike trails are nestled in the rain forest of the pacific northwest. Riders can expect moist conditions in the winter, spring and fall, but during the dryer summer months the trails are often fast and dusty. Massive trees, moss, greenery everywhere, granite rock slabs and loamy soil are the order of the day when riding in Squamish.
If you come for a day you will surely leave wanting more and even after a week you will still be discovering new rides and new trails. You might also use Squamish as your base camp for an epic riding holiday if you also want to ride Whistler, Pemberton, Vancouver’s North Shore or even the Sunshine Coast.
Trails range from easier, flat forest loops in the ‘dump trails’ or the “corners” in the Alice Lake area, right up to incredibly challenging double black diamond downhill trails off of Garibaldi Park Road (sometimes called “Diamond Head Road”) . The vast majority of trails in Squamish are challenging blue trails. That said, Squamish blue trails might be considered black diamond trails in most other locations. There is also a recent trend to build more flowy bermed trails, but there is no shortage of the raw, naturally rooty and loamy trials that the Pacific Northwest is know for.
Most locals in Squamish ride 4-6” travel trail-oriented bikes with a dropper seat post and more aggressive tires than a pure XC tire (Maxxis High Roller II’s and Ardents are a common tire choice). You will also see the odd lighter bike with less aggressive tires as there is a strong cross country riding and race scene with weekly rides and races happening every Wednesday night from March to October.
The town of Squamish is a bit of a hard one to get a sense of when you first drive in as the town has unfortunately succumbed to the typical North American city with too much development around the highway and not enough development in the downtown core. As such there are three main areas to Squamish: downtown which is small, somewhat quaint and fairly walkable, Garibaldi area in the centre (which has more of a strip mall type set up), and Brackendale at the north end of Squamish.
Downtown has some really cool places to eat and chill. Just past the main entrance to downtown (Cleveland Ave.) you will find the Adventure Center where you can rent bikes, have a great coffee and chill out in a really amazing timber frame building. If you head right into downtown, you’ll find Zephyr Café which has a cool bohemian feel, and the Howe Sound Brew Pub which is a great spot for a meal or a post ride beer. If sushi is your thing you might also want to check out Oryzae. Downtown Squamish also is home to CORSA Bike Shop.
In the Garibaldi area, the Cloudburst Cafe complex is a fun place to grab a bite and shop around. It’s located just east off the main highway on Mamquam road. There are a number of funky shops, a food truck, a great coffee shop (Cloudburst) and there’s plenty of outdoor seating to chill out before or after your ride. This is also a great starting point for many of the rides in Squamish, and it is also located about 200 meteres from Tantalus Bike Shop. It even has a bike wash! (although it doesn’t always seem to work…). After your ride you might head to nearby Sushi Sen or Pepe’s.
Farthest north you will find Brackendale. Brackendale is a funky little part of Squamish and is home to Republic Bike Shop and its next door neighbour Bean Around the World coffee shop. Brackendale’s Watershed Grill is also a great spot for a post ride brew which can be enjoyed on their patio overlooking the river.
We recommend that you download the Trailforks app (free in the app store for iOS and Android) to access this map on your smartphone and use your phone’s GPS to position you on the map while you are out mountain biking on the trails. This app can be used offline as long as you pre-load the maps ahead of time, making it an ideal option when traveling. We also recommend that you use the Trailforks App so that you can navigate with your phone’s GPS for the ‘Must do Rides’ below.
Squamish on Trailforks.com
Must Do Rides
Click on the rides below for more details and to sync the route to your Trailforks app for on trail GPS navigation.
- Kids Mountain Bike Skills Park and BMX Track – Squamish, BC
- Ray Peters Trail – Squamish, BC – Beginner mountain bike loop
- Rob’s corners, Cliff’s corners, Rollercoaster, Lumberjacks – Squamish, BC – Beginner/Intermediate 1-2+ hour mountain bike loop
- Elfin Lakes – Squamish, BC – Intermediate mountain bike route
- Manboobs, Rupert, Rollercoaster – Squamish, BC – Intermediate/Advanced Mountain Bike Route 1 to 2+ hours
- Half Nelson – Squamish, BC – 1 – 2+ hour mountain bike loop.
