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The Chief's Rock, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, April 2007.

The Chiefs Rock North of Squamish, BC. Rock face is 600 m high. View from the North.

The town of Squamish is dominated by a large granite dome. Except for the Dome in Yosemite, this is said to be the largest dome in North America.

Same, but nearby.

The Chiefs Rock North of Squamish, BC. View from the South. Trails up are in the forest on the right side. The lower trail follows the gully.

The rock wall is up to 600 m high and a rock climbers paradise.

The rock is also famous for day hikes and mountain running. The trails are steep and rocky, but are well-maintained. Steep parts have wooden stairs and steel ladders.

Near the top, barren steep rocks with a chain as an aid (right hand Ian).

There are three tops and the trails are well-indicated. The first top is most popular and takes about two hours up and one hour down not counting rest breaks. Visiting all three tops, doing a circular walk takes around six hours.

After parking the car you walk up a forest road and pass a small camp site in between giant trees. The first part of the trail is a steep wooden staircase, changing to a steep rocky path until the sign on a wooden post for the three tops. This takes about one hour.

Signs to the first, second and third top in the forest.

At the sign post you have a choice what top to take, the first, second or third. For each top you have to go up and down around 200 m.

Large granite boulders are visible at some spots. This is caused by typical preferential weathering of granites in round shapes as granite is very homogeneous.

Large granite boulder formed by preferential weathering.

The last 50 m of the first top consists of a dome of barren rocks, mostly granite with lots of mafic (blsck) inclusions.

Last 50 m to the top on barren rocks. Dark spots are mafic inclusions. View South at the sea and the main Highway to Vancouver.

From the top you have a splendid view at the Wabush Valley [1] and the sea.

Top, view at the sea and the Wabush Valley.

From the first top [Ian on top] you also see the second and third top. There is no direct trail to the second top and you have to go back the way you came, back to the junction where the first and second top trails splits.

View from the first top to the second and third top. No direct connecting trail.

At the top there is a spot where you can lie on your belly and look straight down 600 m.

Staying overnight is a very nice experience, I was told in Whistler by Holy Walker who used to climb the rock face. I can imagine the silence, lights in the distance, no wind and sounds that carry very far at night. In the morning you would have a beautiful sun rise.


The hike is reasonably demanding as the trail is rocky and slippery, and steep in places. On the top it could be cold, especially in the early spring and autumn. A full trip to the first top takes about 3 hours, not counting rests.

This is not a walk in the park. Still, you see many day hikers with poor walking shoes.

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