Note: The Sea-to-Sky Gondola will be closed until Spring 2020.
The Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish was built with people like me in mind. While I am truly in love with B.C.’s majestic mountains, and may aspire to be more like the Arc’teryx clad warriors who hike to the top of Squamish’s Stawamus Chief with babies on their backs……that simply is not me. On the contrary, I am the type of person who feels like they have passed into a foreign land when visiting Mountain Equipment Coop, and view energy bars as food for earthquake kit – full stop. I enjoy British Columbia’s abundance of nature most while on a family stroll along terrain easy enough to manage in my Nike Airs (they make me feel athletic) with a nice organic coffee in hand. Yes, the Sea to Sky Gondola is perfect for me.
The Squamish Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola makes for a perfect Vancouver day trip as it is a one hour drive north of Vancouver along the scenic Sea to Sky highway. On a clear day, the drive provides such stunning views of Howe Sound, that the drive itself is actually considered the 8th most popular attraction in British Columbia (according to reviewers on Tripadvisor).
The gondola takes you 200 hundred meters above the Stawamus Chief (the world’s 2nd largest granite monolith). There, you can enjoy the incredible vistas from one of three viewing platforms, cross over the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, hike (or stroll) one of six trails, or simply relax with a cup of locally blended tea at the Summit Lodge (or a glass of B.C. wine, if that is more your style) .
At the Sea to Sky Gondola, there are a number of baby and child-friendly features such as the nice playground at the base and top, changing tables in every bathroom, high chairs in the Summit Lodge restaurant, stroller friendly trails (At least, with a stroller that can do a little off-roading such as a Mountain Buggy.), and kids meals in the restaurant.
Hiking the Sea to Sky Trail
Although I never thought I would do it, I update this post with aching legs after having just hiked up the Sea to Sky Trail with the family. The Sea to Sky Trail starts at the parking lot and runs 7.5km to the top of the mountain. The trail ranges from meandering forest paths to sections where you need to use a rope to pull yourself up a rock face. We are not exactly “hikers” (we do not own special hiking clothes or gear) and I will admit to being quite exhausted by the time we reached the top 3.5 hours later. Our kids are 9 and12 and managed the trail quiet well. We did see a family with younger children on the trail, but they looked like experienced hikers. We brought the family dog along (as dogs are allowed to ride the gondola down from the top, but cannot ride it up so thus must ascend by the trail). Although very tiring (comparible in intensity to Vancouver’s Grouse Grind), you are rewarded along the way with some spectacular scenery.
For more about the Sea to Sky Gondola and the Sea to Sky Trail, please see this website.
If your family is going to spend a day in the area, you may also want to visit Shannon Falls and the Britannia Mine Museum. Both are just a few minutes south of Squamish. A friend, and area local, also recommended to me The Living Room as a good choice for a locally run, family-friendly restaurant. Enjoy !
Want to see more? Check out this short video:
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