NTS Map: 92G14. High Falls Creek is stunning; try to choose a clear day for this 12 km hike and get impressive views of the creek itself, the magnificent mountains of the Tantalus Range and over the Squamish Valley. A good part of your elevation gain involves scrambling over rocks and boulders, fairly steep right from the beginning. Often, the ascent borders right along the canyon, however, chains and ropes give you support.
This may not be your perfect hike if you are afraid of heights or on a wet day, since the bluffs may be quite slippery. Your ascent will also be rewarded by an extensive wildlife--moss gardens, yellow on the rocks, luscious green in the forest, violets, dogwood trees, and others. On our descent on the logging road, we 'followed' a hummingbird for quite some time. Watch out, one person in our group scared up a black bear, while filling up his water supply at a small creek (less than 1 km after we hit the logging road for our descent). Above hiking time of 5 hours includes one-hour lunch break at the top of the bluffs.
From Squamish, at the traffic lights at Cleveland avenue, go north on Highway 99 for about 10 km. Turn left onto Squamish Valley Road, across from Alice Lake Provincial Park. Another 3.5 km farther, keep left at the fork. Continue, after about 19 km, the asphalt road turns into gravel. Stay on this S-main road, ignoring a bridge across the Squamish River on your left. Then cross over a wooden bridge next to a power station on your right (you can't miss it!). Shortly, you'll see the bridge crossing over High Falls Creek. Park your car just before that bridge.
To get to the trailhead, walk north across the bridge. Watch for flagging tapes and a sign on a tree, marking your turnoff to your right. It quickly becomes a relatively steep trail, with scrambles over rocks and boulders.
The trail is fairly well marked with flagging tape, and a couple of signs pointing out worthwhile views. More climbing brings you to a small rock gully with a bluff on your right. This spot offers a variety of great views. After that, the trail enters forest and levels out. It swings left first, then back to the creek, but high above it. Leaving the trees, you'll enter a more open area with young conifers and a variety of fauna. Getting to the logging road, which you can see to your left, involves a final scramble over a rock slide. Stay fairly high here and look for the cairns that mark the route.
Once you're on the road, turn left, and head back towards the Squamish Valley. Walking along the road is a nice alternative to climbing down the bluffs, and this less exciting route will be enhanced by some more beautiful views.
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Posted By: theoneandonlychevy
- Wed Apr 17 12:09:40 EDT 2013
Upsidegreat views, the falls were quite spectacular due to the spring melt. The ropes and scrambles gave it a fun challenge :)
DownsideThe second half of the loop was down a logging road. BORING! I would have preferred to return the way I came. Also the trailhead was difficult to find as the bushes had grown over during winter and the signage had washed away
CommentI was irritated trying to find the trailhead. If you have 103 hikes it is unreliable as the milage they give you is inaccurate to the trailhead. Plus the sign for the trailhead was washed and illegible. Basically, look for a sign on a tree on the left that says 22 3/4 and the trail will be on the right side of the road, about 100m beyond the bridge. After this struggle it was smooth sailing. It was a really enjoyable hike (for the first half anyways). I would definitely advise not to do it on a slippery day or before the snow has melted (sometimes markers are scarce and you are following only a beaten trail). I would definitely recommend it to try once, but its not something I'd do many times. Happy hiking :)
Posted By: Centurion
- Tue May 29 03:34:22 EDT 2012
UpsideSome amazing viewpoints, challenging climbing sections, beautiful forested grove, the waterfall is really quite a sight.
DownsideAwful 3-4km hike out on a boring, exposed logging road.
CommentThis hike has soo much potential, but sadly the last section of it spoils the hike. It can essentially be broken down into 2 parts- the awesome first section which includes a challenging and rewarding scale up the mountainside with some stunning viewpoints and the falls-- followed by an awful 3-4km exposed hike out on a logging road.
The trail follows the creek up some fun rope sections and has a number of interesting viewpoints, followed by a stunning grove just before the logging road. This part is amazing. I think if you drove your 4x4 vehicle up the road and dumped it (or some bikes) at the top of the logging road exit this could be an amazing journey.
Despite the strong initial section I can't recommend this hike. The logging road is comprised of long meandering switchbacks with no shade. It drags on and on... It really put a damper on an otherwise awesome and challenging hike.
