Sea to Sky Roadtrip: Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet, Hope
Spontaneous roadtrips are my favourite thing about the summer. The Sea to Sky Highway in BC leading north of Vancouver to Whistler, Pemberton and beyond is home to some of the most incredible hikes, lakes and waterfalls. This highway is well-known for being one of the world's most beautiful, and the coast-hugging road offers views of mountains seemingly bursting straight out of the ocean.
Stop 1 - Porteau Cove Provincial Park: A no-longer-used ferry terminal graces the coastline, nestled comfortably next to a campground offering pristine Howe Sound views.
Stop 2 - Furry Creek Beach: This stop is not as well-known and requires pulling off at the Furry Creek Bach path and following the trail through the forest to a massive, empty beach expanse.
Stop 3 - Shannon Falls: The awe-inspiring Shannon Falls is reachable within a few minutes from the parking lot and can be combined with a hike up any of the nearby trails, such as the famous Stawamus Chief.
Stop 4 - Tantalus Lookout: Perched right on one of the many curves of the Sea to Sky Highway, the pullover offers panoramic views of Mount Tantalus.
Stop 5 - Brandywine Falls: The majestic view over the Falls from above is a mere ten minute walk from the parking lot. The secret off-trail route to the base of the falls is the winner here. Find out how to hike to the base of Brandywine Falls here!
Stop 6 - Alpha Lake, Whistler: The next stop was Whistler, known for it’s world famous extreme sports – winter skiing and boarding and summer mountain biking, as well as beautiful hikes, lakes, and just about everything a nature enthusiast could want. A small lake nestled right in Whistler, Alpha Lake offers a quiet morning on the docks, perfectly paired with coffee.
Stop 7 - Alta Lake, Whistler: One of my favourite places in Whistler, Alta Lake is popular with watersports, is the site of many luxury homes, and has a number of view spots dotted around the perimeter, each equally lovely for viewing the gorgeous back drops.
Stop 8 - Green Lake, Whistler: The stunning Green Lake is, true to its name, a vibrant shade of green. The shores of the lake are right on the highway, so access is simply a question of finding a gap in the traffic to pull over to the side of the road.
Stop 9 - Nairn Falls Provincial Park: Established in 1966, the hike is a short 1.5km from the parking lot on a well-marked trail along glacier runoff towards the 60m high falls. On the way back, we spotted a side trail leading down to a white beach, where we splashed about in the icy cold water with a stunning backdrop.
Stop 10 - Joffre Lakes: Just past Pemberton lies the well-known and absolutely incredible Joffre Lakes hiking trail. Now easily one of my favourite places in BC, this hiking trail starts at First Lake, complete with a glacier and an abundance of birds, should you have some bread crumbs on hand. We then made it up to Second Lake in just over an hour. Although we didn’t make it to Third Lake for fear of the sun going down and having to descend the mountain in darkness, the views were stunning. (I came back and hiked the full thing in August, and boy was it worth it. Read my Joffre Lakes hiking guide here!)
Stop 11 - Seton Lake, Lillooet: We spent the night in Lillooet at a small motel overlooking the town. Just outside the town limits lay the stunning Seton Lake, where the mountains come together in a beautiful valley shape.
Stop 12 - Naxwit Picnic Site, Lillooet: Just beside the beautiful Seton Lake is Naxwit Picnic Site, overlooking the Seton River. Salmon swim through here during spawning season, but we were treated to an amazing sight as we caught a glimpse of four little white mountain goats bounding across the mountain side.
Stop 13 - Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park: The parking lot is right on the Trans-Canada Highway, just north of Spuzzum, about 40km from Hope. The walk down takes about 15 minutes and winds back and forth from the highway down to the water. The bridge will suddenly appear in your vision, and it’s breathtaking. The bridge is in the location of the Original Cariboo Wagon Road over the Fraser River. The area around the bridge has been used by First Nations for over 9,500 years and the original bridge was built in 1861. It was dismantled in 1912.