When I look back on my first trip to Vancouver, almost three years ago now, there is one memory that stands out. One painful, gruelling, yet exhilarating experience that stands out amongst the other memories I made during my trip… hiking The Chief.
The Stawamus Chief, just 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver, is a mammoth rock face that towers over the city of Squamish and offers unprecedented views of Howe Sound and the coastal mountain range. For a beginner hiker it was a rough journey, therefore; despite the amazing views, climbing “The Chief” has never been my go-to suggestion for Vancouver visitors. Suddenly, all of that has changed.
In May 2014, the Sea to Sky Gondola opened and offers visitors the ability to stand atop a mountain without doing all the strenuous work it actually takes to climb a mountain.
The Gondola is a ten minute ride that takes you 885 metres above sea level and drops you off at the impressive Summit Lodge, a 9,000 square-foot dining hall that offers self-serve dining, outdoor seating, and breathtaking views of the surrounding area. I’m not a huge fan of intruding on nature with buildings, but I must admit: they’ve done a beautiful job with this.
Beyond the Summit Lodge there are ample activities to keep you busy when you reach the top. There are three viewing platforms: the Summit Lodge Viewing Deck, the Spirit Viewing Platform and the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform, which offers a backside view of The Chief (my nemesis). Also, for those who are interested in a little more adventure, the Sea to Sky Gondola has the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, as well as various hiking trails for different fitness levels.
Beyond the daily offerings of hiking and eating, the Sea to Sky Gondola also offers a variety of fun events that you can check out here. From family-friendly HikeFest, Morning Outdoor Yoga and the Summer Sunset Music Series there is something happening for everyone atop the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park.
So now that I’ve got you all excited about planning a trip to the Sea to Sky Gondola you’re probably asking…
What are the hours of operation?
The Gondola is currently open for it’s Summer Season (May 1, 2015- September 26, 2015).
|Open||Last ride up||Last ride down|
Hours change season to season so make sure you check here before you go. Also, if you are planning to visit during the Fall/ Winter season the Gondola is scheduled to be closed November 2, 2015- December 3, 2015.
How much does it cost?
|Buy Online||Online||Ticket Window|
|Adult 19 +||$33.95||$37.95|
|Youth 13 – 18||$21.95||$23.95|
|Child 6 – 12||$11.95||$13.95|
|Children 5 And Under||FREE||FREE|
|Family Ticket (2 Adults, 2 Child/Youth)||N/A||$95.95|
For more information on tickets, passes and gift cards click here.
One great feature that the Sea to Sky Gondola has put in place is a webcam that resides at the Summit Lodge. If you are thinking about making the journey to Squamish to ride the Gondola you have the ability to check the weather (and view) before hand to make sure you get the best view for your buck! Click here to see the webcam live.
Since I’ve been home, visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola has been a highlight for me, so if you are planning a trip to Vancouver or Whistler in the coming months, make sure you put it on your Must-See list!
If you need more of a visual click here for a video of the Sea to Sky Gondola and see all the area offers.
Have you ever made a trip to the Sea to Sky Gondola? What was your experience like?