High Falls Creek – Squamish Valley Hike

High Falls Creek – Squamish Valley Hike

High Falls Creek - A great hike past an amazing waterfall near Squamish in CanadaHigh Falls is amaaaaazing! Seriously, this is my favourite waterfall hike near Vancouver far. I think it is because the High Falls Creek trail feels so wild as you need to pull yourself up cliffs with chains, and it just feels like real wilderness. It felt like we went on an epic adventure, even though we were only out for a few hours. This trail does not seem to be well known like the other hikes we’ve been on recently, so we only saw one other hiker and a couple of cyclists the whole time. Anyway the views were spectacular even on a soggy day, so it would be even prettier with a bit of sunshine.

This was the second waterfall adventure of our wedding anniversary. If you’d prefer an easier place to explore, have a look at Crystal Falls in Coquitlam that we did the previous day.

High Falls Creek – the basics

Distance: 11km 
Elevation Gain:
High Point:
Time: 4.5 hours
What to bring:  
Water, snacks and your camera!
We brought the 10 essentials.
Facilities: No facilities.
Dogs: I don’t think this one is suitable for dogs, unless you want to carry them up the edge of the canyon.
How hard is it? Intermediate; It’s a bit challenging near the start when you need to climb up the cliffs, but there are chains to help you pull yourself up on the tough parts. The hike is not very long, so if you’re used to the steepness of the coastal mountains, you can do this!
Maps: I’ve included the AllTrails map below, but I couldn’t get it to work when we were in the Squamish Valley. I found looking at the trail on Maps.me worked better.

High Falls Creek Trail Map

High Falls Creek – Getting started

There is a spot to park just beyond the BC Hydro generating station Squamish Valley Road. Once you’ve parked, cross the bridge, and follow the trail right into the forest. The trail is covered in moss and will lead you up to the base of what seems like a giant mossy-carpeted cliff.

The trail is very steep to start with, but super fun! You climb straight up to the first viewpoint where you can see above a few of the trees. Then, just keep heading up! Whenever it seems too steep, there are chains. So you can pull yourself up if it is slippery.

Flowers, Mosses and mushrooms

The trail flattens out a little, but even when the trail is not going straight up. there is a steep drop-off down into an ever-deepening gorge. If you are worried about looking down, you can concentrate on the gorgeous flowers and berries that cover the sides of the canyon. The pretty pink bell-like flowers will become salal berries later in the summer. I also loved the lichen hanging off the trees.

As you get close to High Falls, the trail gets steep again, but it’s exciting because you can hear the roar of the water reverberating in the canyon. I was loving it even before we saw the actual waterfall!

First view of High Falls

This is a wild trail, so there isn’t one spot where you can get an unobstructed view of the waterfall. Instead, you get to play peekaboo with a waterfall as you glimpse it through the trees.

Still when you do catch a glimpse, it is awesome!

There is soooo much water rushing through the canyon! These High Falls are epic!

Squamish Valley from High Falls Creek

After the first waterfall viewpoint there is a second viewpoint looking out to the Squamish Valley and Tantalus range of Mountains. It’s a good spot for a jump shot.

Second High Falls Viewpoint

A little further along the trail there is another viewpoint of the falls. This time you can peer down at the top section of the falls and see all the spray where it is flowing down the cliff. Please be really careful at this point as it was pretty slippery. Keep away from the edge!

More viewpoints

Once you’ve had enough of this stunning waterfall you get to continue hiking through the gorgeous forest to more mountain viewpoints.

We got lost once or twice (the paths can be a bit confusing.) So we even found this bonus viewpoint along the way!

Enchanted Forest

I probably have too many photos of trees on this blog, but we found sooo many fantastic trees in this forest! Close to the falls there are plenty of Douglas Fir trees with their deeply cracked bark. High up the trail we found loads of flared cedar trees. The woodland changes character several times, but it is always a pleasure to explore.

Some of the trees near the start were so covered in moss, that I am not even sure what kind of trees they were! Marc also took a photo of a mushroom that looks a bit like a forest shower-head. Cool eh!?

High Falls Creek Loop

Once you have hiked up through the forest, you’ll reach a logging road. From here, you can either return the way you came, or follow the road in a loop back to where you parked. The loop is much longer in terms of distance, but it is MUCH easier than attempting to climb down the steep cliffs of High Falls Creek. This is the highest elevation of the walk, so we were in the clouds and not expecting any views for the return journey.

