Local LoopsExplore Al's Harbrich
21 July, 2021
What better way to introduce Local Loops than to start with a staff favourite: Al's Habrich. Why do we love it? The Al's Habrich Trail offers so much within a relatively short distance from the Summit Lodge. Traditionally, Al's Habrich is a backcountry, advanced 8.4km out-and-back trail with 340m of elevation, usually taking 3 to 6 hours. For the launch of Local Loops, we want to share with you one of our favourite viewpoints at the halfway point, at trail marker 33, of the traditional Al's Habrich Trail.
Follow the red diamond-shaped markers from 1 to 33 as the trail winds through the coastal forest, crossing a creek and meandering up grippy granite rock slabs to breathtaking views of Howe Sound. Although the trail continues on, this viewpoint creates a natural destination for your day hike. Reaching marker 33, around 1.6km from the trailhead with just over 200m of elevation gain, takes most hikers an hour and a half. The 3.2km roundtrip from the Summit Lodge to the viewpoint at marker 33 will take most hikers 3 hours.
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The trailhead for Al's Habrich is only a short walk from the top of the gondola, passing through the Backyard Plaza and heading out to our backcountry access road. Make sure to stop at the map board along the way to download the Sea to Sky Gondola Trail Map App!
Once at the trailhead, the single-track trail begins. This trail is an "out-and-back" trail meaning you can turn around anytime and you'll be on the right track back to the lodge. Remember that this is a backcountry trail. It is not patrolled and you are responsible for your safety. We advise you to not hike alone, and be sure to bring your mobile phone, water, food, extra clothing as well as the rest of the 10 essential backcountry items as recommended by AdventureSmart.
1O ESSENTIAL BACKCOUNTRY ITEMS YOU NEED IN THE BACKCOUNTRY
Every backcountry user MUST be well prepared and travel with other experienced backcountry users. When entering the backcountry every member of your group should have the 10 essential backcountry items as recommended by AdventureSmart.
CREEK CROSSINGEarly on, the Al's Habrich trail crosses a creek, which is sometimes dry in the later summer months. Use the rope to steady yourself while crossing the creek, balancing on the river rocks. This scenic spot makes a great rest stop. Remember to stay hydrated and pack snacks!
OLD GROWTH FIRS AND HEMLOCKNearing marker 30, the forest transitions from second growth forest that was logged 60 years ago to first growth forest with trees that are hundreds of years old. As you make your way through the old growth forest, sunlight dances between the tree branches and the sounds of birds chirping and the wind whispering through the trees fills your ears.
THE PERFECT PICNIC SPOTAt the marker 33 viewpoint, there is a large area of granite with few trees which allows for one of the best viewpoints accessed from the Sea to Sky Gondola. From this vantage point, you get an unobstructed view of Howe Sound as well as the Squamish Valley. This makes for a great spot to have a snack or a picnic soaking in the grande view.
FUN FACTAl's Habrich predates the construction of the Sea to Sky Gondola! It was built by trials bike riders who sought out this mountain side of the exposed granite slaves that these riders thrive on for the amazing traction the rock offers.
Loop Like a Local and win prizes
Al's Habrich Trail is one of our six curated hiking or running loop experiences all starting from the Backyard Plaza. At 885 meters above sea level, our loops will quickly transport you away from the hustle and bustle of the city into the natural beauty of our trail network at the summit.
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