Kayaking the Squamish River

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The secret is out about Squamish and people are flocking here from all over the world. The draw? The adventure.

It is not unusual on any given day to see paragliders soaring overhead, trail runners and mountain bikers head-to-toe in dirt, or climbers scaling the walls of the Stawamus Chief. If you head down to the sandy banks of the river you’ll see canoes, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks float by. As Squamish locals, it was time to give water adventure a try.

Kayakers reaching the end of the Squamish River and entering the Howe Sound.

Reaching the Howe Sound at the end of the Squamish River.

Before joining the tour, we had limited kayaking experience. Our guide quickly reassured us with an introductory talk to review all the essentials. We learned how to feel comfortable in the kayak, how to control it on the water and what to expect during the tour. By the time we pushed off shore and into the flow of the wide, green Squamish River, we were excited for what lay ahead.

Walking back to our kayaks before completing the next section of the river.

Walking back to our kayaks before completing the next section of the river.

As we floated down the river, we saw eagles in the trees and seals popping in and out the water as they swam beside us. Black bears are a rare sight, but our guide did draw our attention to fresh prints along the sandy shores. We had the feeling that a bear could probably see us through the trees but remained hidden in the forest.

Kayaking on the Squamish River.

A selfie moment while on the water.

We continued on until the fresh water met the salty water of Howe Sound. The views were simply panoramic. Sky Pilot Mountain, Mount Garibaldi, Stawamus Chief and the white ribbon of Shannon Falls cascading into the sea surrounded us.

We pulled our kayaks out of the ocean, loaded back onto the bus, and in no time at all we were all back at the Squamish Adventure Centre saying goodbye to our guide. Smiling faces and tired arms. Ready for a warm drink at a cozy Squamish cafe.

Kayaking a channel on the Squamish River

Kayaking a channel on the Squamish River.

On your next visit to Squamish, try something new and head for the river. Stare at the Stawamus Chief from far below, instead of the other way around. If you are an experienced kayaker, you can rent them and self-paddle the river. If you are new to kayaking or just getting to know Squamish, hire a guide. The service removes a lot of the hassle. Besides, it’s your vacation, and you don’t want to spend it figuring how to strap four kayaks to your rental car. Let someone else handle that.

The Stawamus Chief and Sky Pilot Mountain showing off as we float down the river.

The Stawamus Chief and Sky Pilot Mountain showing off as we float down the river.

The Sea to Sky Adventure Company is a great option for a trip down the river. The Guided Squamish River Kayak Tour costs $99.

Kayaking is just one of the water-based adventures in Squamish. Call or stop in at the Squamish Adventure Centre to find out how else you can get on the water.