Squamish, British Columbia, is an unattractive logging town located 50 mi/80 km north of Vancouver that sits on the beautiful Howe Sound. As a fast-growing bedroom community to popular Whistler and Vancouver, it does have some redeeming qualities. It is the premier windsurfing territory in North America; it hosts the world's largest loggers' sports show every August; and it's a popular destination for more than 160,000 international rock climbers and hikers each year. These brave souls go to conquer the Stawamus Chief, which at 2,139 ft/652 m high is said to be the second-tallest granite monolith in the world (Gibraltar is No. 1). With nearly 200 routes, climbs range from beginner to strictly expert. In winter, the area becomes a haven for hundreds of bald eagles. If time and budget permit, take an aerial tour over the glacial scenery.

Just east of Squamish is Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Whistler and the Blackcomb Mountains. The park is home to several natural wonders, including majestic Mount Garibaldi, the Barrier (a natural dam enclosing Garibaldi Lake) and the Black Tusk (a volcanic peak). http://www.tourismsquamish.com.

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