The official grand opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola will take place May 16th but this spectacular attraction, that makes the wild of the sea to sky corridor accessible, is up and running right now as a preview. I attended a media tour last week where we met with locals and got a tour of the trail network. Everyone is excited about the opportunities that the gondola has opened up for the region, making Squamish even more of a destination than before.
Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is located just 45 minutes north of downtown Vancouver in Squamish, BC — the outdoor recreation capital of the world. You’ll find the parking lot turn off just past Shannon Falls, along with the visitor centre, shop, Basecamp Cafe, and your lift up the mountain.
The ten minute gondola ride to over 885 metres above sea level provides easy access to incredible coastal mountain terrain, making it accessible to families, hikers, walkers, and strollers and wheelchairs.
Sea to Sky Gondola Trails
Our media group followed two walking trails after leaving the Summit Lodge and crossing the suspension bridge. From The Spirit Trail Viewing Platform we then took The Spirit Trail along a 400 meter loop with interpretive signs detailing the natural and First Nations history of the area. The muffled drum-like calls of a grouse echoed through the trees as our boots crunched the freshly-laid gravel.
We came full-circle a few minutes later and returned to the back side of the Summit Lodge where we then walked over to The Panorama Trail.
This 1.6km loop leads you past white pines, hemlock, red cedar, and lush carpets of moss before you come across the dramatic Chief Overlook Platform. From here you can’t help but look down at the legendary Stawamus Chief, one of the largest granite monoliths in the world, and attempt to spot hikers and rock climbers ascending its popular rock faces.
If you’re up for more adventure, you can skip the gondola ride on the way up and take the Sea to Summit Trail, which connects to the Wrinkle Rock Trail. Winding its way up from neighbouring Shannon Falls, it eventually reaches the Summit Lodge where you can take the gondola down. Please note these are backcountry trails so be sure to read up on all of the hiking information available and be prepared for the length of the trip and the elements.
Sea to Sky Gondola Summit Lodge
The crisp new post-and-beam Summit Lodge hosts a cafe, bar, dining area, large patio and outdoor dining area, viewing platform, event space, restrooms, gift shop, and more. It’s also where you can sample Howe Sound Brewing’s latest creation, Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale, brewed specifically for the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Sea to Sky Gondola Tickets
As a local, your best bet is a season pass, available for $99 or a family season pass for $249. If you’re a hiker, you can also get a ‘download only’ pass starting at $39.95 for the season. Individual tickets are for sale inside the visitor centre for $34.95 adults 19+, $32.95 seniors 65+, $22.95 youth 13-18, $13.95 children 6-12, and children under 6 years old are free. Family day passes are available for $89.95 and single day ‘download only’ passes are $9.95*.
Sea to Sky Gondola Hours
The gondola will be running from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily until the official opening on May 16th when it will remain open until 9:00pm. Summer hours will follow, from May 17th until October 13th, opening 9:00am to 5:00pm, remaining open with special sunset hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday until 9:00pm. Winter hours will be in effect after that time.
Any other questions you might have can be answered online, and you can check out the live webcam for current conditions. Follow the Sea to Sky Gondola on Facebook and Twitter for more information.
*All prices are sourced from the Sea to Sky Gondola website as of May 12, 2014 and are subject to change.