According to their Tourism website, Whistler averages 2.1 million visitors each year, with summer tourists making up for 52% of that number. With it being such a popular place to holiday year round, I often wonder how many of those visitors stop at the attractions along the Sea to Sky highway route!?
In all the times hubby and I have been up that way, we don’t stop unless the hunger pains are biting.
With the kids in tow this time around, I wanted to make sure we visited the must see places on the way to Whistler.
Must See Places on the way to Whistler
Sea to Sky Gondola
The 10 minute ride in a cushy 8 passenger capacity gondola takes you to the Summit Lodge located at 885m above sea level. Once at the top you are free to roam about at your leisure. There are numerous walking and hiking trails, viewing platforms, and the remarkable Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.
The gondola is open year round, and both summer and winter offer different activities for you to enjoy.
- Snowshoeing – there are five marked snowshoeing trails as well as access to endless terrain if you are equipped for the backcountry.
- Winter Walking – rent some crampons and poles from the Summit Lodge and walk the trails. If walking in snow isn’t your thing, the suspension bridge and Summit Lodge deck are always cleared.
- Tubing – with four lanes of varying sliding levels, the old-fashioned tube park offers sliding fun for all ages.
- The tube park is an additional charge of $5.00 per person
- Open from 10:00am – 4:00pm (last tube rental is at 3:45pm)
- Lanes are open as weather permits
- You are required to walk back up the hill after you have tubed down
- Hiking – there are eight main hiking trails of varying range and difficulty accessed from the top of the the gondola.
- Walking Trails – there are several easy walking trails to enjoy
- Front Country Trails – offers two easily accessible walking trails starting right from the top of the Gondola. Both are graded trails and are relatively level with no steep climbs or descents.
- The Panorama Trail – is a 1.6 km long loop trail that takes you on a journey through coastal forest.
- The Spirit Trail – is a 400 meter long loop that takes guests on an interpretive journey through the history of the land.
- The Lookback Loop – is a 15 – 20 minute single track loop that begins off the Panorama Trail and goes out to a granite cliff that overlooks Goat Ridge, as well as the upper reaches of the gondola.
- Rock Climbing – there are two locations identified as rock climbing areas
- Wrinkle Rock – offers a range of easier routes that are a combination of crack and slab affair.
- Klettergarten (Ultraviolet Cliff) – is now one of the easier accessed cliffs in Squamish, as it is located only 200 metres above the gondola’s top station. This cliff offers eight fully cleaned routes with bolted anchors.
There are also three venues that offer a variety of snacks, drinks and meals.
- The Summit Restaurant and Edge Bar – is the only place you can dine 885 meters above Howe Sound.
- Serves fresh local cuisine
- The bar serves a variety of local beers, BC Wines and spirits
- The Summit Tea House – offers grab and go food service, and an excellent selection of tea.
- The Basecamp Cafe – located at the base of the Gondola, the cafe offers hot and cold beverages, baked goods, gelato and snacks.
As you can see there is plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast at the Sea to Sky Gondola, but it is also just a great place for the family to hang out for the day (or a few hours).
Please check their website for current Gondola rates and operating hours.
Britannia Mine Museum
Location: Along the Sea to Sky highway, 10 minutes south of Squamish
On the way back from Whistler we spent a few wonderful hours at the Britannia Mine Museum.
I remember going to the museum when I was quite young, and have fond memories of panning for gold. So I was pleased to find out that this activity is still in service.
As an adult I was able to appreciate the entire wonder of the museum, and both hubby and I were extremely impressed with every exhibit and activity this National Historic Site offers.
- The underground tour is fun yet informative.
- The seventeen industrial and residential buildings provide you with insight and a better understanding of what life was actually like when the mine was in full operation.
- The Britannia A to Z Historical Exhibits allows you to dig even deeper into the Britannia community as a whole with personal stories, photos and artifacts.
- The Machine Shop explains what each machine, tool and equipment was used for during mining operation.
- And, the Visitor Centre provides many hands-on exhibits, as well as an award-winning film tracing Britannia’s mining heritage.
However the BEST part of the entire museum, in my opinion, is Mill 3.
Mill 3 gives you access to where the ore used to be processed. We were completely wowed with the enormity of this industrial building.
Ticket price for the Britannia Mine Museum are as follows: (price doesn’t include taxes)
- Adults: $27.00
- Senior (65+): 23.00
- Youth (13-18): $23.00
- Child (5 – 12): $18.50
- Preschool (4 and under): Free
They also offer a special family rate of $99.00 (family of 2 adults and 3 children).
If you ask me, the experience and hands-on learning this museum provides is well worth the price of admission!
Sure Whistler is extremely enjoyable on its own, but why not make your trip even more memorable and include these must see stops along the way!?
Have you been to either of these places? Let me know in the comments below.
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