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5 Cool Things To Do in Brackendale

DH Vancouver Staff Dec 06, 2013 10:00 am

An hour north of Vancouver, Brackendale has stunning scenery, laid-back residents and the largest concentration of wintering bald eagles in North America. From eagle safari rafting trips on glacial-fed rivers, to extreme hiking, and pubs with a unparalleled vistas, visitors to this off-beat winter destination do not leave disappointed.

Here’s our roundup of 5 cool things to do, eat/drink and see in Brackendale, British Columbia.

5 Cool Things To Do in Brackendale, BC

things to do in BrackendaleImage: T. Jerven

things to do in BrackendaleImage: Sunwolf

1. SEE: Eagle Viewing Float Trip

In 1994, Brackendale set the world record for the highest concentration of bald eagles with 3,769 birds spotted in one day. While you can see the majestic, metre-tall predators feeding on chum salmon from the banks of the Squamish River, the way to make the most of the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon is to take a Sunwolf Eagle Viewing Float Trip.

things to do in BrackendaleImage: T. Jerven

things to do in BrackendaleImage: Sunwolf branded visuals

Hop on a yellow raft and cruise down a glacial-fed river with six or so new friends. Try not to lose count of all the fiercely beautiful bald eagles you spy going after the spawning salmon as your guide educates you on the life cycle of the raptors and the fish. I was lucky enough to see 144 bald eagles in 45 minutes. The views of the snow-kissed Tantalus range and the mists rising off the cotonwood forests and Squamish River are equally awe-inspiring. Eagle viewing season runs from December to mid February. Bonus: Sunwolf treats rafters to hot cocoa and homemade doorstop-sized muffins on board the raft. They finish with a chili and cornbread lunch back at base camp.

things to do in brackendale

thingstodoinbrackendale7Images: T. Jerven

2. EAT: Fergie’s Cafe

Originally Fergie’s Lodge, a historic meeting spot for Brackendale fisherman, this tiny cafe at Sunwolf is always slammed. Sunwolf owners Jess and Jake Freese put their hearts into Fergie’s homey atmosphere and menu. Locals and visitors turn up to devour big-boned breakfast and lunch dishes such as house-made sausages, buttermilk biscuits and pulled-pork bennys.  In winter, they cozy up to the cafe’s fireplace. In summer, the front porch and Cheakamus riverbank are also full of diners.

things to do in brackendaleImage: T. Jerven

3. DO: Hike High Falls Creek

While low-key hikers/snowshoers as well as families with small children should aim for the mellow Four Lakes Trail in Alice Lake Provincial Park, thrill-seekers prefer to get off the beaten track and hike High Falls Creek. This 12km ascent is worth the rock-scrambling: devoted trekkers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Tantalus Range and Squamish Valley. Pack a lunch and enjoy it at the top of the bluffs.

things to do in Brackendale

Image: Uncleweed

thingstodoinbrackendale10Image: T. Jerven

4. DRINK/SEE: WaterShed Bar & Grill and Brackendale Art Gallery

Perched on the Squamish riverbank, the WaterShed has cheap drink specials and stunning views of the water, mountains and wintering bald eagles. Locals like to get the night started here with sundowners or a pint of beer from local brewery Howe Sound. The best bet for good live music in Brackendale is the nearby, quirky Brackendale Art Gallery, with shows ranging from Norwegian hip hop group the Paperboys to classical artists.

things to do in brackendaleImage: Sunwolf

things to do in brackendaleImage: T. Jerven

5. STAY: Sunwolf Riverside Cabins

Situated at the meeting point of the Cheekeye and Cheakamus rivers, Sunwolf has 10 rustic cabins and a slightly more luxe Logger’s Shack which epitomize budget-friendly glamping. The 5-acre woodland getaway offers diversions including hiking, rafting, fishing, volleyball and kayaking. Or you can just kick back and enjoy the hot tub.

Getting there: Brackendale is one hour north of Vancouver by car on the Sea-to-Sky highway. If you don’t have your own vehicle, check a Vancouver rideshare board.


What’s your favourite thing to do in Brackendale? Leave a comment below!

Feature image: Sunwolf branded visuals

DH Vancouver Staff
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