Squamish’s Sea to Sky Gondola Opens

Travel 885m above sea level, where adventure - and a breathtaking view - await

Credit: Paul Bride

The Sea to Sky Gondola, the newest attraction along the Vancouver-Whistler corridor, gives visitors access to stunning backcountry trails and more

The new Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish is finally open and even local Vancouverites, spoiled by living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, will be stunned by the scenery. This $22-million facility is the new crowning jewel in Canada’s unofficial Outdoor Recreation capital. It provides access to spectacular backcountry trails and breathtaking vistas, 850 metres above Howe Sound.

Situated halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, this new attraction was conceived partly to entice the some 9 million people that traverse this corridor each year. Now there’s a new destination to check out for both outdoor enthusiasts and those happy to simply sit back with a drink while admiring the view.

Initially, there was controversy over this project, with the mistaken perception that this would go up the Stawamus Chief, Squamish’s beloved monolith. While it’s located in the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, the gondola itself is actually situated between Shannon Falls and the Chief.

Things to Do

Not just a pretty view, this new facility was designed to offer year-round fun for outdoor lovers. In addition to walking and hiking, there’s rock-climbing, mountaineering, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Credit: Paul Bride

At the Top Station

At the top of the 8.5-minute gondola ride, visitors will have access to hiking trails, interpretative walks, 360-degree alpine vistas and the 9,000-square-foot Summit Lodge, which includes the Summit restaurant, Edge bar and the Summit Tea House.

Outside, there are currently two trails available: the Spirit Loop, which features the suspension bridge and some spectacular views of Sky Pilot; and the Panorama Loop, which takes hikers along a high granite ridge line to views of Atwell and Mamquam mountains with a stop at the viewing platform, overlooking the Chief.

A variety of exciting new trails are already being planned for the near future. Stephane Perron, Lead Guide at the Seat to Sky Gondola, describes some longer, multi-day hiking trails (including a warming hut) that will be completed by 2015. And in 2016, fearless riders can look forward to special gondolas that will transport riders with their bikes, where they can enjoy mountain biking trails that will be challenging and satisfying. These won’t be like Whistler’s bike park, but instead will complement it with a different style of trails that will reward those who love obstacles, speed and technique.

Credit: Paul Bride

Quick Facts: If You Go to the Sea to Sky Gondola

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning on visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish:

Tickets and Passes: Tickets are $34.95 for adults, $32.95 for seniors, $22.95 for youth aged 13-18 and $13.95 for children aged 6-12.

Summer passes are $99 for adults and $249 for a family (two adults and two children).

Tours: Guided walks are available. Ask when you arrive.

Parking: Three hours, in the Base Camp lot.

Accessibility: All current walking and hiking trails are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, including those requiring a stroller, walker or wheelchair.

Skip the Gondola: If you’d prefer to hike up, there’s a trail that begins closer to Shannon Falls. It’ll take you about three hours to get to the top station, so make sure you don’t park at the gondola’s parking lot (max three hours). Instead, park at Shannon Falls and take the gondola’s shuttle bus, which runs between the two points throughout the day.