Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia
When I first learned about the plan to build the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, I was skeptical. As residents of North Vancouver, we often drive the Sea to Sky Highway enroute to Whistler.
Back then, I viewed Squamish as the half-way point to Whistler, not a stand alone destination. I did not see the vision for this new outdoor attraction.
At the time, Whistler had just built the Peak to Peak Gondola, connecting Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics a few years prior and it was still buzzing from the global event. I questioned whether this new Squamish gondola could compete with Whistler.
We first visited the Sea to Sky Gondola in May 2015 as a day trip from Vancouver. Our boys were 4 and 2 years old at the time. We returned a few years later during the winter holiday season, which felt like a completely different experience.
Last month, we visited the Sea to Sky Gondola again.
It was 4 years between visits. We decided to spend the weekend in Squamish, so it felt like a good time to revisit. It was expected to be clear and sunny that day, which certainly helped our decision.
This was actually our first time staying overnight in Squamish. We’ll write about that experience soon because staying in Squamish exceeded our expectations. Dare I say, it might even give Whistler a run as our new weekend escape destination?
Related post – 22 Awesome Things to do Along the Sea to Sky Highway
Should you visit the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish?
Let’s revisit the title of this blog post. Should you visit the Sea to Sky Gondola?
The short answer is Yes. It’s a unique year-round attraction that caters to all travel styles.
If you’re a resident of the Lower Mainland, you should absolutely visit the Sea to Sky Gondola. There are plenty of things to do, regardless of the season. I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed. Unless, of course, it pours rain and/or it’s crazy busy during your visit (both could happen, so be prepared to pivot).
That said, if you’re a first time visitor to the Vancouver area, and you’re limited on time, I might give you a different answer.
Ultimately, this question is about value for your time and money.
If you have to choose between the Squamish Gondola or Whistler Gondola, I’d recommend the Whistler option because there are more things to do in Whistler.
Watch – Take a virtual trip up the gondola in 30 seconds
Things to do at Sea to Sky Gondola
There’s much more to this popular Squamish tourist attraction then pretty mountain landscapes. Although, the pretty landscapes are certainly worth seeing for yourself. Over the years, the Sea to Sky Gondola has expanded it’s offerings and attractions.
- Walk across the bouncy Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge (photo above)
- Panoramic views of Howe Sound from the Viewing Platforms (photo below)
- Take a hike. There are several trails from the summit lodge, from easy paths to backcountry alpine trails. Here’s the list of hiking trails.
- Patio dining with spectacular views at Sky Pilot Eatery.
- Live music, concerts and holiday festivities. Search for calendar of events here.
- Snowshoeing, tubing and ski touring in the winter.
- Squamish Via Ferrata tours. More info here.
Watch – Amazing views from Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge
Beautiful landscapes from the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform.
Passengers riding up the gondola to the Summit Lodge. Every gondola cabin has a maximum capacity of 8 passengers. If you’re lucky, you might get the cabin all to yourself. Otherwise, you may have to share with other passengers.
The money shot from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Braydon walking across the dizzying Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.
Stunning views of Howe Sound from the viewing platform. Watch short video here.
Snowy peaks and coastal forest views from the Panorama Trail.
Brave guests completing the Via Ferrata course on the Sea to Sky Summit.
Top of the Stawamus Chief with views of Squamish in the distance.
Family picnic area with playground at the top of the gondola.
You can eat lunch inside a gondola with a table.
Patio dining with stunning mountain landscapes at the Summit Lodge.
How to get to Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
The Sea to Sky Gondola is located along the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99). It’s only 2 kilometers south of Squamish city centre.
Address: 36800 Highway 99, Squamish, British Columbia
From Vancouver, it’s a 45 minute drive. To access the parking lot, you will need to be driving north on the Sea to Sky Highway. The parking lot turnoff is just after Shannon Falls Provincial Park.
If you’re driving from Whistler south to Squamish, you will need to drive past the Sea to Sky Gondola and turn around at the lights at Darrell Bay/Shannon Falls. You cannot take a left turn from the highway to the parking lot.
Parking is free. However, the parking lot fills up quickly, especially on weekends. Arrive early.
More blog posts about travel in British Columbia:
- 20 Awesome Things to do in Victoria
- Best Things to do in Whistler this Summer
- Top attractions along the Sea to Sky Highway
- Things to do at Harrison Hot Springs with kids
- Best Road Trip from Vancouver for first time visitors
Have you visited the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish?
If not, do you plan to visit in the future? Leave us a comment with your question(s).
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