Travel in Canada: Whistler and the Sea to Sky Highway

After finishing the Island Explorer loop with Moose Bus, I began a two-day trip to Whistler called the Sea to Sky route.

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The Sea to Sky loop begins and ends in Vancouver.

The route is aptly named considering we travel the Sea to Sky Highway, one of the most picturesque drives, known for ocean views, dramatic mountains, and rushing waterfalls.

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stunning mountain ranges on the way to Whistler
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Brohm Lake near Squamish

While driving the Sea to Sky Highway, we made a scenic stop at Brandywine Falls for lunch.

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Brandywine Falls, a 200-ft-tall waterfall with a rainbow at its base 🌈

After lunch, a few of our group members decided to go bungee jumping over the Cheakamus River. Wow! 😮PicMonkey CollageOh yes, and Whistler is also a known black bear territory. 🐻DSC_4919While we were driving, we were lucky to BEARly spot this guy on the side of the road. 😉DSC_5354The black bear was busy munching on vegetation, preparing to hibernate for winter.IMG_20170704_180405_497I was so happy to find my first wild bear, but even happier to spot him from the safety of our bus. Hah! 😛DSC_5353Anyway, when we finally arrived in Whistler Village, we were given time to go shopping and explore the town. Whistler Village consists of a pedestrian-only walkway lined with high-end shops and international restaurants. They sell everything from top quality outdoor clothing to fine jewelry. You can walk from one end to the other in less than 10 minutes; however, in that small stretch of street, you’ll still find two Starbucks! ☕ 😮
DSC_5361The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory had delicious homemade fudge to try, plus they had loaded caramel/chocolate apples on display. You are literally overpowered by the smell of sugar as you walk in the door. Wow! 🍫 🍎appwhst

Whistler Village wants to keep their village tidy and smoke-free. No butts, please. 🙂

DSC_5506This cracked me up! They are so nice in Canada that they even apologize when the bus isn’t in service. So sweet! buscFun fact: Whistler is a relatively new town and was developed mainly for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Now-a-days Whistler is a popular winter getaway for skiing and snowboarding. It’s quite posh and one of the houses we passed on our drive had its own helipad for their helicopter. 😮

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relatively new construction in Whistler…probably cost of pretty penny. 💰

Accommodation:
While in Whistler our tour group stayed at HI-Whistler, which is the highest rated hostel in our package. It used to be housing for the Olympics, and the facilities were outstanding. They had a restaurant quality kitchen, lounge, cafe, movie room, outdoor deck, volleyball courts, and hotel-style bedrooms. Wow! Moose also provided dinner that night, which included burgers, veggie patties, and salad. 🍔👍whshostelAfter dinner our guide took us to this old train wreck that has since been converted into an outdoor art gallery and BMX bike track.

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this train derailed back in 1956

DSC_5378The path to this train wreck site was also enjoyable, since it led us across the Cheakamus River and over a lovely suspension bridge. We timed it just perfectly to walk through the forest right around sunset. The lighting was just lovely. 🙂DSC_5367 DSC_5382DSC_5390The next day we had various choices for optional activities, including hiking and zip lining. I chose to purchase the Peak 2 Peak Gondola Pass, which uses a combination of chair lifts and gondolas to take visitors up Blackcomb Mountain, across to Whistler Mountain, and back down again. It’s a great route for those interested in skiing during winter, but also great for scenic hikes in summer. 🙂Lifts Map Border clean

Cost: 42 USD for the pass, which can be used all day.

Now on that morning, since the Peak 2 Peak Gondola didn’t open until 10AM, three of us decided to do a hike to Lost Lake beforehand. DSC_5393The lake was so serene, and there were a few people out walking their dogs, swimming in the lake, and doing yoga on the dock.DSC_5397DSC_5396At around 9:30 we headed over to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola entrance. On the way there we passed the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center where there was a group performing cultural dances and song. These aboriginal people try to maintain their cultural heritage by educating the public on their ancient language and traditions.

Anyway, by 10 AM we hopped on our first chair lift up Blackcomb Mountain.DSC_5402DSC_5418It’s called Blackcomb, since there are only black runs on this mountain (i.e. very difficult skiing paths). The top of the mountain has scenic views, plus there’s a luxurious on-site restaurant and cafe.DSC_5414DSC_5416From there we took a free shuttle to the 7th Heaven Summit, an area with lots of ski and snowboard jumps. ⛷️⛰️DSC_5417

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map of the route from Blackcomb Mountain to 7th Heaven Summit

The 7th Heaven Summit had plenty of runs and ramps for both snowboarders and skiers.

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Check out how much air this guy got! 😮

So crazy seeing all this snow in July! ❄️DSC_5447 This is actually one of many water reservoirs used as a source for snow-making on this mountain.DSC_5486DSC_5487

Anyway, after marveling at the snowboarding talent for a bit, we headed back to the restaurant area and took the Peak 2 Peak Gondola across to Whistler Mountain.DSC_5472Oddly enough, right before hopping on we also spotted this groundhog species, called a whistler for which that mountain is named.

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this is a hoary marmot, nicknamed ‘the whistler’ for the high-pitched sound it emits when signaling danger to its cohorts

So adorable!DSC_5460Anyway, the gondola here is an enclosed chamber, and is also the highest unsupported lift of its kind, rising to about 1,500 feet. It transported us from the peak of Blackcomb to the peak of Whistler in only 11 minutes.DSC_5474
Fun fact: Whistler’s combination of chair lifts and gondolas is also the longest continuous pulley system in the world! 😮DSC_5477After arriving on Whistler Mountain we decided to take lunch at their on-site restaurant. The had pulled pork poutine, which is a twist on a Canadian classic. Basically, you take greasy French fries, top them with cheese curds, gravy, and pulled barbecue pork. Absolutely genius!DSC_5480After lunch, I perused the on-site gift shop. Too cute! ❤DSC_5482

Cost: 10-20 USD for entrees and around 20 USD for t-shirts

From Whistler Mountain we took a chair lift to the Top of the World Summit, where we had views of the surrounding Coast Mountains, such Black Tusk, a spectacular stratovolcano. DSC_5420

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Black Tusk

This same chair lift, the peak express, also took us to these glorious snow walls. DSC_5488

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map of the route to the Top of the World Summit and the snow walls

DSC_5499Here, the snow forms a walkway, which in some parts rises over 26-feet tall! 😮DSC_5502You can actually follow this snow-lined path all the way back to the restaurant area of Whistler Mountain, which took us about 40 minutes downhill.DSC_5501DSC_5484After arriving back there, we took our final chair lift down to the Whistler Village, where we hopped back on the Moose Bus, and headed back to Vancouver. This time, we only made one scenic stop at Shannon Falls, the third largest waterfall in Canada.

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Shannon Falls, a 1,000-ft-high waterfall

Well, this concludes our two-day tour of Whistler, and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. Stay tuned to hear all about the next leg of this journey. Until then! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Travel in Canada: Whistler and the Sea to Sky Highway

    1. Thanks so much for the positive feedback! I’m so happy you are enjoying the posts. I’ll try to add some more videos in there. Hope you are having a wonderful summer! Take care. 🙂

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    1. That’s wonderful! I just got to Banff yesterday. The scenery here is surreal. Everything looks as perfect as a postcard! Glad you had a wonderful time as well. Thanks for checking out the blog. Take care and safe travels. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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