Never a more wondrous and beautiful place on this earth than British Columbia in the summertime. Gliding along the Sea to Sky Highway towards Whistler is a nature lovers dream. Multiple parks and beaches dot the route north. This was supposed to be a trip to Whistler for a few days and instead became about the journey from Seattle to Whistler and the beautiful scenery in between. The cool forests so green that you could smell the clean freshness in the air. Babbling brooks and rivers with the clearest waters. Multitudes of waterfalls so close that you could feel the mist on your face. B.C. is a paradise on earth.
Along the way, detour west to Horseshoe Bay to dig into crispy fish ‘n’ chips and watch the ferries sailing into port. A waterfront playground makes a great family rest stop. The first cultural interpretive kiosk is near Horseshoe Bay.
North of Horseshoe Bay is Porteau Cove Park, a popular diving destination. Not a diver? There is a rocky beach to explore or take a swim.
As you drive north along the shores of Howe Sound, you’ll pass Furry Creek Golf Course. The greens line the waters of the sound, making it one of the most scenic.
Furry Creek Golf Course, 150 Country Club Road, Furry Creek, B.C. 1-888-922-9462
Alice Lake is surrounded by towering mountains, dense forests and grassy areas. There are four fresh water lakes that dominate the landscape and make swimming and fishing very enjoyable pastimes. The trail around Alice Lake is a popular one for an evening stroll and for the more adventurous there is the Four Lakes Trail. There are excellent views of the Squamish River and the Tantalus Range from the DeBecks Hill Trail. This is a favorite family park.
There are multiple opportunities to get off the road and stretch your legs. Taking in all of the beautiful scenery that abounds throughout British Columbia.
Along the way you can view the Stawamus Chief.
The Stawamus Chief is hard to miss: it’s considered one of the largest granite monoliths in the world and its sheer rock face dominates the view from the highway. Adventurous visitors can try scaling the walls of this world-class climbing destination. Not a climber? Hike one of the challenging peak trails for fantastic views of Howe Sound and the Squamish Valley, or look for peregrine falcons, which frequently nest here. Kiosk 3 covers information about Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief.
Or hike one of the roadside trails and view the bounty of nature. Rivers and streams cut through the forest all over the place.
Do look out for Bears though!
Signs such as these were plentiful. A reminder that we share the earth.
Next up was Squamish,billed as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada,” is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Zoom down more than 600 mountain biking trails that weave through old-growth forests, windsurf at the Squamish Spit, or hike in a provincial park. Learn more about the area’s history at Kiosk 4 near the Squamish Adventure Center.
Cap off the day’s adventure with a locally brewed beer (named for iconic Sea-to-Sky landmarks) and fresh food at a restaurant, or with a visit to one of Squamish’s many art galleries. Overnight in Squamish.
North of Squamish is Brackendale, home to one of the highest concentrations of wintering bald eagles in North America. From November to February, look for these magnificent birds feeding on salmon from the main “Eagle Run” viewing facility. Or, take an “Eagle Safari” to cruise down the Squamish River via boat.
En route to Whistler is Garibaldi Provincial Park, which commands 480,000 acres of backcountry. Trek to clear lakes and alpine wildflowers in the summer, or go mountaineering, snowshoeing or backcountry skiing to snow-covered volcanic remnants in the winter. Five different access points are located along the highway.
For a quick waterfall sidetrip, detour west from Highway 99 via Callaghan Valley road to Alexander Falls Recreation Site. View a serene waterfall, take in scenic mountain views and watch for wildlife, such as black bears, alongside the road. Backtrack to Highway 99 and continue north. Just before Whistler is the Whistler Interpretive Forest Recreation Site, containing a 9,000 acre network of trails that are perfect for walking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. Cultural kiosk 5 is just south of Whistler.
So here we are after a long days journey and exploration, we have arrived in Whistler. Time to check into the Crystal Lodge and get some dinner and maybe an adult beverage. We have found the resort area to be very dog friendly, as Charlie was welcome everywhere we went. I encourage you to explore British Columbia!
Till next time, safe travels.