I am an avid hiker with a focus on easy to moderate trails in natural settings. I occasionally do harder trails.
The Estuary Trail Is an Easy Adventure
Squamish is renowned with hikers for the abundance of trails that can be chosen from. On the difficult side, there's the Slhanay Trail and the trail up "The Chief." On the moderate side, there's the Alice Lake area, namely the Four Lakes Trail. For a trail that is unequivocally easy but that still provides a great viewpoint at the end, go to the west of the downtown area and locate The Estuary Trail.
Many trails in the world have been designated as "easy." However, oftentimes these trails might actually feature a really annoying hill. It seems that some hikers when they are already in shape, forget what's easy and what's difficult for the casual walker.
Squamish's Estuary Trail has no hill—if all you do is walk around each day performing your normal day-to-day tasks, you'll still be in shape for this trail. Accordingly, it's a good trail for someone easing into a fitness routine or someone that just doesn't want to get too physical while enjoying the outdoors.
Estuary Trail Location and Specifics
I like the Estuary Trail to warm up my legs. When I take this trail, it's usually not a stand-alone adventure for the day: I am warming up for something else.
- The trail can be accessed at Bailey Street in between the train tracks and the estuary that rests at the base of Howe Sound. Fog Google Map coordinates, use 49.70638475839422, -123.15634758345608 and you won't be that far away from the trail. I included a map below to help you out.
- The elevation gain on this trail is a whopping seven meters. Spread out over 4.3 kilometers, you just don't notice the gain. It's great for people that don't mind keeping their dogs on their leashes, it's friendly for young ones, there are chances to bird-watch, and the view at the end is pretty amazing for a trail that doesn't elevate.
- AllTrails.com describes it as a 4.3-kilometer trail that is "moderately tracked out and back." Typically, on this short trail, I encounter between 5–10 people. I've never bumped into a situation that I felt was sketchy. It may be close to a 'downtown' area but downtown Squamish is pretty mild.
A Mountain View Trail in Squamish
Usually, when you hike trails in Squamish it's to get somewhere high so that you can overlook the town of Howe Sound. I have several pictures of myself in Squamish doing just that. But with The Estuary Trail, you are walking to an open area to get a nice view of the surrounding mountains.
The area is known for strong winds. People go to Howe Sound in order to go kite surfing. The surfers were out on my last visit to this trail but they didn't show up in the following video. Furthermore, some distance markets like Shannon Falls barely showed up. Unfortunately, my action camera is meant to be lightweight and that inherently brings in limitations. If you have a nice zoom feature on your camera, then I think you'll find some nice chances for photography out in this area.
In the following video, I am not at the absolute end of the trail. More correctly, I'm near the end. As you can see it's not the widest trail but I would call it just comfortable enough. In the video, I show the wetlands and try to give an indication of the nice view of the distant Chief. This mountain is the main symbol of the town of Squamish. Chances are that you've seen this mountain before in some kind of marketing.
View of the Chief From Squamish's Estuary Trail
Another Easy Trail in Squamish
If "easy" is your choice for the day and you want more than just the Estuary Trail, then take Cleveland Avenue across the Sea-to-Sky Highway. You'll be on Loggers Lane and soon, on your right, you'll find a huge parking lot for the Smoke Bluffs.
Do not take the trails in the park or you will be huffing and puffing very quickly. However, you can go across the street where you will find a small network of trails that meander in a forest setting.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.