- Angry Midget, Psuedo-Tsuga – Squamish, BC – Intermediate/Advanced Mountain Bike Route.
- Fred/Tinder/Your Mom – Squamish, BC – Intermediate/Advanced 1 to 2+ hour loop
- Crumpit Woods/Valleycliffe – Squamish, BC – Mountain Bike Route
- Somewhere Over There – Squamish, BC – Advanced Mountain Bike Route – 1.5 – 2.5+ hour ride
- Rigs in Zen – Squamish, BC – 1.5hr – 3+ hour – Advanced/Expert mountain bike loop.
Tantalus Bike Shop
Fluid Function is a full service suspension servicing center specializing in SRAM/RockShox. Located in the Garibaldi Estates in the middle of Squamish. They keep you on the trails and rolling happy while mountain biking in Squamish.
Commencal Canada is located in Squamish and has a full range of rental mountain bikes available ranging from downhill to enduro to trail bikes.
Call them at (604) 389-9569
Flying Spirit Rentals
Flying Spirit Rentals is the one stop shop for renting gear in Squamish specializing in the Mountain Bike experience. They have All Mountain full suspension bikes, hard tails, cruisers and kids mountain bikes to rent so everybody & every ability can be on a bike in Squamish!
Sea to Sky Adventure Company
The Sea to Sky Adventure Company is located in the Squamish Adventure Center offering Norco mountain bikes.
Call them at (604) 567-2453
Call them at (604) 849-2712 or email at email@example.com
Premier Ride Camps
Premier Ride Camps is available for custom, personalize mountain bike coaching clinics for individuals or groups. They also offer guiding in Squamish. All clinics and guided rides are led by world class riders who can take your riding to the next level or just show you around the very best that Squamish has to offer.
Guided mountain biking on Squamish’s world class trails.
(604) 671 6595
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Call them at (604) 849-2712 or email at email@example.com
Sea to Sky Adventure Company
The Sea to Sky Adventure Company offers guided mountain biking tours of Squamish as well as a shuttle service which must be booked ahead of time.
Call them at (604) 567-2453
Squamish Mountain Biking highlights:
The Ledge Community Coffee House
Nice, spacious coffee shop in downtown Squamish with great coffee and a decent selection of baked goods. Lots of seating and good wifi if you need to do a bit of work or travel planning with your laptop while on your mountain bike holiday.
Fuel and Forest Cafe
A nice little coffee shop located in the Garibaldi Estates area of Squamish. Good coffee and lots of healthy (including vegan, vegetarian and gluten free) options for light breakfasts/lunches or snacks. A great starting point for rides especially if you pedal through the Coho Park Trails to get to the Garibaldi Highlands trail network. Great parking lot to watch your bikes while you fuel up. Here is one of many rides you can do from the cafe…
Cute coffee shop with excellent coffee and tasty breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and other treats. Friendly, efficient service, and there are a few tables suited to longer stints if you need to flip open a laptop and use the free wifi to get some work done. Located at On The Farm Market, which has a small playground and a few shops to keep the kid lets busy while you caffeinated pre or post-ride.
Caffe Garibaldi – Squamish Adventure Centre
Caffe Garibaldi runs a coffee shop within the Squamish Adventure Centre building. Super convenient if you want to drop by the Adventure Centre to check out local maps and info or rent a bike from Sea to Sky Adventure Company which is also located in the building. Good coffee and a nice selection of croissants and other baked goods. In the summer they have gelato too.
Bean Around the World
Located in Brackendale, this is a great pre-or post ride choice if you’re riding in the Alice Lake area. Owned and operated by a local mountain biker and right next door to Republic Bikes. A nice, funky space with a natural wood feel and a good vibe. Has everything you could want in a coffee shop as well as plenty more substantial lunch options like wraps, sandwiches and soup.
Galileo Coffee Company
A nice option if you’re driving up from Vancouver for the day and want some caffeine or snacks en route. Located in Britannia Beach (a small community about 12 km south of Squamish) in a cozy historic building that was originally occupied by the manager of the nearby copper mine. Galileo Coffee Company roasts its own coffee and serves in house baking and other goodies.
