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Mamquam Falls Hike, BC – Everything you Need to Know

Incredible view of bright blue water of mamquam river bc

Introducing the Mamquam Falls Hike

I was lucky enough to just happen upon the Mamquam falls hike the other day. A friend and I were exploring the FSR (Forest Service Roads) around the Squamish area and ended up parking and sleeping in the backwoods for the night. 

It was raining the following morning (as is very characteristic of the west coast) putting a halt to our plans to do the Brandywine Falls hike. We decided to walk around the protective forest (trees do make for the best umbrellas after all) and started following a forest trail. 

In the distance we could hear rushing water and decided to follow the sound. We walked up to an opening in the forest where we found a sign, instructing kayakers to take extreme caution when entering the river. At first peek of the river, we caught a sight of a huge seal just floating down the river flow, relaxed as can be. 

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Though a very short hike, the Mamquam Falls will still be one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done, for the falls themselves were one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen – and a total surprise at that! 

This article is going to go through everything that you need to know about getting to the Mamquam falls hike, how to prepare, and some gorgeous photos I took along the way! 

How do I Get There?

The Mamquam river itself flows from the Mamquam glacier ice field which can be found high above the Squamish community up in the alpine. The Mamquam glacier flows into Skookum Creek, Ring Creek, and Mashiter Creek as well. 

The town of Squamish is located about an hour away from the city of Vancouver. You simply follow the main Sea to Sky highway (highway 99) until you reach Squamish. From there, take a right to the Mamquam FSR and follow the road for 2.2 miles (3.7km). Take a left once you reach a fork in the road, and continue for another mile (1.7km). 

You’ll see a big yellow gate with spots for parking to left of it. We took the trail directly in from the parking lot which led down a steep and narrow forest road, but apparently taking a right into the yellow gate (by foot) leads you directly to the bridge above the falls, which is far shorter and more flat.

The Mamquam Falls Hike 

Gorgeous blue water of the mamquam river in bc

Know Before you Go… 

The hike itself, some would call a walk. Anything in the forest is a hike in my eyes. This hike walk is super short and easy and only takes about 35 minutes round trip. It’s less than a mile (1.5km) round trip with only 60 meters in elevation gain. 

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There is no camping around the falls, but there is a ton of dispersed camping allowed along the forest service road itself. There are no pit toilets and no running water near the falls or along the FSR either, so pack your own water and take your wees before you head in! 

Get Hiking!

The hike itself takes you right into that amazing coastal rainforest that we all know and love from these parts of British Columbia. The forest is wet, covered in moss, with tons of coniferous trees, tiny critters, and wonderful plants surrounding you. 

Once you reach the Mamquam river, you will be absolutely astonished by the color of blue that the river holds. It’s an incredibly milky, aquamarine color that contrasts very intensely against the color of the surrounding limestone and green moss. 

Turns out that the river runs this color because of that glacial runoff that we mentioned earlier. It’s my new favorite color and it made for quite a dramatic sight. 

Whether you go left at the parking lot or right, it is a loop trail that will lead you right back to the parking area. I think going left first makes for a little bit more of a steep entrance, but the hike itself can be done by nearly anyone. 

If you’re entering from the bridge, you’ll see a small clearing to the left of a bridge that will lead you into forest. Just a few minutes down this forest trail you’ll see a little wooden lookout which provides you with the most incredible view of the falls. From here you can decide to turn around and skip the boring gravel road and just take the trail back through the woods.

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Incredible blue water of the mamquam falls hike

Kayaking the Mamquam 

Though I personally do not partake in white water kayaking, I can absolutely see the appeal. Just a few metres down from the lookout there is a nice sandy area where kayakers can enter the river, surpassing the falls themselves. 

Signs indicated to take great caution as the river can run quite ferociously in the spring time with all the glacial melt of the time of year. There are plenty of huge boulders scattered throughout the river that are concealed by the opaque water. 

Thanks for Coming!

Amazing view of the mamquam falls from the viewpoint

And there you have it! This is a super relaxed hike (I even read some reviews where people were a little upset because it wasn’t hard enough for them!) where you can bring the whole family. Seniors, young ones, dogs, cats, cockatoos, whoever you want to bring, they are bound to have an incredible time.

 A lot of the time, sights this pristine and gorgeous are very remote and hard to get to. I am always so pleased when I can see something this beautiful without aggravating my bunions at the end of the day. 

