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August 28, 2009

Squamish—General Information

Filed under: BC 2009, General Mountain Bike Travel, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 6:27 am

Bed Race contestants

Bed Race contestants

For those considering a mountain biking trip to Squamish, I’m including some basic information in this section to get you started.  Though we’ve spent a lot of time in Squamish, the percentage of trails on the map that we have ridden is low.  There are so many trails there and we HAVE to re-ride our favorites.  That being said, the bike shops have been directing us to some prime offerings and those have been reflected in our choices.  And did I mention that the riding in Squamish could be the best anywhere?



Riding areas:


You’ll find much more detailed information about the different riding areas in the trip reports.  There are three main riding areas in Squamish.


Garilbaldi Highlands


This is a relatively gently sloped area south of Alice Lake Provincial Park.  Access is possible from the Park or at entrances in the neighborhood at the end of Perth.  The easiest climbs are Mashiter and Jack’s Trail.  Though overall the slope of the of the area is gentle, some of the steepest drops we’ve seen in Squamish are in this area.   These drops are often on steep slabs of granite that have been shaped by glaciers.

Our prime destination trails in this area:

Hardest (no order):

  • Marc My Word
  • Value Added
  • Entrails
  • Plural of Nemesis

A little easier:

  • Credit Line
  • Don’t Tell Jude
  • Crouching Squirrel Hidden Monkey


Diamondhead Peak


For us, Diamondhead Peak is a shuttle area though many climb to the lower trails.  We shuttle to the parking areas near the 19th Hole trailhead.  The upper trails in this area start steeply down the hill.  Our favorite route from the top is Powersmart.  New School riders will like P-Nuts and 19th Hole.

Lower down there are numerous options and a map is useful to connect the trail segments together.  A climbable old road cut separates the upper and lower trails, opening up many route options.

Still lower is the Powerhouse Plunge, Hoods in the Woods, Pseudotsuga, and Word of Mouth.  All of these are entertaining and very different from each other.

We’ve explored much in this area, but there are still a bunch of route options that remain to be explored by us.

Our prime destination worthy trails in the Diamondhead Peak Area:

Harder:

  • Powersmart
  • The Powerhouse Plunge

Easier:

  • Angry Midget
  • Word of Mouth
  • Recycle
  • Hoods in the Woods
  • Pseudotsuga


Valleycliffe


There’s an extensive trail network in this area though we’ve never ridden in it.  We’ve been told that trail finding is hard, the trails are inconsistently labeled, and some of the older trails are blown out and not much fun.  It has also been said that there’s some choice stuff in this area, if you know where to look and how to connect it all together.  There is annual ride/tour/race, Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls, which seems to be a good way to visit this area.

Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls:

http://cynicalsunshine.com/cynicalbvodpress_2008.html

Trying to whistle during the Bed Races

Trying to whistle during the Bed Races

Bike shops:


The two shops we’ve visited most frequently are Corsa (near Squamish’s downtown near Nester’s, they carry Specialized and Trek) and Tantalus (behind the Canadian Tire on the northern end of town, they stock Kona, Giant, Rocky Mountain, and Santa Cruz).  Both bike shops are well stocked and provide enthusiastic trail advice.  On our previous visit, we stopped at the cool, one-man shop in Brackendale, Republic Bicycles.  Republic carries Jamis bikes.

Corsa:  http://www.corsacycles.com/

Tantalus: http://www.tantalusbikeshop.com/default.asp

Republic: http://www.riderepublic.com/


Maps:


The trails in Squamish are a web, constantly changing, and inconsistently signed.  A good, up-to-date trail map is essential for finding your way around independently.  When we visit, two good maps were available at the bike shops and at the Adventure Center.  The information on the two maps is roughly equal.  The smaller and cheaper map disintegrated in our pockets after a few rides so the investment in the larger, waterproof map was worth it.

Camp at Dryden Creek Resorts

Camp at Dryden Creek Resorts


Camping:


Dryden Creek Resorts:

We’ve been staying at Dryden Creek Resorts.  Dryden Creek is not the most luxurious of RV Parks, but it is location is super convenient for riding in the Garibaldi Highlands.  The campground itself sits at the base of a rock cliff and is well forested and has plenty of grass.

http://www.drydencreek.com/


Alice Lake Provincial Park:


We’ve ridden by Alice Lake Provincial Park and would stay here.  Alice Lake is very central for riding.  The campground itself is forested and looks like national and state campgrounds everywhere.  Be warned, however, that camping spots for July and August are reserved very early, particularly for the weekends.  As far as I can tell, there are no hook-ups.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/alice_lk/


Eagle Vista RV Park:


Eagle Vista RV Park opened up recently.  The landscaping hasn’t quite grown in on this one yet but the spaces are large and suitable for big rigs.  For riding, this location is closer to the Valleycliffe area but not as convenient to the Garibaldi Highlands.

http://www.eaglevistarv.com/

DSC_0829


Food:


Food is not Squamish’s strong suit.  Places that we have found that we like are:


Chef Big D’s (38040 Cleveland in downtown Squamish)

This is a good option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Chef Big D’s offers great diner favorites with a modern flair and large portions.


The Wigan Pier (behind the Canadian Tire Store on the north end of town off 99)

The Wigan Pier is good for fish and chips and a beer.  We also liked the high quality frozen meat pies that we bought and took with us.


Grocery Stores:


Nesters (just off of 99 near Squamish’s downtown)

We liked Nesters Grocery store much more than Extra Foods (a.k.a., Leftover Foods).  We didn’t go to the Save On Foods, though this is a decent chain in Vancouver.

And don’t miss the Farmer’s Market on Cleveland in the downtown area (Saturday 10-3 during the Summer).

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