1914 Coffee Company
A true connoisseur’s coffee shop located in downtown Squamish: come here if you seek perfection in coffee and a minimalist, hipster vibe. Beans are rotating but always excellent and there’s often a small selection of baked goods, usually sourced from Tall Tree Bakery. Not open on weekends.
Remarkably good sushi and other more unique Japanese dishes for the adventurous. Also a nice little sake menu including sake flight options. Funky space with good ambiance and a nice (though small) sushi bar if you’re dining alone. The Dragon Roll and the seafood sashimi salad are a couple of our favorites.
Fresh,healthy and organic contemporary middle eastern food served in a nicely decorated space in downtown Squamish. Yummy and generous platters and bowls complete with pita, hummus, and all sorts of delicious sauces. Nice selection of beer and wine.
Oryzae Japanese Cuisine
A bit pricier than some other local spots, but a great and constantly evolving menu. Really good beer and wine selection and yummy, creative cocktails. Owned and operated in conjunction with Cloudburst and Locavore.
Creative cocktails, good wine and beer choices and some good food options. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a favorite of ours for all three. In the summer there’s a nice patio out back and for the rest of the year, the inside space is warm and inviting.
Menu includes meat and fish dishes, pasta, fajitas and tacos, all of which are tasty and very nicely prepared. The butter chicken and the mushroom and feta enchiladas are especially good. An expansive space with lots of seating both indoors and out, this is a great spot for big groups.
Chef Big D’s
A great spot for breakfast and also a good choice for lunch. Chef Big D’s is family run, and they serve perfectly cooked breakfasts that leave you stuffed and satisfied. Service is friendly and efficient. Located right downtown in a bright, clean space where you can usually get seated right away.
The closest thing you will find to a ‘posh’ restaurant in Squamish. Some items on the menu are excellent, but others seem a bit overpriced for what you get. Consider coming for oysters or a charcuterie place at happy hour.
Tall Tree Bakery
Tall Tree Bakery is located right across the street from Commencal Bicycles showroom and next door to the AirHouse trampoline centre. The bakery has high quality artisan breads and pastries all made from scratch with natural ingredients. Tall Tree Bakery offers delicious breads, pastries, baguette sandwiches, tea, coffee, and cold drinks. A great place to grab food before or after your rides. Parking right out front so you can watch your bikes while you order.
The Green Moustache is a vegan/raw food restaurant with awesome healthy food options and smoothies. There is a takeout fridge for quick and easy food that could be brought along for your mountain bike ride. A perfect place for a healthy recharge before or after riding. Great patio facing the Chief with a parking lot right in front to keep an eye on your bikes. Located downtown Squamish.
Downtown café with good coffee and lots of healthy and gluten free options. Small, funky space where you can expect to overhear conversations about rock climbing adventures and to see many a depressed rock climber on days when the rock might be too wet too climb on. Zephyr is a great spot with a funky feel and a small sidewalk patio. If you are lucky you can park right out front and keep an eye on your bikes while you re-fuel.
A food truck with a permanent home beside the Joinery and Cloudburst and on your way down from the university trails. Food is prepared with care and locally sourced, and you can eat inside at Cloudburst Café if the weather is less than perfect. Burger, sandwich, vegetarian, meat and gluten free options with a number of unique and delicious sides. Filling and very tasty spot for a post-ride meal.
Mag’s 99 Mexican Cantina and Fried Chicken
Fried chicken and Mexican food? Sounds weird but it’s awesome. This is a cool, quirky spot where the massive burritos are made with care and love. The location might leave something to be desired (it’s right on Hwy 99), but the food is delicious and the portions are almost comically large. Grab a burrito to go and eat it up in the Smoke Bluffs overlooking town.
This place is awesome… it is a must visit when you are in town. Perfect parking our front so you can watch your bikes, incredible beer and delicious pizza and salads. Don’t forget to get your growler filled up to take some suds with you as you go.
A-Frame Brewing Company
Excellent beer brewed in house with a selection diverse enough to please any palate. Kombucha is also on tap if you prefer to abstain. Industrial yet cozy feel with a space small enough to encourage socializing but big enough that you should be able to find a seat. If you choose your position wisely, you should be able to watch your bike in the parking lot. Fun outdoor patio too. Note that A-frame does not serve food, but there’s often a food truck out front and you can bring your food in.
