Its amazing how much there is to see and do in such a small corridor of B.C. Just outside of Vancouver city. It’s an active trip with lots of sites to visit, walks, hiking and lots of exploring.
Starting in Stanley Park, a 405 hectare park in Vancouver the first must see before you leave the city completely. There are even a few inner city beaches near Stanley park. English Bay, Second Beach and Third Beach. Stanley Park even has a 18 hole chip and putt golf course. Once youre done exploring head for Lions Gate Bridge.
Another must see in Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The park can take a couple of hours to walk around if you feel like really exploring. It’s about a 10 minute drive from Stanley park. However, if suspension bridges and walks through a park aren’t your thing just up the road you have Cypress mountain and there are plenty of hikes to do up there. From July to November it’s a great place to explore. St. Marks Summit is our favourite, with beautiful views of the Howe Sound, it’s a 11km round trip from the Cypress Mountain Downhill carpark
When you've finished exploring the outskirts of Vancouver head north on the Sea to Sky Highway 99 for Squamish. A good pit stop is Porteau Cove.
Next stop is Squamish, we’d recommend doing any of the following. First theres Shannon Falls to visit. The falls are Canadas third biggest waterfalls at 335 meteres high. Its located just off the Sea to Sky easy to see with lots of parking. It’s a quick stop and 30 mins would be a good visit.
Next is the Sea to Sky Gondola. The Gondola is a 10minute ride to the summit and gives you access to wonderful views of Howe sound, the Stawamus Chief and the mountains of the Coast Range. Plenty of hiking trails and a summit lodge to visit. A visit up the gondola can take you an hour or more if you wish.
Finally is the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. The Stawamus Chief is a 700m high granite dome. Its divided into three separate summits interstingly named the First, Second and Third peaks. Depending on how game you are the first peak is an 1.5hour – 2 hour hike, while all three can take around 6 hours.
After that amazingly busy day of admiring the Sea to Sky, The Howe sound and the various ranges, Squamish has plenty of options to park up for the night and enjoy a good rest. Here are a couple of suggestions;
Klahine Campground. - http://www.klahaniecampground.com/
Mamquam river campground - https://mamquamrivercampground.ca/
Paradise Valley Campground - https://paradisevalleycampground.net/
Squamish Valley campground - https://www.campsquamish.com/index.html
Make sure to book ahead of time to get the best spot!
After a well-deserved rest keep heading up 99 to Brandywine Falls, it’s a nice and easy way to start your day with an short 15minute walk to enjoy the impressive falls from a viewing platform. Make sure not to climb down to the bottom for a better photo and abide by all the guidelines on the signs about the park.
Once you’ve got the legs all warmed up time to head for the days main activity the Garibaldi Lake hike. Head to the Rubble Creek parking lot where the trailhead is located. It’s a long walk with a 18km round trip the walk should take around 5 to 6 hours with 800m of elevation. The views at the end is worth every bit of effort involved. Garibaldi Lake is a stunning blue lake surrounded by snow capped mountains. For the adventurous you can even go for a swim, but be wary of the temperature its definitely too cold for most!
For the very advanturist you can turn the 5-6 hour walk into an overnight hike to go and explore the famous Panorama Ridge. Make sure you’ve secured a spot at one of the campgrounds (Taylor meadows of Garibaldi lake) before heading off, at the BC Parks website; https://bcparks.ca/reserve/ The Panorama ridge gets to enjoy the Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding mountains from a lovely hike in the alpine. The hike can be done in a day for those that are in a rush and are highly motivated. The 30km loop makes for a about an 11hour walk. We have camping gear for hire that can help break this walk up if you’d like to enjoy the meadows and Garibaldi lake. Panorama ridge has some of the most scenic views in Garibaldi area.
If you don’t feel like much driving after a big walk there are a couple of campgrounds near by to rest up the night. The first is Cal-Chek recreation site a basic campground first come first served with fire pits, tables and pit toilets. Not too far is Whistler RV park that offres toilets and showers be sure to make a booking to secure a spot. A little further up the road is Riverside Whistler BC campground
Just north of the Whistler village is your best destination for your last night. This facility has toilets and showers and gives you easy access to Whistler and Blackcomb mountain where you can go exploring tomorrow if you’re up to it.
For your final day we suggest taking it easy, take the gondola up and enjoy the views from one of the worlds most famous ski resorts. Get a ticket to ride the peak to peak. Little known facts about the Peak 2 Peak, has 2 Guinness World Records in the 2015 book, ‘longest unsupported span between two cable cars’ and ‘highest cable car above ground’. Also it is the worlds longest continuous lift system.
Once you’re finished vanturing depending on your dropoff selection you can either park the van in Lot 5 and catch the bus back to Vancouver or you can return to where you picked the van up!
We hope you enjoyed your venture! Don’t forget to tag us in any post!