The Upper Squamish River Campsite is a beautiful spot about 3 hours drive from downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Once downtown, take Georgia Street across the Second Narrows bridge to West Vancouver. Follow Hwy 99 north, past Squamish for another few miles until you reach the exit for Alice Lake (another beautiful spot, but very crowded in the summer). When you get to the exit for Alice Lake, instead of going right to Alice Lake, make a left down Squamish Valley road. About a mile down the road there’s a branch-off for Paradise Valley road to the right. Keep to your left and continue down Squamish Valley road.
Squamish Valley road is a small, winding single-lane road through small farmland houses and B&B’s. It also takes you through the Squamish Territories. You are allowed driving through the reserve, but please abide by their rules that are well posted along the road (no camping, hunting, dumping etc.). Continue down this road for another 21 miles. At the end of the road, you’ll reach a BC Hydro power plant. At this point, the road becomes a first-grade logging road, and you’ve now entered Interfor’s TFL (Tree Farm License) 38. Except for the occasional pothole, the road is well traversed, and fine for all makes of vehicles.
The road then continues on, deep into some pretty big clearcuts in the heart of the Squamish river area. Continue down this road until mile 37 (not mile 39 as noted in most backroad map books I’ve found). The mile markers are posted in red writing along the side of the road. At mile 37, you’ll reach the head of where the Squamish River and the Elaho Rivers meet. There will be a bridge veering off to the left. This road leads to Elaho Main, and G Main (as indicated on the sign on the right side of the road). Turn left and cross the bridge. Immediately at your left will be a small stone road leading down to the water. This is the Upper Squamish River Campsite.
There’s room for about 12 campsites in total along the water. There’s garbage facilities, but no bathrooms or other amenities. There are several beautiful hiking trails around the area, or you can relax along the sandy shores of the Elaho river. On nice weekends, you’ll usually find several other’s camping there. Be prepared for a little wind, as you’re in a winding valley. Local wildlife includes; brown and black bears , cougars (though rare), deer, elk and an abundance of fish (Salmon, Rainbow Trout), and, though I’ve never seen any, wolves. Park wardens do happen upon the area, so make sure to pick yourself up a current fishing license from any hunting/fishing store, or your local Canadian Tire if you plan on casting a line.
Remember to bring all that you need, the nearest store is back in Squamish, about 1.5 hours away. Also keep in mind that this is an ACTIVE LOGGING ROAD. Watch out for logging trucks on the weekdays, and occasionally on the weekends.
Now that you know how to get there, and what to do while you're there, here's a list of what not to do while you're there.
What not to do at the Upper Squamish River Campsite #1:
Never feed the wildlife.
Reason: It makes them keep coming back for more. Over time they will forget how to feed themselves.
What not to do at the Upper Squamish River Campsite#2:
Never fish without a license.
Reason: Park wardens frequent the site.
What not to do at the Upper Squamish River Campsite#3:
Never think that you can withstand the current where the Squamish and Elaho rivers meet.
Reason: It is much stronger then you, me or even your best friend, Fred can handle.
What not to do at the Upper Squamish River Campsite#4:
Never forget to bring toilet paper.
Reason: Poison Ivy is not a good substitute.
What not to do at the Upper Squamish River Campsite#5:
Never, ever use camp stove fuel on an open camp fire.
Reason: Beause the fire will quickly crawl up the liquid stream, ignite the can that’s in your hand, catch your hand on fire, causing you to throw the can as far as you can (which isn’t far enough because you’re in a state of panic because you’re now on fire), causing the whole ground cover to catch on fire, causing you to duck behind your car for 45 minutes while you wonder if the fuel can (which now has 7 foot high flames cascading out of it) will explode, lighting the whole rec site on fire, or if it will eventually burn itself out, while your girlfriend keeps screaming "I thought you knew what you were doing!" in your ear the whole time.
And no, I don’t know about #5 from personal experience. OK? Now just drop it!