Views from the logging road

We found (to our delight) that Branch 200 Forest Service Road has some fantastic views of the Squamish Valley. I mean, I loved the view below so much, I’d consider hiking up just for that. On a less cloudy day, you’d be able to see the peaks of the Tantalus range as well as the Squamish River.

This is looking up the the cliffs higher up this mountain we had descended. It looks like it would be a perfect habitat for pikas, but we didn’t see or hear any.

…And here is another view of the Squamish Valley, this time looking South.

We both had sooooo much fun on this mini adventure. We were expecting it to rain all day, but the Squamish Valley is surrounded by mountains, so didn’t quite match the weather report. Instead we got to climb up epic-looking cliffs, see the most amazing waterfall and then look down on countless gorgeous views. This hike is not very famous, but I think it is a great option for hike near Squamish or Vancouver.

If you like the look of it, please feel free to pin it for later. Or, if you want more waterfalls, have a peek at my Oh Canada page  – I have a map with lots of other fabulous waterfall options.

High Falls Creek - A great hike past an amazing waterfall near Squamish in Canada High Falls Creek - A great hike past the gorgeous High Falls near Squamish in Canada High Falls Creek Loop - A great hike with a waterfall and epic views near Squamish in Canada

41 thoughts on “High Falls Creek – Squamish Valley Hike

  1. Wow – what a magical place. I’d probably take the logging road both ways as I am not a huge fan of heights and there is no way I’d be able to pull myself up a chain. My upper body strength is next to nothing. I can barely open a pickle jar.

    Thanks for sharing the amazing photos. I always enjoy the cyber journey.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Thanks Patricia! Yeah, I am not sure if this would be as fun if you are not keen on heights – I am really glad you get to enjoy it virtually instead!

    1. Yeah, especially this year as we have had sooo much rain. It’s nice though…this time last year the fires had started…I am hoping 2020 will be a less fire-filled year here.

  2. That’s quite the waterfall. I can’t wait to get out and explore some new places in BC this summer. Mostly because we’ve all been locked away, but also just to remind myself of what a beautiful place we live. This looks like a great hike and a phenomenal view at the top. I would expect no less than a good jumping shot before the day was complete 🙂

    1. Yaaay! I hope we can both get out and explore locally this summer! I am really hoping to see some more of the mountainous areas near Whistler.

  3. I cannot get over the scenery here! It’s just gorgeous! It looks like the perfect place to hike for some peace and mental clarity. I’d be afraid of slipping with those chains though haha!

    1. Thanks Sarah! Yeah, I find hikes to wild places like that make me feel so much better after being glued to the news (and the scariness) of this year!

      The chains were really helpful to stop us slipping! It’s funny how just having something to hold makes steep cliffs that much more manageable.

  4. I’ve been to the Vancouver area once, but for a very short time and in the winter on our way to Banff to ski. I would LOVE going back in the spring or fall to hike. Hopefully that will happen. What beautiful views and landscape. I loved your pictures. Thanks.

    1. Oooh nice! How was skiing in Banff? I would love to try it (we went to Jasper last year and it was stunning!)

      If you do come back to hike here, let me know. I have lots of ideas for trails for you. 🙂

  5. looks like an amazing hike, breath taking views from those lookout points – the pictures are great but i bet they dont do the views justice!

    1. Thanks Chris. Yeah, it hard to capture the waterfall through the trees. But as you move around it you can see it pretty well.

  6. just by the looks of it, it seems really intermediate and not really for beginners. but despite that.. the views are spectacular and very worth hiking for!

    1. Yep. I guess this one is intermediate. Beginners could probably manage it if they went along with someone more used to route finding.

      It’s not super difficult, it is just I think it would be easy to get lost.

    1. Lol don’t worry, there are sooooo many possible hikes near Vancouver, you’d always miss some. If you come back and need ideas for possible hikes, just let me know. 🙂

  7. Wow, I have read so many of your blog posts and I think this hike is the most scenic. The waterfall is amazing and, no, I don’t think you have too many photos of trees in this post. I would probably not have a problem going up the ropes, but going down scares me.

    1. Thanks Rudy!

      I know what you mean. I always find it much harder to climb down. This trail was good for that because you can come down via the road.

