Earlier in the summer, my sister, brother-in-law, and 16-month-old niece (whom I affectionately refer to as Ribs, or Lil Ribz) flew out from Toronto to spend 10 glorious days exploring Squamish with us.
It turns out there’s plenty out here to do to entertain a toddler and her parents — and I’m sure we only touched the tip of the iceberg here.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the trails we walked and places we visited. Keep your eyes peeled for Riblet’s Choice — those activities that earned extra enthusiasm from my niece.
Brohm Lake was the perfect choice for a hot and sunny afternoon. We hit High Trail, Tantalus View Trail, Bridge Trail, and Alder Trail and stayed cool in the shade the entire time (though still broke a bit of a sweat on some relatively gentle uphills).
Our discovery of the parking lot south of the lake was a lifesaver — we probably would’ve skipped the trails if we hadn’t come across it, since the main parking areas were completely full. We didn’t go for a swim this time, but next time I’ll bring my bathing suit.
Alice Lake Provincial Park – Riblet’s Choice
I’ve enjoyed running the trails of Alice Lake, and I thought my sister’s family would really like the Four Lakes Trail. I was right — the trail was the perfect way to fill an afternoon and everyone had a favourite section. I liked watching the hundreds of toadlets migrate (mind your step if you’re visiting mid-August), my sister liked the running water at the start of the trail (north of Alice Lake), my brother-in-law liked checking out the river, and baby Ribs liked everything — she spent the first third of the hike enthusiastically shouting “wooooooow”.
Jack’s Trail/Coho Park
My sister adores running water. She would rather sit by a tiny stream than look onto a lake or the ocean. Unfortunately for her, most of streams have dried up this late into the summer — but not all of them. There is still quite a bit of water trickling through the Coho Park/Jack’s Trail zone.
These trails are a short walk from my house, so we went to check it out quickly on the day they arrived, and they returned to explore it a little further a few days later while I was working.
Mind the bikes!
Ancient Cedars Trail
I always forget how nasty the road leading up to the Ancient Cedars Trail is on my little Volkswagen Golf! It’s pretty bad, but if my car can do it, yours probably can, too.
We headed up to Whistler to help my friend with a Tourism Whistler video he is putting together (Ribs is stoked to be the baby face of Whistler), and I thought the family might enjoy taking in the great big cedar trees along the loop in the centre of the trail. This trail is about five kilometers long, is a bit steep but not too bad on the way in, and offers something a little different than most Whistler area hikes (in that it does not involve trekking up a mountain). It’s worth doing at least once, and again when family is in town.
Just try to borrow a friend’s truck.
Murrin Provincial Park
Ribs & Co. tackled this one on a day I had to work, so I don’t have much to report. They said it was the perfect length, required a bit of uphill, and had great views from the lookout. This one’s on my eventual to do list.
We hit up the Squamish Farmer’s Market twice and the Wednesday evening Whistler Farmer’s Market once, and bought plenty of produce of delicious local meals — think Coho salmon (with this tasty BC salmon rub my sister picked up at Nester’s), beet and arugula salad, fresh garlic on everything, and SO MANY BLUEBERRIES (Pemberton’s Hare’s Farm are what’s up). Mountain grain bread from Rising Knead was a regular purchase, my sister was digging the Spark Kombucha, we became addicted to the sweet and salty popcorn from Sargent Poppers Kettle Corn, and a single roasted marshmallow from Goodmallows was the ultimate treat (I had the spice chai one, and my sister tried salted honey and lavender kind — both were amazing).
Ribs had fun strolling the booths with us, sampling the fare (this kid is a big fan of blueberries), and playing in Pavilion Park.
River of Golden Dreams
Given my sister’s affinity for running water, I thought a trip down the River of Golden Dreams in Whistler would be right up her alley. As fate would have it, my friend needed people to join him on a canoe trip down the river, so off we went.
The River of Golden Dreams isn’t what everyone would consider a baby-friendly activity (the local tour operators don’t accommodate babies), but we borrowed a baby life jacket and loaded up in a couple of canoes, and Ribs slept virtually the entire way. Warning: if you attempt the river with a baby, make sure your back paddler is strong — my sister spent the whole ride holding her snoozing kid. This was my first time paddling the River of Golden Dreams (previous expeditions have been by way of an Explorer 200), and it was nice way to spend the day.
The Squamish Town Hub – Riblet’s Choice
I don’t know if this qualifies as an attraction, but Little Ribs had a great time in the little square on the corner of Mamquam and Diamond Head Road. We enjoyed sampling the treats of the Cloudburst Cafe (my celiac sister liked the gluten-free date bar and Nanaimo bar), Ribs picked up some sweet threads at One Small Room, and there was plenty of play space (including a few choice toys set out at the Toy Corral.
The Vancouver Aquarium
Ribs & Co. spent a day at the Vancouver Aquarium (I didn’t make it for this one). Their feedback: fun, but busy — even on a Tuesday afternoon. Ribs liked the kids tunnel.