A gateway to adventure in Squamish, the Sea to Sky Gondola packs in amazing views of the Howe Sound and coastal mountains, plus scenic walks, cozy lodge cafés, and a dramatic suspension bridge. It’s one of the best things to do in Squamish or as a day trip from Vancouver. See what makes the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish worth a trip! While you are there, check out the trails at the Sea to Sky Gondola, which are perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.
What is the Sea to Sky Gondola?
Ok, so you might be picturing one of those cute Italian boats you’d see in Venice, but this is a whole different gondola. The Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish is a cable car that takes you through the Squamish Valley, bursting with some of the very best panoramic views over the forested valley coastal forests, and Howe Sound.
Once the 10-minute ride in the gondola cars to the top ends, you’re free to appreciate the rest that the experience offers. There are beginners and advanced trails at the Sea to Sky Gondola, interpretive walks, viewing platforms and lodges, dining options, an incredible suspension bridge, and even rock climbing and backcountry routes. There’s a little something for everyone at this popular spot in the town of Squamish!
Where is the Sea to Sky Gondola?
It’s located in the community of Squamish within the province of British Columbia in Canada. It’s located along the Sea-to-Sky Highway right next to the Howe Sound and is surrounded by the gorgeous landscapes of the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. It is a great day trip as it is about an hour from downtown Vancouver.
If you are making your way to Whistler village, this tourist attraction is a popular attraction along the Sea-to-Sky Highway with Shannon Falls and the Britannia Mine Museum in Britannia Beach.
Fun Facts About the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
- The gondola cabins have been custom-made by Swiss manufacturer CWA and the gondola itself is manufactured by Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr.
- The ride reaches up to an impressive 2,907-foot (886-meter) elevation with a spectacular view of the coastal mountain range.
- The gondola cable cars are wheelchair accessible and open to everyone, kids included!
- It opened in 2014, so it’s still fairly new!
- Squamish proclaims itself to be the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” and the Sea to Sky Gondola definitely embodies that! The Squamish area is popular for biking, hiking, fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing, and so much more! There really are endless activities for outdoor enthusiasts.
- There are impressive views of the Howe Sound and coastal mountains all around the area.
Activities at Sea to Sky Gondola
There’s something for everyone to enjoy here! Whether you’re into nature, stellar views, food, or adventure, you’ll find something here and have a great time! There is a reason it is a popular day trip from Vancouver for tourists and locals.
Start at the bottom of the Stawamus Chief mountain and make your way up the 10-minute cable car ride along the gondola line. Once you’re at the top, you’ll have ascended a whopping 886-meters (2,907-feet) with fantastic views of the Howe Sound and coastal mountains within this lush piece of Squamish!
As for the gondola cabins, they are adorable and well-made! 39 gondolas are operating that hold 8 passengers each, so there’s plenty of room for a group of friends or family! They also use comfortable padded seats and floor-to-ceiling glass windows for spectacular views in literally every direction. It’s a thrilling adventure and makes for one of the best things to do in Squamish, BC! You literally get a bird’s eye view of the whole area on a clear day.
Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge
It might not be as long as the Capilano Suspension Bridge (another must-see day trip from Vancouver and one of my favourites), but it’s still a lot of fun with awesome views! It stretches above the lush Alpine reaching around 100 meters long.
And if heights scare you, you’ll be glad to know that the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is definitely less wobbly than Capilano. It’s also the perfect spot for Squamish photo ideas and inspiration with the views of the Howe Sound and coastal mountains of Stawamus Chief! You absolutely don’t want to miss out on a walk across this bridge when you visit.
Viewing Platforms at Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
Soak up some of the most incredible views of Stawamus Chief and the Howe Sound at one of the three viewing platforms. These viewing decks help to create gorgeous backdrops for photo ideas and inspiration in Squamish!
Summit Lodge Viewing Deck
When you hop off the gondola, you’ll be just a hop and a skip away from the Summit Lodge Viewing Deck. Here you can enjoy the 5,000 sq/ft deck and its superb views of Howe Sound and surrounding mountain ranges and alpine forests.