  8. Can I just say WOW! I am myself a nature lover, always recharging my batteries while in a forest or a park. I love to hike as well, even though I am quite new at it, but your adventure is a lot more than that. It looks so wild, so untamed by humans that I am sure you had a blast. Would love to have the chance to get there one day!

  9. That sounds like our kind of hike. The High falls look so spectacular. Loved the pictures that bring alive the beauty of nature you experience during the hike.

  10. I think from all the walks I read on your website so far, this one is my favourite! I truly love waterfalls and this one looks amazing! But also the area itself looks so beautiful. That last photo of Squamish Valley looks stunning too. I’m looking forward to the next walk you’ll share with us 🙂

  11. Amazing place, The path to the waterfall is itself so enchanting.The view from the top and the gushing water of the falls are a treat to the eyes. Your pictures really make justice to this beautiful hike.

  12. Well it took me a while to figure out where the High Falls Creek waterfalls & the Squamish Valley even were, but once I finally realized it was in the British Colombia of Canada, I added it to my return to BC bucket list! First of all, as an avid backpacker, I love that you used AllTrails. Such a great resource.
    Now you said that you took way too many pictures of the trees but man o man, the Squamish Valley is really an Enchanted Forest to say the least. How beautiful is the woods alone. When I go trekking, I personally love backpacking along rivers like the High Falls Creek cause just the rushing of the water somehow propels me to continue walking. Love all your pics.

  13. I find the forests of British Columbia to be such magnificent beauty. So lush and green. I loved all the different flora photos you shared. And what’s not to like about a waterfall or two.

  14. This looks like quite the adventure. It looks like it gets very very steep at some points, I’m sure that would be fun to try to navigate. I do a lot of local hikes, but haven’t run into anything like that yet. The waterfall is something else to, so much force. Love the views of the valley from the viewpoints to, so beautiful.

  15. This sounds like my kind of hike! I love a bit of a challenge with great views. I think it makes the views that much better, right? :o)

  16. I’m so glad you posted about this hike Josy. We attempted this hike a few years ago and turned back before we got very far because of torrential rain/mud. It looks amazing. Now I’m definitely going to return sometime this summer.

    1. It is really good this year because we have had so much rain! Hopefully you’ll be able to get through the mud this time!

      I would also like to go back and see in in the snow/when it turns into a giant icicle!

  17. These pictures are so pretty and atmospheric, especially the ones of the waterfall with the mist in the trees! That’s pretty crazy that parts of the trail are steep enough to warrant chains to hold on to if it’s slippery, but that’s better than nothing at all. Also, that AllTrails widget you have is so helpful to visualize where the hikes you write about are, especially with regard to their distance from the Vancouver area!

  18. Don’t know how I missed this report when you posted it last year! We just hiked it today and I recommend going back on a sunny day as you’ll see rainbows in the spray from the waterfalls. However, it didn’t look anywhere near as lush and green as it does in your photos, and the walk back down the logging road was really hot and dusty so cloudy days definitely have their advantages!

    1. Oooh I thought it might be even bigger at this time of year with all the snow melt! Rainbows from the spray must have been gorgeous!

      1. They were stunning! Probably the most intense rainbows I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll post some photos soon, and will try get my write-up done before I get distracted by the next hike 🙂

  19. Wondering if it would work to drive up the forest service road (we have a Jeep) and then go down to the lookouts, or do you think that’d be trickier?

    1. That would have been possible back when we visited… but I am not sure if the FSR got worse since then. We saw some people driving up that FSR to car camp (but the road might be worse after all the crazy rain we had last fall!?)

      I always find it easier to hike up the steep sections than down them. It gets your heart beating, but it is much less scary! Having said that, the hardest steep sections were on the cliffs below the viewpoint. So you should be fine.

  20. Thank you for sharing your experience, Josy. It brings me great joy to see your post about this particular hiking trail. A few years ago, my friends and I decided to embark on this adventure, filled with high hopes and excitement. Unfortunately, our journey was cut short due to the relentless downpour and the resulting muddy conditions. However, after witnessing the captivating images you’ve shared, I am genuinely enthralled by the beauty that awaits. Without a doubt, I have made up my mind to revisit this hike, and this time, it will be during the upcoming summer season.

    1. Thank you Robyn! It is such a adventurous hike; I imagine it could pretty dangerous in the rain on those cliffs, so I think you made the right decision. I hope you can go back when the trail is drier. It is much better in person when you can hear the roar of the falls.

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