Posted By: jlwarren26
- Mon Oct 24 14:01:33 EDT 2011
UpsideThe hike offers gorgeous views and nice variations between viewing spots and deep woods. If you're looking for quick elevation changes then this is a great hike; you're definitely heading up basically from the very beginning until you finish back onto the road, but I'd caution going on a wet day because the rock areas would be quite slick. Nice length for a short day hike and not too far out of Vancouver. Easy parking and very few people. We only saw one other group the whole day.
DownsidePersonally the only downside is if you take the road back down to the parking area. Although it offers some beautiful views, it is much less challenging and does get somewhat boring by the end.
Posted By: jeffvm
- Sat Jul 03 22:53:53 EDT 2010
UpsideGreat views, fun climbing, no crowds.
DownsideNone really. Plenty of valley views, but no exposed mountaintop vista if that's your thing. A few sheer drops and sections of climbing with chain assistance- not an appropriate trail for kids or dogs.
CommentNice to be well away from the Chief crowds. The description of the initial climb up the trail seemed ominous, but we paced ourselves nicely and found the hike to be pretty manageable. Halfway up you take in your last view of the valley below and head into a lush, cool forest. From here on in the elevation gain is much more gradual.
The logging road return is worthwhile in my opinion. There are great views of the valley for most of the walk down. And there wouldn't be much more gained hiking down the same trail again- and the steep parts would require caution going down. Could be hot on a sunny day though. We finished this hike in 3h45min.
Posted By: hobbit
- Tue Jun 16 17:09:27 EDT 2009
UpsideIf you enjoy Grouse Grind and the final climbing part up Stawamus Chief, then you'll love this trail! We only ran into 5 different groups of people (on weekend).
DownsideThe heat was suffocating. The wind was hot until we got much higher, as that valleyed area doesn't receive the cool Pacific wind. It felt 30+ Celsius while the weatherman said it'd be 20 Celsius. This made it much more difficult and tiring than it actually is.
Views not as good as Stawamus Chief's.
It's quite a long drive from Vancouver.
CommentIt took us 3.25 hrs (lunch/rests included) to reach to the logging road. Returning along to same path required <2.5 hrs. (We thought coming down the 6-km logging road in the hot sun would be boring.)
Bring more water than you think you need. And keep some extra beverages in the car.
Too much scrambling for us to use trekking poles.
Posted By: omoritz
- Mon Aug 13 18:05:55 EDT 2007
UpsideVery nice trail.
DownsideDifficult to navigate out of the clearcut area back to the logging road...rough going if you lose the trail, although the destination is always obvious. The trail splits near the clearcut, and it is possible to continue along a well marked trail following the direction of the creek, or cross the clearcut to the logging road for the return route to the valley. Not clear what eventually happens if you continue along the creek.
CommentThe route back on the logging road has its benefits, namely avoiding steep downhill scramble for those who dislike that sort of thing, and excellent panoramic views of the valley.
Posted By: Adam+Laura
- Fri Jan 05 01:56:02 EST 2007
UpsideGreat trail, we have done it twice over the last six years. Try and go when the waterfall will be the biggest. I would assume that is in early spring after some serious raining.
DownsideThe ropes and chains might be slippery when wet.
CommentGotta do this hike, it is a must for any Vancouver based hiker.
Posted By: cboese
- Tue Jun 27 11:56:27 EDT 2006
UpsideGreat little hike to do early on in the season. The waterfalls are always a great spot. I have been up here a couple of times and just enjoy a quick jaunt to the falls and back. I love the variety in terrain....chains and all!
DownsideThere are currently lots of blowdowns...and I mean Lots. We got lost in them and couldn't find our way up the cliff face for the longest time...almost gave up. Met some other people who also had the same problem.
Comment2.5 Hours allows for a nice walk to the falls and back.
Posted By: linslux
- Sun May 21 03:28:52 EDT 2006
CommentOne more thing...might not be a bad idea to (in a group scenario...) to take two cars. Both cars go up the logging road to the top (the beautiful log bench area)...then leave one car there, take the other back to the trailhead. It will save knees, spirit, energy!
Posted By: linslux
- Sun May 21 03:25:10 EDT 2006
UpsideBeautiful trail, we found it well marked *May 20, 2006* Really interesting variety of scenery...forest...rockface...flatlands...incredible!