Northyards Cider Co.
Craft brewed cider and an excellent menu with a focus on local ingredients; we highly recommend this spot. A new and welcome addition to Squamish.
Geo Cider Co.
Yes, another cidery! Also excellent in terms of both cider and food and highly recommended.
Howe Sound Brewing
Spacious timber frame pub with a good vibe and occasional live music. Great patio and downtown location near the water. Locals, university students, day-tripping Vancouverites and traveling adventurers gather here for tasty craft beer and decent food. A good spot for a post-ride pint or meal. Thin crust pizzas are your best bet and the specials sheet often has some good picks. We recommend the White Bark Wheat Ale, but watch out for that second or third pint as too much Brew Pub beer is know to deliver a nasty hangover.
Copper Coil Still and Grill
Louisiana style cooking. Portions are generous and the service is good. Window seating and an outdoor patio so you can watch your bike while you eat.
Situated on the banks of the Squamish river, the patio at the Watershed Grill overlooks the water and is one of the prettiest spots to sip a beer or polish off a burger in Squamish. Open for breakfast on weekends and serving up decent pub fare the rest of the time. Usually a decent selection of beer on tap.
Part of the Executive Suites Hotel, Norman Rudy’s is managed by the famous Gibbons group who run some of the best bars and pubs in Vancouver and Whistler. One of the best patios in Squamish, overlooking a former golf course with a gorgeous backdrop of mountains. A bit pricey for a pub, but still a great place to go for post ride drinks or pub fare.
Well-priced and tasty pub food in Valleycliffe; good selection of beer and lots of seating. One of Squamish’s newer pubs and so far we’re loving it!
Search for last minute deals on your Squamish mountain bike vacation and also search all available properties in Squamish:
For a list of RideSpots.com recommended accommodations see the properties that we have listed below…
Squamish Adventure Inn
The Squamish Adventure Inn and Hostel is located right at the entrance to town on a perfectly situated waterfront property and is walking distance to everything including restaurants, bike shops, grocery stores, and shopping. It is also just seconds away from the Valleycliffe trail network. A perfect staging area for your Squamish riding adventure!
Google Map Location: 38220 Highway 99, Squamish BC
Howe Sound Inn and Brewery
The Howe Sound Inn and Brewery is a classic Squamish venue. The adjoining pub is one of the best places in Squamish to unwind and have a meal and delicious brew pub beverage post ride. The rooms are funky, clean and nicely presented. The location is also awesome and the hotel is bike friendly, meaning you can bring your bike into the room if it is clean (but they are not yet set up with a workstation or bike wash).
Google Map Location: 37801 Cleveland Ave Squamish, BC
The Sandman Hotel in Squamish is centrally located and bike friendly. You can bring bikes into the rooms and they have onsite hoses for bike washing. The hotel also has a nice pool and pretty massive water-slide. The hotel is everything you would expect from a major chain hotel and is also fairly new. The prices are good and the location is awesome for staging your Squamish mountain bike vacation with the possibility of starting and finishing your ride right from your hotel room.
Google Map Location: 39400 Discovery Way, Squamish, BC
Executive Suites Hotel & Resort
The Executive Suites Hotel & Resort is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Squamish. The location is fantastic and the hotel is super bike friendly. The rooms are all set up as suites so you can cook if you tire of restaurant food while on the road. It’s just a short distance away from grocery stores, restaurants, bike shops and shopping. Originally the hotel was built on a golf course, but it seems more people in Squamish want to do other sports and the golf course has been converted into a Frisbee golf course, the perfect post ride wind down activity before you have dinner and drinks on the hotel’s awesome patio. This is one of our highly recommended places to stay in Squamish.
Google Maps Location: 40900 Tantalus Road Squamish, BC
Squamish Highlands Bed and Breakfast
Located in the Garibaldi Highlands on a street with some of the best views in town. You will be a stone’s throw from many of the major trails in Squamish with a relatively short uphill ride back home. This B&B is in a very nice neighborhood allowing for a peaceful escape and a local experience, but what you gain in views and setting, you lose in walk-ability.
