October 14, 2009 | Tips from Us >
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The Grouse Grind is considered “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, but the Stawamus Chief trail comes a close second. I know this because my thighs are still burning two days later.
This past weekend, three of us tackled the Chief to burn off calories from the previous night’s indulgent camping dinner (Kraft dinner, marshmallows, wine). I was looking forward to checking out the second peak route, as I’d only been to the first peak on previous Chief hikes.
The first and second peaks share the same trail for most of the journey. It’s steep, rocky and rooty. The trail was busy, but not packed, and there were lots of dogs hiking with their owners (patting friendly dogs is a good excuse for a break).
Near the top, the trail splits and the route to the second peak gets a little more challenging than the route to the first. Like the first peak, there are chains to help climb up and around the huge slabs of rocks, but they required a little more attention.
That being said, though, there were some children (maybe aged 7 and 10?) with their dad on the route; we stopped to give them a hand climbing the rocks and chains. They did great! It’s always awesome to see young kids out in the woods. They took it slow and steady and made it to the top with everyone else.
It took us an hour to hike up, and less time down. The trail was dry, but if there was a recent rainfall it would have slick, especially on the rocks.
The view of the water, mountains and Squamish was fantastic, and it was neat to see the first peak from the second peak. If you have the energy, I’d recommend the second peak over the first to avoid crowds. Feeling really energetic? There’s a third peak with even less people.