The Best Stops on Scenic Sea to Sky Highway

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The sea-to-sky highway is one of the most beautiful scenic drives. I have stopped by many of the places along the Sea to Sky Highway. However, at different times during my time in Whistler. Driving up this road excites me as I know it is the way to Whistler. I spent the winter there in 2018-19 and it couldn’t feel more like home even if it tried. Starting at sea level and rising 670 metres above in the mountains. The smooth road has many twists and turns as you make your way up. If you are West in Canada then this drive is a must.

Sea to Sky – Cypress Mountain

Cypress Mountain is another Mountain in Vancouver. It was highly recommended to me by a family member so it was a must-stop. We got there early as we planned to hike to the top. Yes, I hiked in flip-flops and this time they didn’t break. My favourite flip-flops are

Effie's Lookout over Horseshoe Bay from the peak of Cypress Mountain
Effie’s Lookout. A Nice Lunch Spot in the Sun

We weren’t tired or experiencing achy legs at the top so decided to hike on to Effie’s Lookout. What a good decision that was. The views over the whole of the bay were incredible. To top it off the sun was shining and not many clouds in the sky. Another winning view for lunch. Lastly, we stopped by Cabin Lake for a quick dip, very cold. Jumping straight in was definitely a shock to the system!!

The Stawamus Provincial Park – Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls falling over rocks on the Sea to Sky Highway
Shannon Falls at Squamish

As you continue up the beautiful Sea to Sky corridor you reach Shannon Falls. This can be a quick stop if you don’t do any of the hikes on offer. Shannon Falls is the third highest waterfall standing at 335 metres. The waterfall wasn’t full yet but it was still impressive.

The Stawamus Chief, Squamish

Squamish Chief hike is very well-known with locals and tourists alike. So being a resident in Whistler it was only fitting to attempt to get to the top. I was scared to complete this hike. Rumour has it, that you have to climb a ladder for a bit of it. This is a very tough hike; luckily we weren’t in a rush so that we could take our time. Time was definitely needed to complete this.

The viewpoint from the chief hike over a forest and the Howe Sound
The View From Stawamus Chief

Stawamus Chief is 700m tall and divided into Frist Peak, Second Peak, and Third Peak. The trail starts at Shannon Falls.

The stairs at the start of the trial were the hardest part as well as coming back down. On the way back down I was trying not to slip and fall. We found ourselves scramming back down. As tough as this hike was, I am glad I conquered it. The views over the Howe Sound were amazing, it was a clear day so we could see well into the distance. If you are up for a challenge then this hike is for you!

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

The view of a cove from the Sea to Sky Gondola
The View Coming Down the Sea to Sky Gondola

If you don’t fancy the hike up The Chief, you can always ride up in the Sea to Sky Gondola. You do need a ticket, unlike the hike. A quick ride up which takes you to a different viewpoint from the hike. There are many different trails to stroll along and the views of the snow-capped mountains made this perfect. 

Brandywine Falls, Whistler

Rainbow over Brandywine Falls in Whistler
The Rainbow Over The Falls

Brandywine Falls is a clean 70m drop into Brandywine Creek. This stop is a short one as it’s about a 15-minute walk from the car park. People just stop at the Falls but if you walk about 200m more you reach another viewpoint. If it’s a clear day you get an amazing view down into the valley.

The Cheakamus Train Wreck, Whistler

Two boxcars covered in graffiti at the train wreck in Cheakamus
Some of the Many Boxcars Left Behind

The train wreck dates back to 1956 when a speeding train raced through the valley, attempting the bend too fast. This crash left 7 train carriages in the forest at Cheakamus. These boxcars are along the Cheakamus River. Again, the first 5 are easy to find but walking further into the forest you will find the other two. It is well worth a stop.  

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Garibaldi Lake, Whistler, BC

Garibaldi Lake in Whistler with snow-capped mountains as the backdrop
The Impressive Garibaldi Lake

The Garibaldi Lake hike was an 18 km there and back hike. I was not ready for this in the slightest. I decided to go last minute with a hostel friend. The hike itself didn’t offer many views as I struggled uphill for 810 metres. This was my first lake experience in Canada. I was so happy. It didn’t disappoint and was bigger than any expectations I had. It was cold as Winter was drawing in. Yet that didn’t matter as I sat looking at the blue lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. This is what I came to Canada for… well, snowboarding too.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler

Me standing next to the snow walls on Whistler mountain
The Snow Wall on Whistler Mountain

What can I say about this small mountain town? I’ll be very biased as this place feels like home. I came for the Winter Season but I had to see this place in Summer too. Oh my, how a mountain can change so much between seasons.

Me at the starting point for the Whistler Suspension Bridge at Whistler Mountain
Conquering My Fear of Heights

The mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) offer many hiking trails in the summer months. Whistler Mountain has a bike park for downhill riders. The suspension bridge tested my fear of heights. Viewing the snow walls was insane as you can see how deep the snow gets. That was amazing as I just spent the Winter snowboarding on it.

Over on Blackcomb, you can still make your way to 7th heaven and take in the breathtaking views on offer. Also, you can watch some glacier skiing/snowboarding.

It was well worth the summer day trip up the mountain.

Sea to Sky Highway – Nairn Falls

Narin Falls running through trees on the Sea to Sky Highway
Nairn Falls

Nairn Falls is a waterfall north of Whistler. It sits 60 metres high. The smallest of three the along the Sea to Sky Highway. It is a short 1.5 km to the viewpoint. Just because it was the smallest it doesn’t mean that you should avoid it. All three waterfalls are different types so stopping by all is a real treat.

Joffre Lakes, Highway 99

The excitement for this hike boiled over as I had waited so long to check out Joffre Lakes. I had only heard good things. 3 lakes to see and a total of 8 km there and back trip. The lower lake was only 5 minutes from the car park. The middle lake is around the 3.5 km mark. We set off, all uphill, and at quite a pace.

The emerald coloured middle lake at Joffre Lakes, a stop on the Sea to Sky Highway
The Middle Lake at Joffre

As we ascended the middle lake, we only had been hiking for 50 minutes. When we came across Middle Lake, I wasn’t expecting to see it just yet. I moved my gaze from the ground to head height. There it was. The crystal-clear blue glacier-fed lake. Also, the best out of the three, in my opinion. This was a ‘WOW’ moment. We hiked a further 20 minutes to Upper Lake, in this section you had to mind your footing. Scrambled over some rocks to find a spot for a snack. The view for this mealtime was impressive. Nature is simply the best in my eyes.

In conclusion, this highway was one of the best to drive with 360 views as you climb from sea level to ‘the sky’. This should be on your Canadian bucket list, for sure!! A real delight.

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