Wonderland Valley Resort
13 acres of rainforest at the edge of town featuring RV camping, tenting and kitchenette hotel rooms. Ride your mountain bike or hike direct to the Alice Lake trail network from your camp. The campground is located close to the highway for easy access to town (about 3 mins away by car or 10 mins by bike). You’ll enjoy free wifi, a chill-lounge, private grassy camp sites and hot showers.
Google Map Location: 1796 Depot Road, Squamish
Klahanie Campground and RV Park
Klahanie Campground and RV Park is located just off the Sea to Sky highway at the base of Shannon Falls. The location is pretty cool and they even have boat-access camping for those who are fortunate enough to be doing their Squamish mountain bike holiday in a boat!
Google Maps Location: 36583 Darrell bay rd Squamish BC
BC Parks Campgrounds
BC Parks offer camping at a reasonable price around BC. We are providing the link here so that you can find all of the parks in the Sea to Sky area. The ones we recommend are Alice Lake (1st choice), Porteau Cove (Note: it is NOT in Squamish – 15 min drive south, but very picturesque if you get a good spot) or the Stawamus Chief Campground located right at the base of the Chief in Squamish.
Alice Lake Provincial Park and Campground
Alice Lake is perhaps the most popular provincial park and campground in Squamish. Camping, RV, Tent and Group sites are located a short stroll to the lake which is very popular and busy in the summer months. We find the campground to be a bit dark for our liking as it is nestled into big trees… but maybe you are looking for this? We prefer sunshine and views… however, you are camping right next to some of the very best trails in Squamish and the lake is right there, so in some ways the location is hard to beat. Expect to drive into Squamish for restaurants or other activities as this campground is located about 10 minutes out of town. Google Map Location.
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park and Campground
This campground is pretty cool as it is primarily a walk-in campground. It is mainly used by climbers in the summer due to its proximity to the Chief and the other main climbing in Squamish (Smoke Bluffs park). We think Alice lake is a better place for mountain bikers to stay (lake and really close to the riding), but the Chief location is pretty good too (a 5 min drive or 15 min ride into town) and the campground has a fun vibe due to the walk-in nature of the sites. No campers or RV’s. Google Map Location.
Porteau Cove Provincial Park and Campground
We like this campground. In fact many Squamish locals even stay here for mini getaways. It is located right on the ocean and the water is warm and inviting for a post ride dip in the summer months. There’s a mix of walk-in and drive-in sites that are suitable for tents or smaller campers. You can also book some really cool small log cabins if camping isn’t your thing. Note: this campground is about a 15 min drive South of Squamish so it is not too convenient as you are far from town and riding trails, but it is a fantastic camping location… one of our favorite campgrounds in the region.
To book any of these Provincial campgrounds:
The campground books up early so make sure you book ahead to reserve your spot!
Brohm Lake is probably the most popular locals’ swimming area in Squamish (Google Maps Link). Expect a short (1-2 mins) to medium (5-10 min) walk to your chosen swimming spot. There are no actual beaches at Brohm, but you will find awesome rocks to lounge on and leap off of into the cool clear waters of the lake.
Alice Lake is located in Alice Lake Provincial Park (Google Maps Link). The park has loads and loads of parking, sandy beaches, stand up paddle board rentals and canoe/kayak rentals as well as concession stands and bb-q areas. There’s an awesome kids’ bike park/skills area and various playgrounds for the little ones. The lake can be quite warm in the summer, but also very busy. Avoid this lake on busy summer weekends unless you get here early in the day or quite late in the afternoon/evening as it can be a zoo even just driving into the lake area.
Murrin Provincial Park
Murrin Provincial Park is located right off of highway 99 (Google Maps Link). This is an awesome spot to swim and for some reason is usually less busy than Alice Lake or Brohm Lake. Lots of easy free parking and easy highway access and the lake is deep and refreshing. Avoid it on busy summer Sunday afternoons though as there’s often a rush of traffic leaving Squamish and you might find yourself stuck in it. Otherwise though, this is a great spot for a quick dip.
