Altitude: 885 m (2,904 ft)
Trailhead: Sea to Sky Gondola
Trail used: Sea to Summit trail
Elevation gain: 835 m (2,740 ft)
Distance: 15 km (9.4 mi) round trip
Time: 5 hours
Price: Free (parking lot a the gondola is limited to 3 hours)
– Sea to Sky Gondola
One hour drive from Vancouver, you’ll find that really nice trail near Squamish, the outdoor paradise! When we get there, it was the end of September so we could easily find a spot at the Gondola parking an an employee told my that the 3 hours limit parking was not enforced during fall, but in the summer, you have access to a free overflow parking lot at Darrell Bay across the Sea to Sky highway from Shannon Falls.
The first part of the trail is pretty steep. You’ll even find wooden stairs to help you to get up. Since this trail start almost at the sea level, the vegetation is mainly constituted of deciduous trees.
This is the same trail you have to take if you want to go to the Chief summit, another popular hike in the area. So, the trail will eventually fork and you must stay to the right. Then, if you didn’t stop at the bottom for the Shannon falls, it’s not a problem because you’ll find another beautiful waterfall in the middle of the trail.
The first vista we get comes after a 2 hours hike. You get to a rocky point where you can see the valley and the sea.
When you continue, you’ll find another fork where you’ll want to choose the left side if you want the quickest way to get to the top. Attention, that part is really steep. You can choose the other way if you want a longer but easier finish.
Eventually, you’ll get to the « summit » which is the upper gondola terminal. It’s not really a summit but everything has been arranged for easy access by everyone. There is a big restaurant with a really nice terrace where you can eat at the top. And you HAVE to try the suspended bridge!
At that point, there is a lot of trails you can choose from to go further in the backcountry if you want. I suggest you to try some of the small trails that go around the mountain there where you’ll find some pretty nice view of the Squamish Valley.
The small trails there are easy but beautiful.
This is what the upper gondola terminal look like.
Finally, you can go down the trail or pay only $10 to get down in the gondola. A lot of people choose that easiest way down as I did to save time to go to Whistler after!