North-America

Along the Sea to Sky Highway in British Columbia

Another windy ferry ride later we were back on the Canadian mainland, ready to continue our roadtrip east. Via the Sea to Sky Highway we would be driving to Whistler that day, but before that we’d halt in Squamish for a visit to the Shannon Falls and a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola.

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Luckily for us, the sun was accompanying  us again for the day. From the ferry deck we enjoyed the view on downtown Vancouver as we sailed by towards the ferry terminal of Horseshoe Bay.

And then it was time to drive one of the most beautiful roads in Canada; The Sea to Sky Highway. This road, also known as BC99, goes all the way to Pemberton but we’d only be driving to Whistler that day.

But while the weather was on our side, traffic wasn’t. It was pretty busy in the area, but that was mostly because it was labour day weekend. Great timing. So of course it didn’t come as a a surprise that when we arrived in Squamish to visit the Shannon Falls the small parking lot at the falls was completely full. But people were queuing nicely and pretty regularly someone would leave so we decided to wait along with the rest. About half an hour later, we were parked and walking to the foot of the waterfall. On my travels I’ve already seen many falls and while these weren’t that spectacular, there is always something special about waterfalls. I wouldn’t have done a massive detour for this one, but since they were along the road, I’m glad we could check it out.

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Fortunately the Sea to Sky Gondola wasn’t that far from the falls and there was a short trail from the foot of the Shannon Falls to the gondola parking lot. So instead of queuing for a spot on the parking lot again, we just walked over to the foot of the gondola. The parking lot over there is a lot bigger, so if the Shannon Falls lot is overflowing, you can also try to get a spot over there and walk to the falls.

We felt quite proud to being prepared to take the gondola. We were wearing long trousers and kept our sweaters close. The cold wouldn’t surprise us! But while we were prepared, we obviously weren’t informed. It was quite a funny moment when we realized that gondola only took us to a shocking height of 800 meters. So much for needing warm clothes. Well, we had a good laugh about it.

The first “attraction” we headed for once we had arrived at the top was the suspension bridge. I’m not such a big fan of wobbly bridges with many people on it, but with the views around you, it would be a shame not to cross the bridge. So we did.

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Once we had admired the view long enough, it was time to stretch the legs a bit and make sure we reached our daily required amount of steps. There were a few hikes displayed on the top deck of the gondola and we chose two of those: the Panorama Trail and the Wonderland Lake Loop.

The Panorama Trail led to a beautiful view over the valley. It wasn’t strenuous at all so everyone should be able to make it to the viewpoint. It’s definitely worth it.

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The second hike, the Wonderland Lake Loop, led to a small enclosed lake -shocker!-. Nothing too special, but it was a nice walk to get there and a bit away from the crowd around the viewing decks.

And then it was time to go back down. There was a small queue to get into one of the gondolas but the organization was smooth and soon enough we were down again. For the rest of the way to  Whistler, we were rewarded with breathtaking views of surrounding mountains and forests. Gorgeous!

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After checking in at our hotel, Pinnacle Hotel Whistler, and fawning over the amazing hot tub smack in the middle of the room, we strolled towards the center of town to grab some dinner. Immediately we felt the ski village vibe of the town. It’s just so charming. Fortunately we were allowed to leave the queue at the Old Spaghetti Factory, our dinner destination for the evening, until a table would be ready so we could explore the town some more.

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One delicious pasta and ice cream dessert later, we weren’t ready yet to return to our hotel room. We wandered around the village a bit longer. It was a very lovely evening and we were a bit sad that we didn’t have more time in the place. But there was more to see tomorrow, so we had a lot to look forward to!

 

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