Squamish is home to some world-class hiking and there are mountain peaks no matter which direction you look. While trails like the Stawamus Chief, the Sea to Sky Trail and Crooked Falls are some of the more well-known hikes, the Slhanay Trail is one of the hidden gems in and around Squamish. The Slhanay Peak Trail, or Slhaney Trail as it is sometimes spelt, is just a few minutes from the town centre and has some exceptional views.
We are big fans of the famous hikes around Squamish, but if you really want to escape the crowds and still get incredible views and a decent workout, then we highly recommend completing the Slhaney hike. You’ll still encounter a few people along the trail but it is nothing like the crowds you’ll find at the Chief, even though it is only a few hundred metres away.
If you are looking for an awesome new hike, then we suggest adding this trail to your list.
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Slhanay Trail Overview
How to Get to the Shlanay Hike
From downtown Vancouver, head over the Lions Gate Bridge and then head west along the Trans-Canada Highway following signs for Whistler and Squamish. You will pass by the entrance to the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park and make sure to catch a glimpse of Shannon Falls as you drive by.
2 kilometres after the parking lot for the Stawamus Chief, there is a turnoff for the Mamquam River Forest Service Road on the righthand side. This is a gravel road off the right side of the highway that isn’t signposted and can be easy to miss. If you reach Chances Casino you have gone too far.
Although the trail is down a gravel road, it is very well maintained and you can get there in any type of car. The trailhead for this hike is only 1.7 kilometres down the forest service road and you’ll probably see cars parked around the trailhead. There isn’t really an official parking lot and you can just pull off to the side of the road to park your car.
The journey from downtown Vancouver should take no more than 1 hour if you are driving. It is possible to reach this hike via public transit but it will require an extra few kilometres of walking and a lot of transfers so keep this in mind if you are taking public transit.
Slhanay Peak Trail
When we hiked this trail there was a small boulder field next to where we parked our car on the side of the road. Just between the boulder field and the road, there was a porta-potty that was open for hikers to use.
The trailhead can be very easy to miss but is located on the righthand side of the road immediately after the boulder field. There is a small path and a sign to mark the trailhead, but it is well hidden in amongst the trees. We always recommend cross-referencing the trailhead with a GPS app such as the Maps.me app.
The trail takes you straight into a dense forest where you will be immediately surrounded by tall trees and lush green ferns. The trail is quite rugged and just a couple of minutes in you will climb a very short and steep section of the trail.
At the top of this climb is a junction and you need to go left at the fork. There are quite a few small trails that lead off the main trail and again we recommend checking you are on the right trail by referring to GPS on an app like Maps.me.
The trail climbs moderately and you will make your way over rocks and tree roots as you climb up through the forest. There are some orange markers along the trail but there aren’t as many as other trails and they can be easy to miss. After a few minutes the forest opens up a bit and you’ll see huge boulders covered in moss. It reminded us of Crooked Falls, another of the epic hikes around Squamish.
You will climb steeply through this type of terrain for about 25-minutes when you will come to a huge granite rockface. You traverse across a few boulders here, continuing to follow along the base of the granite rock face and you will start to get glimpses back towards Squamish as you look back.
After following along this rock face for a few minutes you will then head back into the forest before climbing a steep section of dirt switchbacks. At the top of the switchbacks is another junction and you will need to take the path to the right.
This section of the trail is carved right into the side of the mountain and is very narrow, with a sharp dropoff on the right-hand side. It is fairly easy to navigate but you will want to take your time and be careful on this short section of the trail. As you walk along, there is another fork in the trail and you will want to go left to continue upwards.
Poxy Crag and Valley Viewpoint
There is a bit of a narrow path that hugs the side of the mountain but as you round the corner you’ll reach Poxy Crag viewpoint. This is marked by a small wooden sign that is nailed to a tree. Follow the trail down a few metres and the trees open slightly to give you a cool view over Squamish town and your first partial glimpse of the Chief and Howe Sound.
Shortly after Poxy Crag is an even better viewpoint called the Valley, again marked by a small wooden sign hammered into one of the trees. This is a larger and more open viewpoint with even better views of the Chief and Howe Sound and there were a few hikers enjoying their lunch as we stopped in for a quick look.
Just after this viewpoint is another fork in the trail and you should take the path on the left. Shortly after this, you will come to a 4-way junction where you will turn left. The trail remains flat for a few minutes which is a nice break about halfway through the hike. The trail climbs briefly then descends again and you will see a path off to your left, but just stay straight on the path for now.
At around the 3-kilometre mark, you will find the turnoff for Tony’s Lookout, which is one of the highlights of the entire hike. This trail can be very easy to miss as there is only a small wooden sign on a tree that says lookout and then as you follow the path there is another sign a few metres in that says ‘Tony’s Lookout’.
Follow this trail for a few minutes through the trees and you will be spat out onto the top of a giant, open rock face. From here you get stunning views over the backside of the Chief and down into Squamish. There is even a picture-perfect bench right at the viewpoint so you can rest your legs and soak in the beautiful views.
To continue to the peak, follow the lookout trail back to the main path and continue onwards. You will then come to what looks like a logging road where you will turn left. Walk along this road for about 350 metres until you see a path on the left-hand side of the road. You’ll need to keep a close eye out for this path as you can easily walk straight past it, just like we did.
It is a steep climb up through the rocks from the road but it does mellow out a bit quite quickly. You will come to another 4-way junction and you will want to take the path to your left to proceed. Enjoy the quiet, moss-covered forest as you gradually climb up before reaching a ridgeline where you will get some beautiful views of the surrounding mountain peaks.
Continue along the trail for a few more minutes and you will reach Slhaney Peak. From here it truly opens up and you will get 360-degree views of the Chief, Squamish, Garibaldi and the surrounding mountains. The scenery up here is sensational and makes the effort you put in to get up here all worth it.
Sit and enjoy some lunch or a snack before you make your way back down again. For the most part, the trail is the same route home but you will see the option to take an exceptionally steep route to get back more quickly just a few minutes from the top. You can actually come up this way but it is a brutal slog so we recommend following our suggested route so the climb up is never too difficult, even though it is longer.
Expect to take around 3-4 hours to complete the Slhanay Trail. There are a lot of epic views in this part of the world and this is no exception. Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of having to share it with very few people. We had Tony’s Lookout completely to ourselves and there were only 4 other people at the summit when we arrived.
This is a super hike and one we would definitely recommend for your next adventure around Squamish. What’s your favourite hike in Squamish or your favourite hidden gem like this one?
Looking for more hikes near Squamish? Check out some of our other guides here: