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Road Trip North America- Sea-to-Sky Highway

Sea to Sky Highway Lions Gate Bridge (Credit: Lion's Gate Bridge, taken on a floatplane inbound to Vancouver by Tawker)

Sea to Sky Highway Lions Gate Bridge (Credit: Lion's Gate Bridge, taken on a floatplane inbound to Vancouver by Tawker)

By Krissy Vann
Presenter, The Weather Network
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 11:01 AM

Imagine traveling alongside the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean and in just under 2 hours taking to the sky where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view. This can be your reality when taking a road trip on the Sea-To-Sky highway also known as highway 99, which takes you from Vancouver to Whistler. During your drive you’ll be able to enjoy passing through mountain ranges, waterfalls, forests and many bustling towns.

Want to add a little culture on your travels? There are 7 Cultural Journey Kiosks along the way. Five on the northbound side of the highway and two on the southbound. 

These give you a chance to make your road trip not just a scenic journey, but an educational one as well.

The Route:

In Vancouver you will just have to get onto highway 99 and travel north. From there you are up and off to enjoy all the magnificent sights on the way to Whistler. The journey without stops will take you around an hour and a half. You won’t want to fly through the drive though as there are some spectacular areas of interest along the way such as:

  • North Vancouver- Stop the car and journey along the Capliano Bridge. This suspension bridge built in 1889 takes you along a 450 foot journey across the Capliano River.
  • Britannia Beach- Take a visit to the Britannia Mine museum on the grounds of the old Britannia mines.

Shannon Falls: Stewart Butterfield

Shannon Falls: Stewart Butterfield

  • Shannon Falls Provincial Park- Home to magnificent cliffs and the third highest waterfall in the province.
  • Squamish- Love getting active in the outdoors? Squamish is known as the outdoor recreation capital of Canada. Climbing, kayaking and legendary trails are just some of the adventures you can choose from.
  • Garibaldi National Park- A stunning location to enjoy hiking and camping. Garibaldi Park is home to a 2,678 meter peak Mount Giribaldi.
  • Interpretive Forest Park- Enjoy the tranquil scenery while partaking in the vast activities available to you at the park. Whether you feel like mountain biking, hiking or cross country skiing you’ll find something to do for all ages.

When to Travel:

Meteorologist Matthew Grinter says that summer is definitely one of the best times to travel along the Sea to Sky highway. He does caution that significant rain events can still pose a problem in the summer months on your journey, which can reduce visibility. It is best to pull the vehicle over and wait for the rain to subside before continuing. In addition, packing clothing that is ideal for layering is a good idea. Grinter says that temperatures can vary drastically from where you started at your base in Vancouver to the higher mountain regions.

The winter months are of course a very popular time for people to want to venture in to Whistler to enjoy incredible skiing and snowboarding. Grinter advises that if you are planning a road trip during the winter season, it is extremely important to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. A shovel, jumper cables, salt, flashlights as well as food and water are all important to have onboard. Conditions can change quite quickly so having a charged cell phone is also imperative should you find yourself stuck along the way.

Grinter also warns that you can encounter a high wind event on the drive throughout anytime of the year. As you travel through the mountain passes you will want to reduce your speed if you notice the wind pushing your vehicle around. These situations are most common in the winter months. No matter when you choose to travel check the forecast ahead of time on the Weather Network.

Have you ever traveled on the Sea to Sky highway? What was your favourite stop along the way?

Capliano Bridge Photo: David R. Tribble

Capliano Bridge Photo: David R. Tribble

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