It’s also attached to the Summit Lodge, which serves as an eatery and bar. Grab a drink, some snacks, and revel in the good views. Stick around for a glorious sunset casting down on the Sound.
Bonus! Are you visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola in the summer? This viewing deck hosts tons of events like live music, yoga classes for those that practice yoga, wine pairing dinners, and more!
Spirit Viewing Platform
Reached by crossing the beautiful Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge or walking the Spirit Trail, this platform offers a different experience. It’s the perfect spot for nature and history lovers looking to learn about the landscapes. That’s because they have dotted the trail with fun information displays where you can learn all about the surrounding landscape, including its wildlife and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation (Squamish Nation) history.
Then, it’s also one of the best spots for photo ideas and inspiration at the Sea to Sky Gondola! It’s even been used as a wedding venue and certainly engagement and wedding photo spot, too.
Chief Overlook Viewing Platform
Hanging over hundreds of metres of the coastal mountains, this is the perfect platform to get your adrenalin kicking as you stand close to the edge. It’s absolutely picturesque, and the photos you can get here are equally as perfect!
Around you, you’ll have the Stawamus Chief, Mamquam Valley, Howe Sound, as well as gorgeously clear views of Mount Atwell.
You can find the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform from the middle of the Panorama Trail and is around a 10 to 20 minute walk from Summit Lodge.
Hiking at Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
One of the best things to do in Squamish is hiking! Seriously, the landscapes and natural beauty here should be fully embraced, and hiking is the best way to do that. The walking trails at the Sea to Sky Gondola are made for adventure lovers.
Front Country Trails
There are six front country trails to trek along when you visit Sea to Sky Gondola. They are all beginner-friendly or intermediate, so they’re ideal no matter what shape the trail finds you in. Squamish really is the outdoor capital of Canada!
Spirit Trail: This 400-metre trail takes about 20 minutes to walk, so it’s the best hike if you’re short on time. But don’t skip this trail just because it’s short! It takes you on a walk through the land’s history and its First Nations people.
Panorama Trail: Through old-growth forests and picturesque vistas, this trail brings you to the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform. It’s beginner-friendly, 1.3 km, and takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Wonderland Lake Loop: This is such a beautiful trail, taking you onto a boardwalk around a lily-pad-filled lake and tons of natural beauty! It’s beginner/intermediate, a 1.6 km loop, and takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Back Country Trails
Dive into some more adventurous hiking in this area of the Squamish backcountry in the coast mountains. There are so many options for trails at the Sea to Sky Gondola if you have the time.
Sea to Summit Trail: If you’re looking for a climbing adventure, this trail is a must! It’s for intermediate and advanced hikers, and it will bring you to the base of the facilities. So, you only need to pay $15 for the gondola ride back down! There’s a money-saving tip for an ambitious hiker. It’s 6.5 km one way and takes around 3 to 5 hours. You’ll need a BC Parks Pass to do the hike. Here are all the details.
Shannon Basin Loop: This fun, intermediate trail takes you deep into the back country’s natural beauty. It also flaunts impressive views of Goat Ridge, Shannon Creek, and Sky Pilot. It’s 9.7 km and takes 2 to 3 hours to complete.
Al’s Habrich Trail: The epitome of backcountry hiking in Squamish, this trail is a must for advanced hikers. You’ll get epic views of the landscapes along with Howe Sound and the Sky Point Suspension Bridge. It’s 8.4 km and takes 3 to 6 hours return.
Sea to Sky Gondola FAQs
You can buy your tickets online at a cheaper rate. Your purchase gives you access to the entire facility and one round trip ride on the gondola. See the current prices here.
FREE! Guest parking is open from 8 a.m. until one hour after closing.
Pets are not allowed up the gondola, but there is a ride down only option for dogs. Here is their dog policy.
Yep! It is both stroller and wheelchair accessible.
No. The tickets you buy online can be used anytime. However, special event tickets must be purchased in advance.
Riding the cable car at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish is a must-have experience! Whether you’re looking for things to do in Squamish or a day trip from Vancouver, the gondola plus the amazing trails and viewpoints, make this destination a hot pick for a good time!
A special thank you to the Sea to Sky Gondola for the opportunity to visit. All opinions are my own.