The Sea to Sky Highway is the name given to a section of Highway 99, north of Vancouver, beginning at Horseshoe Bay and running for 83 miles (134km) to the north past Lions Bay, Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The Sea to Sky section of the highway ends at Pemberton where the road becomes Duffy Lake Road.
The Sea to Sky Highway is frequently rated up there as one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world. Hugging the coast all the way to the top of Howe Sound, then heading inland, you are guaranteed some spectacular scenery along the way and a number of scenic viewpoints where you can stop and safely enjoy the views.
You may be using the Sea to Sky Highway on your way up to Squamish and Whistler, though it’s worth noting that there are actually a great many attractions along the highway which you can also enjoy, so if you have the time, spend a day or more on the Sea to Sky Highway to really make the most of it.
Please note that as part of the improvements for access to Whistler for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics there is a lot of construction taking place on the Sea to Sky Highway as well as road closures. This may affect your journey so it’s worth checking on construction news before you leave.
The coastal Village of Lions Bay is situated about 6.25 miles (10km) north of Horseshoe Bay in its picturesque setting between the Coastal Mountains and Howe Sound. Lions Bay is just a small community full of artists, writers and musicians and offers visitors a marina, general store and a small café, plus the Lions Bay Art Gallery and makes a pleasant place for a short stop.
The next village heading up the Sea to Sky Highway is Porteau and it’s here that you’ll find Porteau Cove Provincial Park. In comparison to many of BC’s provincial parks, Porteau Cove is quite small at just 50 hectares, but it does have a lot of facilities including camping, showers, washrooms, picnic areas, boat launch, fishing, windsurfing, scuba diving and cycling amongst others so it’s a great place to stop off for a picnic or stay overnight if you have an RV or tent. For further information about the Porteau Cove Provincial Park please visit the BC Parks Website.
Just past the small community of Minaty Bay is the larger coastal village of Britannia Beach, about a further 5.5 miles (9km) up the Sea to Sky Highway. Britannia Beach is most famous as a mining community and was built up around the copper mine. The mine ceased production in 1974 but just a year later it was opened to the public as the BC Museum of Mining. Read all about the museum on our BC Museum of Mining page.
Just over a mile (2 kms) north of Britannia Beach along the Sea to Sky Highway is the next park, Murrin Provincial Park. Like Portea Cove, Murrin Provincial Park is compact though don’t let this put you off. There is some stunning scenery here (along with the rest of the Sea to Sky Corridor!) and Murrin is particularly renowned for its various climbing walls, as well as picnicking opportunities, swimming, fishing and walking. Visit the BC Parks website for further information.
Just south of Squamish is the famous Shannon Falls Provincial Park. The falls are the third highest in BC at 335 meters above the Sea to Sky Highway. As the park is directly accessible from the highway this is an excellent place to stop off, admire the falls and stay for a picnic or enjoy some of the hiking trails, climbing, cycling and wildlife viewing. Visit the BC Parks website for further information on the facilities here at Shannon Falls Provincial Park.
Squamish is the largest town on this stretch of the Sea to Sky Highway and sits at the northern end of Howe Sound. Being the largest town in the area there are many facilities here for residents and visitors alike so it would make a good place for an overnight stay. Read our Squamish page for further information about what you can see and do here.
A mile (2km) or so north of Squamish is the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, which you can read all about on our dedicated West Coast Railway Heritage Park page.
The beautiful Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is located just 7 miles (11km) south of Whistler. At the time of writing, the park is only open for day use because of the construction happening on the Sea to Sky Highway and hence there are no overnight facilities or camping allowed. However, visitors can park and take the short walk to the waterfall viewing points and this is a good idea for a short stopover from your journey up to, or down from, Whistler. The BC Parks website has updated information regarding park opening and the facilities available here.
About 78 miles (125 km) north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway you reach Whistler. It’s not a difficult place to miss because the resort has now grown so substantially due to demand from winter sports enthusiasts and summer mountain bikers and hikers. Suffice it to say that Whistler is probably the most famous ski resort in the world! There’s so much to say about Whistler that we’ve dedicated several pages to it, so please visit our Whistler page for further information.
About 20 minutes drive north of Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway is the final provincial park of the area, Nairn Falls. Nairn Falls Provincial Park is a popular stop-off for visitors who want to camp near to Whistler and enjoy the other attractions and scenic beauty of the area. As the name suggests there is also a waterfall here. Nairn Falls are 60 meters high and can be viewed via a hiking trail of just under a mile (1.5km). Find out about camping and everything else you can do on the BC Parks website.
And so to the end of what’s known as the Sea to Sky Highway, at the village of Pemberton. Located below the towering Mount Currie, Pemberton is a relatively small community which is growing fast. The first Pemberton Music Festival took place here in 2008 and this could signal the start of an annual occurrence!