The last thing I will say is this: please please please, LEAVE-NO-TRACE. Leave-no-trace is a principle that hopefully all folks entering the wild are encouraged to follow. It means that whatever you pack in, you better be ready to pack it out. There are no garbage cans at this location, so you’ll just have to bring your waste with you until you find a proper place to dispose of it.

Littering is not only harmful to the plants and soil, but it’s harmful to animals as well. In order to respect nature we must leave as little of an impact as we possibly can. So please, try to leave the area better than you left it. 

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Are you headed out camping around British Columbia? We’ve got the Ultimate Camping Packing List for you here.

Road tripping along the west coast? Take a peek at our Ultimate Road Tripping Packing List

Are you keen on doing some backpacking hiking trips? You’re all set with this Ultimate Backpacking & Hiking Packing List

Looking down at mamquam river from bridge


How much does it cost to do the Mamquam falls hike? 

The Mamquam falls hike is located on public lands at the end of a forest service road. Entrance to both the FSR and the hike entrance is entirely free for users all year round! Don’t you just love that?

Is it safe to bring a dog on the Mamquam falls hike? 

Dogs are absolutely welcome along the Mamquam falls trails. It is important to note a couple of things: the river runs very quickly and even if your dog is a very strong swimmer it would be very possible for them to get swept up in the current. It’s better to keep your dog from swimming in the river. 

Another important thing to note is that Squamish is bear country, and a river like the Mamquam is perfect bear habitat. Part of keeping yourself and the bears safe is by ensuring that your dog is on a leash and remains calm if there is ever a sighting. 

Can you camp by the Mamquam falls?

There is no campground by the Mamquam falls hike, nor are there designated campsites along the forest service road. However, there are pullouts where people will sometimes do overnight camping in their vehicles. These roads are sometimes patrolled, but staying for one or two nights is usually safe. 

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Is there running water by the Mamquam falls hike?

There is no running water or potable water stations around or near the Mamquam falls hiking area. Though it is a very short hike, it is still important to remember to bring your own water on your hike! It is also an option to bring a water filtration device and drink the river water, but it’s better to bring your own bottles. 

Where can you go to the bathroom near the Mamquam falls hike?

There are no pit toilets near the Mamquam falls hike, but the town of Squamish is very close to the trail, so it’s best to wait until you get back to town to go to the bathroom. If you absolutely must go, the new leave-no-trace method of going to the bathroom is pretty out there. You ready? It’s pretty graphic. 

If you have to go number 2, you’re meant to go on a flat rock and smear it around, then lay the rock in the sun to dry. I don’t know many people who have the cohonas to smear around their own poop, but I commend whoever can! 

How long is the Mamquam Falls Hike? 

The hike itself, some would call a walk. Anything in the forest is a hike in my eyes. This hike walk is super short and easy and only takes about 35 minutes round trip. It’s less than a mile (1.5km) round trip with only 60 meters in elevation gain. 

What should you bring with you for the Mamquam falls hike? 

Since it is such a short and easy, you really don’t need to bring much with you. You’re never more than a mile away from your car, so you can easily leave all of your fixings (water, snacks, flashlights, etc) in the car so you don’t have to carry it around. 

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That being said, crazy things can happen in the forest, so if you don’t feel super confident in your hiking abilities, it is always better to be over prepared than under prepared. In this case, bring that water, snacks, and flashlight just in case. 

When is the best time of year to do the Mamquam falls hike?

One of the most wonderful things about living in British Columbia is that it’s never so cold that it deters your from getting outside. That being said, the majority of the year can be super duper rainy which may deter some people, but if you’re willing to get on that rain layer, water proof hiking boots, and rain hat, then you’ll be well on your way. 

My personal favorite time of year to hike around BC is in the fall. It’s still warm enough to be pleasant, but not so warm that you sweat profusely when you exercise. This is also the time of year when everything starts to dry out so your boots don’t get so wet. 

It’s also possible to hike in the summer (though it can get to be really hot and sometimes buggy), the spring (though it can be super wet and damp), or the winter (even more wet and even more damp). 

Why is the water so blue in the Mamquam river?

The water is such an incredible blue color in the Mamquam river because of the glacial runoff from the Mamquam glacier. It is limestone silt that makes it so blue and opaque. 

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