Most of Squamish is officially dogs-on-leash however you’ll find most people skirt these rules outside of the downtown areas. Squamish, including downtown has loads of wildlife you must be aware and prepared for. DO NOT let your dogs off leash if you cannot recall them from wildlife. You will find Black Bears, Coyotes, Eagles everywhere throughout Squamish including residential areas. There are also Cougar sightings almost constantly in one trail or another, and less common are wolves, Grizzly bears, bobcat, and elk. Check trail reports before you go to avoid cougar and bear sightings.
Parking is very limited in the summer in certain places, especially weekends. Avoid busy areas with dogs as a curtesy of other trail users. Trails may close due to Grizzlies and Black bear issues so check before leaving. Roads can close due to flooding/washouts. Roads and parking are also different in the winter as many FSRs are snowed in and never ploughed. Chains are usually necessary in the winters. Check avalanche forecasts and have knowledge before you head out. Many areas have no reception so download or print maps, and have a point of contact if your car breaks down.
Easy- 1 hourish
Very flat, official dog-off leash area, can be close to the highway so be aware, bears, coyotes, lots of options to make your own, also good for biking
Winter hike, entrance fee to Callaghan, microspikes advised
Several entry points, watch for trains and broken bottles, metal on the ground
Close to highway, so be aware! Great for running on-leash or biking
Extremely busy in summer, AWD, not ploughed in winter
Starvation Lake/ Cheakamus Canyon
AWD advised to park in the canyon, must leash up to start by highway
Moderate- under 3 hours, uneven ground
Easy to get lost, bears and cougars sometimes present, lots of trail options
Murrin Lake/Jurassic Ridge
Must leash around lake, no dogs around lake, busy in the summer, easy to get lost
4 Lakes Loop
Very busy in the summer, No dogs at Alice lake (walk on road do not follow the map), lots of offshoot bike trails to add-on, limited parking
Easy to get lost on the trails, Lots of viewpoints
Very busy in the summer, lots of trail options, awesome views from viewpoint, places to dip in the lake, leash near highway, very limited parking
Road can flood, AWD, Leash around waterfall, No reception
Moderate/Hard- under 4 hours, uneven ground, steep sections, trailfinding
Very busy in the summer, Bears almost constant in the summer, cougar area, no reception, winter route is different, cars will need chains in the winter
Short but steep and easy to be lost, several options, views aren’t great
Very busy in the summer, may need daypass, leash around steep areas, 3 peaks for options
Sea to Sky Gondola/Sea to Summit Trail
Buy dog ticket at the bottom to go down by gondola, steep sections, rope areas, microspikes on icy days needed
Easy to get lost, Grizzly and black bears, AWD, no reception, leash near falls
Very busy in summer, log crossings, Black Bears, paid parking, limited parking
Black bears, busy in summer, closed during snowmobile season, awd to lower parking, 4wd to higher parking, No reception, no trail past meadows
Scrambling and boulder fields, 4wd with clearance, wasps, black and grizzly bears,
Lake Lovely Water
Fast water crossing (need boat), wasps, bears, busy in the summer, no reception, no water, no dogs allowed in hut
AWD, routefinding, steep sections with rope, no reception
Be aware of human feces that might be laced with drugs on trails. This is a common problem especially around where people camp, on bike trails, and busy trails. If you notice excessive panting, dilated eyes, excessive drooling, disorientation, turn back immediately and seek help. Another common issue are dogs chasing (or being chased) by bears. In both cases you should be in control of your dogs as there is very little help out of reception. Wasps can sting out of seemingly nowhere (when you pass through a ground nest) and dogs may bolt or be allergic so it’s good to have anti allergy drugs. Lastly, water loving dogs need to be leashed near fast moving water especially Lake Lovely Water, Crooked Falls, High Falls, and Sea to Sky Gondola hike. Dogs have died on these rivers that turn into waterfalls.
Not Dog Friendly
These places dogs are absolutely not allowed!
Garibaldi Park (Garibaldi Lake, Wedgemount Lake, Elfin Lakes, Black Tusk), both sides of Whistler due to watershed/park rules (Blackcomb, Whistler peak, Rainbow Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Iceberg Lake, Mount Sproatt) as well as Joffre Lakes and Tenquille Lakes further north.
Check out more on a list of beaches and lakes to take your dog paddling! And here’s a post on how to each your dog to recall off leash as well as a recall challenge to try before heading out into bear country! Support my page by checking out my shop redbarkshop.com