After more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions, we are all anxious to get away! With the vaccine rollout picking up steam, we are all hopeful that by summer the worst of the pandemic will be behind us. That said, most of us will still prefer to stay closer to home for our summer vacation. Why not let Expedia Cruises help you to plan a road trip through our beautiful province. We can help you with accommodations, activities, car rentals, and places to eat – thus taking the stress out of planning your getaway. All you have to, do is sit back and relax. Call us today! We can’t wait to assist you.
Here’s a chance to explore Vancouver and the Coast Mountains around Whistler. This trip is best suited for those looking to spend most of their time outdoors—there are countless day hikes, alpine lakes, and scenic vantage points to check out. In between adventures, you'll also get a taste of some of the best restaurants in Canada and have time to explore the downtown and cultural highlights of the city.
- Search for bald eagles from Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park en route to Whistler
- Enjoy a morning hike and picnic lunch in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
- Stand on Top of the World on Whistler Mountain and walk the Cloudraker Skybridge
|Day 1||Vancouver to Whistler (2 hours)||Whistler|
|Day 2||Day Hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park||Whistler|
|Day 3||Joffre Lakes, Pemberton, & Cloudraker Skybridge||Whistler|
|Day 4||Whistler to Vancouver (2 hours)||Vancouver|
Day 1: Arrive in Vancouver
Vancouver to Whistler (2 hours)
Morning light over Squamish, a popular rock climbing destination
Collect your rental car (keeping in mind Vancouver's rush hour is from 8-9 am) and begin your road trip north to Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of British Columbia's most iconic drives. A scenic route between the ocean and mountains, there are several great places to stop to break up the short drive.
Halfway to Whistler—and where the ocean, river, and alpine forest meet—there's Squamish, an access point for outdoor activities and adventure. Just before reaching Squamish, you can see the area's most famous peak from the highway, the Chief, a sheer granite rockface popular with skilled climbers. Pick up the Stawamus Chief Trail for a hike up the back to reach the summit (divided into three peaks and graded as an intermediate hike, it takes the average person 3-4 hours to reach the first—and most visited—summit). Or, take the Sea-to-Sky Gondola up the mountain for excellent views of Howe Sound from Summit Lodge at the top where you can also grab lunch.
You'll reach Whistler, an upscale, chalet-style pedestrian village (and venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics) in the early to mid-afternoon. Whistler is North America's largest winter sports resort worth a visit at any time of year. The village is built around Whistler-Blackcomb, twin peaks accessed by an ultramodern lift system that provides opportunities to hike, bike, canoe, kayak, rock climb, or zip-line in warmer months and ski or snowboard in the winter.
Recommended stops and activities:
- Shannon Falls. Short walk to British Columbia's third-highest waterfall.
- Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park. Home to one of North America's largest eagle populations.
- Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. Stand atop a 230-foot (70-m) waterfall and hike a 4-mile (7-km) circuit through dense forest and ancient lava beds to Cal-Cheak Suspension Bridge.
- Hiking. Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola up Whistler Mountain to access a variety of alpine hiking routes.
- Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Center. Sample First Nations cuisine and visit one of Whistler's best gift shops.
- Nita Lake Lodge. Have a drink or bite on the patio with views of Nita Lake and Rainbow mountain.
Driving time (Vancouver to Whistler): 2 hours (75 miles /120 km)
Day 2: Day Hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park
Icy blue Garibaldi Lake
Grab an early breakfast at Mount Currie Coffee before taking to the trails south of Whistler for a full day of hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park. En route, pull over to warm up the legs with an easy in-and-out trek through forest and over the rushing Cheakamus River to the historic Train Wreck site, a popular attraction of colorfully graffitied boxcars leftover from a 1956 derailed train (1.2 miles / 2 km).
Home to glaciers, wildflower meadows (late summer), and saw-tooth peaks, including the park's namesake mountain and impressive Black Tusk, Garibaldi Provincial Park offers a host of trails to choose from (most requiring at least a moderate level of fitness and expertise). From the Rubble Creek parking lot, pick up the Garibaldi Lake trail for an intermediate 11-mile (18-km) trek through thick forests of Douglas Firs, as you hike over an elevation of 2,690 feet (820 m). Stay awhile to soak up the view of the turquoise lake and glacier off in the distance before looping back. (Allow five to seven hours.)
Back in the village, indulge in a post-hike meal at Garibaldi Lift Co.—a popular spot with the locals and affectionately referred to as GLC—for a casual dinner of pub fare, draft beer, and live music that carries well into the night. Alternatively, grab a quick bite to eat and get cleaned up with a soothing mineral soak at Scandinave Spa and then make your way to elegant Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar, one of Whistler's long-running top restaurants.
Day 3: Joffre Lakes, Pemberton, & Cloudraker Skybridge
Upper Joffre Lake
Take full advantage of Whistler's prime location to the great outdoors. Get an early start to beat the crowds and drive the hour north to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park for a morning hike. The drive along Highway 99 itself is spectacular and the views of the glacial lakes of the park even more so. With a picnic lunch, set out from the parking lot (where most people linger for the quick and easy snapshot of Lower Joffre Lake) and follow the 6-mile (10-km) trail, an intermediate route with rewarding views of turquoise lakes, old-growth forests, waterfalls, and towering glacier-laden peaks.
On your return, stop in the quirky town of Pemberton. Founded as a farming and cowboy town that's retained its distant-outpost feel, join a tour of the Pemberton Distillery and stay for a tasting of their wild-honey liqueur followed by a visit to the Pemberton Museum for a peek into the town's past.
Grab a pastry at the woodsy Blackbird Bakery to fuel up for an afternoon of hiking, sightseeing, or summer skiing (Horstman Glacier is accessible most of the year for the advanced skier) back in Whistler. Check out Cloudraker Skybridge and Raven's Eye Cliff Walk on Whistler Mountain for 360° views over the Coast Mountains, reached by the Whistler Village Gondola (purchase tickets online in advance for discounts, check the weather forecast, and dress in layers).
Round out the day with an evening of live jazz and fine dining at Bearfoot Bistro, serving contemporary Canadian dishes from a multicourse prix-fixe menu and wine from one of western Canada's largest wine cellars. If you're still up for a short walk, head over to Cougar Mountain after dinner (10 minutes outside of the village) for Vallea Lumina, an enchanting lit-up night walk through an old-growth forest, alive with glowing lights, music, and special effects.
Day 4: Whistler to Vancouver (2 hours)
Stawamus Chief Provincial, near Squamish
Grab a smoothie at The Green Moustache and then load up the car and follow the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Vancouver. You'll pass through Squamish, a popular base camp for outdoor activities and adventure, where you can see the area's most famous peak from the highway, the Chief, a sheer granite rockface popular with skilled climbers.
Pick up the Stawamus Chief Trail for a hike up the back to reach the summit (divided into three peaks and graded as an intermediate hike, it takes the average person 3-4 hours to reach the first—and most visited—summit). Or, take the Sea-to-Sky Gondola up the mountain for excellent views of Howe Sound from Summit Lodge at the top where you can also grab lunch.
Driving time (Whistler to Vancouver): 2 hours (75 miles /120 km)
Map of Sea-to-Sky Highway: Vancouver to Whistler - 4 Days