The Sea to Sky Gondola is an attraction that includes a gondola, hiking trails, suspension bridge and amazing views of Howe Sound and the Squamish Valley.
TIP: If you want to save 10% on the price of admission through Tiqets.com, use the promo code VANBEST10 when buying your tickets online. The promo code is only good though if you do the transaction through our Tiqets.com link. This offer is valid on purchases made up until August 31st 2022 (but good for visits after that date if purchased in advance)! (Note: You can buy individual tickets through Tiqets.com, but not family passes which can only be purchased directly from the Sea to Sky Gondola. For individual tickets, however, you’ll save money through this offer.
This article contains the following information about the Sea to Sky Gondola:
Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
The Sea to Sky Gondola is located at 36800 Highway 99, also known as the Sea to Sky Highway, just 2 km south of Squamish. It’s close to an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver. The attraction’s basecamp and parking lot are right next to the highway, and the gondola terminates 885 metres or 2,950 feet above sea level.
The Gondola Experience
The Sea to Sky Gondola attraction includes a gondola ride up, spectacular views, a bar, a cafeteria and hiking trails. There is also a suspension bridge and a free optional guided tour at the top (most years), plus of course the gondola ride back down.
In winter, the attraction also has snowshoe trails, a tubing park and access to back-country skiing (which is where you hike out with your equipment to find new snow).
The Gondola Ride
The Sea to Sky Gondola attraction begins with the ride up in the gondola which seats up to 8 people per car. The journey takes about 10 minutes to ascend the 850 or so metres. The views from the gondola are stunning and whet the appetite for the even more spectacular sights at the top.
The Sea to Sky Gondola Trails
At the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola are a number of well-laid-out trails. One of them is the 1.6 km Panorama Trail that leads to a viewing platform overlooking the Stawamus Chief Mountain and entire Squamish Valley.
There are other great trails as well, including the 1.6 km Wonderland Lake Loop. If you only have time or energy to do one though, then make it the Panorama Trail. Both trails are fairly level and family-friendly.
Other trails also exist at the top, including the short 400 m Spirit Trail just behind the lodge, plus other more serious ones that go further up the mountain or into the back country.
From the base of the Sea to Sky Gondola, back close to sea level by the highway, there is also a hike all the way up. This route is comparable to the hike up the Stawamus Chief, but longer, and infinitely more scenic than that of North Vancouver’s famous Grouse Grind.
Top to bottom, the hike up the Sea to Summit Trail is about 7.5 km and takes between 2.5 and 5 hours, all depending on your level of fitness and how fast you go. The hike is rated intermediate/advanced and downhill travel is not recommended. People (and their dogs) pay just $15 or so to descend by gondola.
The Suspension Bridge
The Sea to Sky Gondola has an impressive suspension bridge. It’s not as long as the one at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, but it’s less wobbly and the views are equally as impressive, if not more so.
Sea to Sky Gondola Guided Tours
Free educational guided tours take place a couple of times each day most years. They last for about 45 minutes and take place along the 400 metre long Spirit Trail. They include information about the local history and natural environment. The tours are excellent and highly recommended.
TIP: Don’t miss the free guided tours when they’re available. They are included with the price of admission and are highly informative and educational. You won’t be disappointed!
Sea to Sky Gondola in Winter
In the winter season, in years when there’s snow, the Sea to Sky Gondola offers snowshoeing (along the summer hiking trails), tubing in their tube park and access to some incredible back-country skiing.
The cost for tubing is only about $5 and includes tube rental and unlimited tubing during park hours for the day, snow and weather permitting. No toboggans or other similar types of devices are allowed, only tubes. There is also a height requirement of 42 inches to use the tube park.
Snowshoeing is free and snowshoes are available to rent for about $20 for adults. The regular hiking trails can be done in snowshoes, providing a different experience compared to the summer.
The backcountry skiing is only for expert skiers. The area is not patrolled by Sea to Sky gondola and there is some steep terrain. It’s possible for things to go wrong if you aren’t experienced enough! For those who know what they’re doing, however, it’s a beautiful place to ski.
Admission to the Sea to Sky Gondola isn’t cheap, but if you go on a sunny day, stay for at least a couple of hours, it’s still good value. The views are truly spectacular and world-class.
Online prices as of February 2022 are listed below (excluding GST). Prices at the gate are between about $1 and $4 more depending on whether or visit on a weekday or a weekend.
- Adults: $55.95
- Seniors: $50.95
- Youth (13-18): $32.95
- Children (6-12): $18.95
- 5 and Under: Free
- Families (of 2 adults and 2 youth): $122
For people wanting to hike up but catch a ride down in the non-snowy months, the cost is about $14.50 per person. For the same price dogs can also go down on the gondola, but can’t catch a ride up.
The gondola is stroller and wheelchair accessible when there isn’t snow on the ground, as is the lodge and its viewing platform. Some of the nearby shorter trails are wheelchair accessible if you have a heavy-duty wheelchair and a strong motor or person to push.
Trails are gravel, so okay for strollers, but only ones with good solid wheels.
The main parking area is at the base of the gondola and it’s free. There is a 3-hour parking maximum, however.
For most people 3 hours of parking is adequate. If you plan to do extra hiking, spend a big chunk of time in the tubing park in wintertime or just don’t want to be rushed, however, then you’ll need to park 500 metres away at the Darrell Bay free parking area.
What’s in the Area
Within a short distance by car of the Sea to Sky Gondola are a number of the Lower Mainland’s top parks and attractions including Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Britannia Mine Museum, Shannon Falls, Stawamus Chief (the mountain and provincial park), Alice Lake and the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, all of which are well worth visiting while in the area.
Squamish itself proclaims to be the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” and the region is famous for its mountain biking, hiking, fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing and kite surfing.
For more information on what’s in the area, check out the Sea to Sky Region. It’s an amazing part of the Lower Mainland.
Advice and Suggestions
Below are some tips and advice to help you make the most out of your visit.
TIP #1: There is a lot to do in the area, so make your visit to the Sea to Sky Gondola a day trip and combine it with at least one or two other attractions. The region is truly a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
TIP #2: While in the area be sure to check out the Britannia Mine Museum. It’s very interesting.
TIP #3: The Sea to Sky Gondola is worth visiting any time of the year on a clear day. If it’s overcast, raining or a day with poor visibility, however, it’s not nearly as interesting. It’s the amazing views that you’re paying for.
TIP #4: The Sea to Sky Gondola can be a crazy busy place, with up to 4,000 people on a good day. The gondola goes quickly, so the lines move fast, but weekdays outside the summer season are best times to go if you want to avoid the crowds and lineups.
TIP #5: Again, join the guided tour. It’s free and adds to the experience.
For more information about this popular Squamish attraction, check out the Sea to Sky Gondola website.
If you like your Sea to Sky Gondola experience and want to see other places like it (but not completely the same), then you’ll love Whistler which is just an hour further up the Sea to Sky Highway and has its own gondolas and fabulous mountain views. Also, closer to Vancouver, is Grouse Mountain on the North Shore.
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