DownsideWhoever rated this trail at "average" is obviously a very very seasoned hiker and in amazing shape. I am in shape, hike every weekend, and found this trail "difficult"...
CommentThe entire first 3 hours are UP UP UP UP. The chains and ropes are alot of fun, take advantage when you get them, but this trail is hard. My boyfriend preferred to just use the stones as grips on these climbs, but it's personal preference. Do NOT take a dog on this hike, it's too hard. It's a very rocky terrain. Just when you think you're at the top...you're not. The only time you descend for real is at the logging road. You're pulling yourself up by large boulders and roots, relying on trees for leverage...just be prepared. Also...at the bottom of the logging road, carry on to the left...it's about another 15 minutes walk once you hit the flat of the logging road.
Posted By: llposkit
- Tue Aug 23 00:07:59 EDT 2005
UpsideReally fun, great views. Nice variance in the terrain.
DownsideSometimes a little hard to find the trail. I had a hard time figuring out where to go towards the end across the rock slide, but the rock piles helped!
CommentI don't know why it didn't occur to me that the tough beginning wasn't a great hike for the dog, but it isn't! I think it's partly that our dog isn't brave, but also that it's a little too steep for canine comfort. So other dense pet owners, be ware!
Posted By: Gemini_Jen
- Fri Jul 29 01:22:52 EDT 2005
UpsideThis was a great hike with lots of stunning views of waterfalls, glaciers and valleys. It was well marked and the chains and ropes were appreciated on the steep parts. There is a great bench on the logging road (very close to the "top" of the trail and provides a great spot for lunch.
DownsideIt took us awhile to find the trailhead, but it's bound to happen if your guidebook is 20 years old!
CommentWe had an awesome day hiking this trail. It took us 4.5 hours with the long logging road option down. Unlike others, I suggest taking the logging road down if your knees are shot or even sore. It is a little boring in terms of walking but the views are still stunning. I want to keep my knees for the ski season!
Posted By: tanyah
- Thu May 06 01:26:22 EDT 2004
UpsideAmazing views of Tantalus range and Squamish River valley. The waterfall is beautiful (good excuse to stop for short breaks). Going up, there are ropes to help you up the rocky parts and views down the cliffs make the trip up go fast.
DownsideLogging road isn't great, but it's easy and the footing is good enough to run down if you get bored. Also, the drive out is a long (~25 km), but it is good road and paved most of the way.
CommentAfter the last view, if you head to the logging road, the trail splits. There were a number of trees down when we went, so had to look for the blazes. At this point, you can go left for less logging road or right (which will take you a bit higher and add about a 1/2 hour). Total time = 4 hours.
Posted By: trishkaka
- Mon Jun 23 11:32:29 EDT 2003
UpsideThe hike up was beautiful. The falls are amazing and the view of Squamish River is also delightful. The hike itself was fun, there's something about scrambling over rocks and boulders. There are many fixed ropes to help you up and they add to the fun and adventure of this trail. On a side note, the drive there was fun too! The actual trailhead is almost 30km from Highway 99. This would seem annoying but the road is pretty, there isn't much traffic, and the cows and horses along the way are cute. :)
DownsideThe logging road down. I can see why it isn't recommended to descend the way you came but it's frustrating. I was following a book that said the junction for BR 200 was 2km - it seemed a lot farther! We had to second guess ourselves a few times. There are also spots where you can see the logging road stretching for km's - not a pretty sight when your legs are tired. That road is the only reason I didn't give the trail an "excellent" rating.
CommentDon't despair when you see the logging road going up - there IS a junction even though we almost turned around. This trail is definitely worth the climb. I went on a moderately sunny day and only saw two people. There's something great about a trail with small amounts of people traffic.
Posted By: misty
- Mon Jun 09 11:48:57 EDT 2003
UpsideGreat views of the canyon, waterfalls and the mountain ranges surrounding the trail. We went on a beautiful sunny day, and the views were amazing.
DownsideWe had read on another website that the logging road down was only 1.5 km, it was, in fact, 6 km down from the trail. Unless spending half your time walking down a logging road is your ideal hike, I would suggest taking the trail back down.
CommentRoundtrip, it took us 3.5 hours with a lunch stop at the upper bluffs.