The Sea to Sky Highway

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Aah, the Sea to Sky Highway. Even the name sounds enchanting.

Along the waters of Howe Sound and the Georgia Strait stretches a winding road that gives way to the scenic ocean vistas, soaring mountain peaks and, in the winter, dramatic frozen waterfalls. Starting in Vancouver, you make your way through Stanley Park and West Vancouver and up past Horseshoe Bay. This is where the view really opens up.

It is arguably the most beautiful drive in Canada.

The mountains are hauntingly beautiful under a thick layer of billowing mist that gives way to shadowed tree lines and snow capped peaks. The road continues on past Squamish and through the Coast Mountain range to Whistler.

Tip: When driving North (to Whistler) be sure to sit on the left side of the vehicle, and on the right for the drive back to Vancouver for the best views.

There are plenty of roadside stops on this highway, with the most impressive being the Brackendale Eagle Run Park which boasts the largest gathering of bald eagles in North America. I figured this might have meant a bird or two sitting in a tree, but wow was I wrong.

Right off the Highway in Brackendale is a smaller road along the Squamish River that we crossed and climbed up the bank. I saw them immediately. One large eagle was perched on a piece of wood in the centre of the river. Two more were sitting behind him, and about five more resting on the river’s edge to the right. The trees were speckled with white feathered heads and I began to lose count. Further down the river a single tree held over two dozen on its bare branches. It was incredible.

Tip: Eagle viewing is at its peak from mid-December to mid-January but significant numbers of eagles may be present from mid-November to mid-February.

I watched the birds for awhile, sometimes swooping over the churning river and occasionally moving from tree to tree. But, it was when I noticed an eagle in a tree right above my head and the moment that it lifted off into the air that I was truly impressed.

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Other highlights included a stop at the not yet opened Sea to Sky Gondola. It is set to open in May 2014 and will provide a thrilling ride to the top of the mountain and panoramic view over Howe Sound and the surrounding landscape. We toured the construction site and got to check out the gondolas themselves.

Squamish makes a perfect halfway point on the drive to grab a snack or hot drink before hitting the road again. Or, you could even make it the main attraction and spend a few days at the crossroads between incomparable outdoor recreation and unforgettable West Coast culture.

The entire drive is full of unbelievable views that you don’t even have to leave the car to enjoy. Driver and passenger alike will fall in love with the Sea to Sky highway.

Enjoy your drive…

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The brand new Sea to Sky Gondola is set to open in May 2014.

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The Coast Mountains and Sea to Sky Highway as seen from Bowen Island

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A mischievous seal playing in the river

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Team #ExploreBC in front of the gondolas

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People around the World have driven the Sea to Sky Highway:

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Do you see a pin from your home?

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This trip was made possible by Destination British Columbia.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Have you driven the Sea to Sky Highway?

 

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