The Squamish (or Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish language) is the name of the aboriginal people who have inhabited this part of southwest BC (including North and West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler, the areas surrounding the tributaries entering Howe Sound) since time immemorial. Squamish is the English pronunciation of Skwxwú7mesh, the traditionalautonym for the people. The name Keh Kait was the traditional name for the site of downtown Squamish.
The Skxwxu7mesh territory comprises 6,732 km2. The largest village of the Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish area is Chiyakmesh, which is in the area of Brackendale and is the namesake of the Cheakamus River. Another main village is located near the south entrance of town, St'a7mes, which lies below the Stawamus Chief, which gets its name from that village. Though within municipal boundaries, residents of these Indian Reserves are not governed by the municipality but are members of the Squamish Nation. It also includes villages in North Vancouver and a number of other reserves at Gibsons and elsewhere in the general region.
What Makes Squamish Special:
Squamish is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. Attractions include the Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massiffavoured by rock climbers. As well as over 300 climbing routes on the Chief proper, a majority of which require traditional climbing protection, there are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding Coast Mountains. In all, between Shannon Falls, Murrin Park, The Malamute, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, there are well over 1200 rock-climbing routes in the Squamish area (and another 300 or so climbs north of Squamish on the road to Whistler). In recent years, Squamish has also become a major destination for bouldering, with over 2500 problems described in the local guidebook.
Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all riders that can ride ultra-steep trails with huge gaps and steep rock surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre, cross-country, mountain-bike race held annually in late June. Limited to 800 riders, the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.
Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports in Squamish during the summer. Predictable wind on warm sunny days makes theSquamish Spit the top kiteboarding location in western Canada.
Squamish's extensive quality trail system is a key feature of an annual 50 mile ultra trail run, the Arc'teryx Squamish 50. Solo runners and relay teams run on many of the same trails as the Test of Metal, and pass through Alice Lake Provincial Park and Quest University. "The Double" is an award offered annually to the participant with the fastest combined time for both the Test of Metal and Arc'teryx Squamish 50.
Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.
For more information, please visit: Squamish Tourism