View from the top of the Stawamus Chief
View from the top of the Stawamus Chief

Location: From Vancouver take the BC 99 N for 53 km. Turn Right onto Mamquam River Service Forest Road. The trail head is straight ahead.

Distance & Elevation Gain:  1.5 km 1st Peak (3 km round trip), 540 m

Difficulty: Difficult.

Child Carrier Accessible: Carrier access only. Although it is short a good time up the mountain is under and hour because it is steep.

Facilities: Outhouses, Picnic Tables.

Restaurants: Close to Squamish. We like Zephyr Café  for the coffee and their delicious lunch options. Although we have never been we have heard that The Watershed Grill is a great restaurant.

Trail Description/Our Adventure: The view of the ocean, mountains and the town of Squamish is honestly incredible. You decide after reading this story if this is a hike you want to do with your baby.

chief cam and etta

Is there anything that you could do before you were pregnant that you are unable to do because of exhaustion after your baby was born? Well I was not able to do the same amount of activity while I was pregnant and then it took me about a year to gain my fitness back. Hiking the Chief was one of those milestones on my way to regaining my fitness. For me it truly has been 9 months on and 1 year off before I start feeling like myself again postpartum.
 chief ladder
A 3 1/2 hour short but somewhat grueling hike that my husband and I used to love to do before we had our first daughter was the Stawamus Chief in Squamish. Squamish is one of our favourite places because it is close to both Vancouver and Whistler with tons outdoor activities right out your backdoor. Not to mention that it is both in the mountains and on the ocean. The view of the Howe Sound on top of The Chief is breathtaking and as soon as I felt that I was in shape enough after giving birth to our first daughter we decided to tackle the Chief with her.
*There are three peaks on The Chief. Without our daughter we tackled all three peaks in roughly the same time we tackled one of the peaks with her.
The thing with The Chief is that the first peak is only 1.5 km hike but it has an incline of 540 metres over those 1.5 km (i.e. it is steep!).
The trail starts off going up stairs beside the waterfall for a good chunk of time. Eventually the stairs end and you go up a rocky trail. Then you head left around the mountain where you tackle more stairs. After the stairs you hit some bit rocks where you hold onto chains to get you up the steep scramble portion. After follow the trail to the top and enjoy the amazing view. We did this with our daughter in a Baby Bjorn. We passed lots of people with older kids who kept saying “I remember coming up here when they were her age!”

Note: By the time I was finished the hike I was more out of breath and a little light headed. I had never experienced this from hiking the Chief before. It just goes to show how tough it can be to get back into hiking shape after having a kid.

chief chain
Going up the the mountain using the chain.

As Cam was taking Etta up and down the chain and the ladder I said to him “are you ok? do you need help?” He said he was “Fine” but was just trying to keep me from stressing out. Once we finished descending all the chains he said to me “That was a little stressful”. We both smiled and had a little laugh as we continued down the hike. Now you might think we are crazy but what I love about trails in Squamish is that you pass so many people with kids. A couple with a 10 year old and a 7 year old passed us and said ‘I remember doing this hike when these guys were that little.” It is just so normal to bring kids into the outdoors in Squamish! I love it!!!

By Annika
By Annika Mang
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