Squamish is an unbelievable wind location with world class kite boarding and windsurfing Google Map Location. If you love to kite, but you’re here for a mountain bike trip make sure you bring your gear anyway. Lessons are also available if you want to learn how to kite while here. The wind picks up really consistently every day in the summer between 11 am and 1pm, and blows into the evening. For more go to the Squamish Windsports Society’s website.
Squamish has absolute world class rock climbing. The granite bluffs and the monolith of the Stawamus Chief offer climbing for every level of climber. If you are a rider that loves to climb, make sure you bring your gear with you… there is a chance that you end up putting your bike away and spending the rest of your trip climbing, but we doubt that… the Squamish bike trails definitely rival the Squamish rock. There is also a climbing gym in town, for information on that, check out our “rain day” chill tab. We won’t even attempt to get into the climbing in Squamish as that would require an entirely new website, hmmm… ClimbSpots.com… now there’s an idea. Just know that the climbing is amazing here and if you like to climb as much as you like to ride you should bring your gear!
Squamish has incredible white water kayaking opportunities. We don’t kayak so we can’t really comment on the kayaking, however, if you are a kayaker, we would feel bad knowing you arrived in town without your boat.
What a weird thing to put on a biking website… skiing?!? Well, Whistler/Blackcomb is just up the road and if you are here between December and April there is always the opportunity to do a morning of skiing and an afternoon of mountain biking. You can also ski tour up on Brohm Ridge or in Garibaldi Park Google Map Location.
Once again, we would need an entirely new website just to talk about the hiking opportunities in Squamish as they are endless. However, two of our favorites are the hike up to first peak on the Stawamus Chief Google Map Location and the hike up the Sea to Sky Gondola Google Map Location. If you need a day off the bike, but want some insane views and solid exercise then these hikes are really worth checking out.
For a flat walk, check out the beautiful Squamish River Estuary or Nexan Beach. You could also join hundreds of rabid tourists and go look at the base of Shannon Falls. These three walks are very short and suitable for kids and elders, and all three offer awesome views and easy access.
We know… Frisbee golf isn’t really a sport and maybe we should have listed it below in the Activities tab. But Squamish has a fun Frisbee golf course Google Maps Location located at the former golf course at the Executive Suites Hotel and Resort. It’s actually a tough course, complete with water and sand traps… be prepared to lose a few discs. This course isn’t free to play on, but it’s cheap and fun.
Squamish has one really good golf course, the Squamish Valley Golf and Country Club. We are not big golfers… but maybe you are?
Sea to Sky Air
Sea to Sky Air is a must-do if you are itching to get some serious airtime while visiting the Sea to Sky corridor or if you’d like to see what this amazing place looks like from up above. They offer scenic flights, air charters and flight training. They even have a float plane for remote lake and water access.
Goggle Map Location: 46041 Government Rd, Squamish, BC
Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is something you should make an effort to check out on your visit to Squamish. We don’t want to pump it up too much as it’s nice to leave an element of surprise, but when we say it’s a must-do, we mean it. Once up there you can go for a short 1km (ish) scenic walk, check out their suspension bridge, have a beer or a meal or even take off for a bigger multi hour hike if you are in the mood.
Goggle Map Location: 36800 Hwy 99 Squamish, BC
Indoor Rock Climbing
It rains sometimes in Squamish…. and when it does it can be a gloomy place, especially if you don’t feel like riding in the cold and wet. If you are having one of those days, but you still want some adventure, then you should check out the Ground Up Climbing Center.
Google Maps Location: 207-1201 Commercial Way, Squamish BC
Airhouse – Indoor Trampoline freestyle training center
The Airhouse is a progressive, freestyle training centre offering a wide range of trampoline and conditioning programs for everyone. It is an incredible spot to go and play or train for spacial awareness or just have fun. It’s also a fun place to take your kids if you happen to be traveling with them.
Google Maps Location: 1201 Commercial Way Squamish, BC
Britannia Mine Museum
The Britannia Mine Museum is a fantastic rain day activity. Learn about the area’s mining history and explore underground. You can even try your hand at gold panning. Definitely not your typical mountain bike road trip experience, but a great little educational side-track for sure!
Google Maps Location: 1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach, BC