If you're headed up to Whistler or looking for a day trip idea from Vancouver, be sure to check out the Sea to Sky Gondola. As a local, I've been up the Sea to Sky Gondola many times and it is definitely worth traveling for!
The Sea to Sky Gondola newly reopened in February 2020 after a criminal act of vandalism in August 2019 forced the closure. The main haul rope was unfortunately cut and gondola cabins were destroyed.
Guests can now get back up the mountain on a brand-new cable in brand-new cabins.
Sea to Sky Gondola Location
Located in Squamish, BC, the gondola is between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief.
The gondola transports guests to the Summit Lodge on a ridge leading towards Mount Habrich. The summit of the Sea to Sky Gondola provides a base camp for further exploration
Sea to Sky Gondola Operating Hours
Hours of operation now until May 15, 2020, are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
How to get to the Sea to Sky Gondola
From Vancouver, enjoy the scenic 45-minute drive on the iconic Sea to Sky Highway to get to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Free parking available.
Coming from Vancouver? The Squamish Connector (24 seats) offers roundtrip shuttle service from three downtown Vancouver locations to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Guests can enjoy three hours before returning to downtown Vancouver by 4 p.m. Find out more here.
What to Experience at the Sea to Sky Gondola
1. Ride to the top on the Gondola
The first thrill to your adventure at the Sea to Sky Gondola is to ride to the summit where you will have access to a variety of outdoor experiences.
The gondola ride is about 10 minutes from the base to the summit and each cabin has a maximum capacity of 8 passengers. If your party has less than 8 people, it is very likely that you will need to share the cabin with others.
As you ride to the summit, you will enjoy sweeping views of Howe Sound, the coastal forest and surrounding mountains.
The gondolas are very comfortable and have padded seats and floor-to-ceiling windows for maximum views.
2. Cross the Suspension Bridge
One of my favourite activities is to explore the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. It's about 100 meters long and has a backdrop that falls away thousands of feet below.
You'll get an amazing 360-degree view of the area, both of the mountains down to Howe Sound.
The bridge is open year-round and is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
3. Enjoy the jaw-dropping views from the viewing platforms
The summit features three viewing platforms that are all accessible, regardless of age and athletic ability.
The Summit Lodge Viewing Deck is attached to the Summit Lodge, which has a fully-licensed restaurant and bar. You can take in the views while enjoying a meal or drink.
The Spirit Viewing Platform is located 100m from the Summit Lodge via the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge and features interpretive information displays along the trail. You can learn about the landscape, wildlife, and history.
The Chief Overlook Viewing Platform is the most dramatic viewing platform which hangs over hundreds of metres of sheer drop. This platform can be accessed through the Panorama Trail which is a 10-20 minute walk from the Summit Lodge.
4. Winter Activities at the Sea to Sky Gondola
Some of the winter activities you can partake in at the Sea to Sky Gondola include winter walking, snowshoeing, tubing, and ski touring.
Rentals are available for poles ($5 for 2 hours), crampons/microspikes ($5 for 2 hours), neo-over-boots ($5 for 2 hours) and snowshoes ($20 per day).
The tubing park is fun for all ages and is located next to the Wonderland Lake Loop. The cost is $5 which includes tube rental and unlimited access within tube park hours. The tube park closes at 4:30 pm.
Meant for highly experienced ski tourers, the terrain around the Sea to Sky Gondola is fantastic for backcountry exploration. You can expect steep alpine bowls, first-growth forests, pillow lines and extreme couloirs. Please note that the terrain in the backcountry is not patrolled by the Sea to Sky Gondola staff.
5. Summer Activities at the Sea to Sky Gondola
The summer provides great opportunities for guests to explore the summit area through hiking and walking.
Some leisurely walking options include three walking trails that are graded and are relatively level with no steep climbs or descents. These trails include the Spirit Trail (30 minutes, 400 meters), the Panorama Trail (30 - 60 minutes, 1.6 km), and the Wonderland Lake (30 - 60 minutes, 1.6 km).
For hiking enthusiasts, there's the Alpine Alley (30 - 45 minutes), Sparky's Spin (1 - 2 hours, 1.86 km) and Highline Trail (45 min - 1 hr, 1.4 km).
6. Join the Free Interpretive Tour
Guests can explore the trails with a guide through the free interpretive tour. Offered daily at 11:30 am. Meet at the trail map board next to the Panorama Trail.
7. Relax at the Summit Lodge
The Summit Lodge is where you will find a cafeteria-style eatery and a cafe. You'll also find shops where you can pick up souvenirs.
Take your food and drinks onto the deck attached to the Summit Lodge and enjoy the breathtaking views while you dine.
On one occasion, we enjoyed burgers, fries and lettuce wraps on the deck.
8. Enjoy Great Events
The Sea to Sky Gondola hosts over 100 events each year including live music, yoga, wine pairing dinners and so forth. Check out their Events page for updates.
How much are Sea to Sky Gondola Tickets?
Here are the day ticket prices:
- Adult Admission (Ages 19-64): $44.95
- Senior Admission (Ages 65+): $40.95
- Youth Admission (Ages 13-18): $26.95
- Child Admission (Ages 6-12): $14.95
- Children Under 6: FREE
Annual passes are available.
Find out other places along the Sea to Sky Highway worth stopping for in my post here.
Sea to Sky Gondola
36800 Highway 99, Squamish, BC