Sea to Sky Highway, Vancouver
Porteau Cove Provincial Park is situated on the most southerly fjord in North America just 38 km north of Vancouver, and features waterfront campsites with a view over Howe Sound to the mountains beyond. Porteau Cove Provincial Park provides an incredible setting, especially if the weather is in favour, the views from the campground of the Sea to Sky Highway are spectacular. For divers interested in marine wrecks, here lies the watery grave of 4 ships, amongst which is the minesweeper Nakayama.
As this is the only provincial campground on the Sound, campsites are in constant demand from late May to early October.
If you have access to a car and the skies are clear enough, a drive along the "Sea to Sky Highway" might be a good idea if you're looking for a scenic drive outside of the city. Though officially known as "Hwy 99" on road signs and maps, the segment of highway between Vancouver and Whistler has been called the "Sea to Sky highway" due to its extreme geography.
On one side of the highway is the Howe Sound fjord - a wide body of water carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers. This is often considered the southern-most fjord on the Pacific North American coast. On the other side of the highway are the Coast Mountains, literally jetting up into the sky by the roadside. This unique simultanious experience of water and mountains is what's responsible for the highway's name.
Though considered a dangerous highway by some, the curvy nature of this highway becomes dangerous if you do not pay attention to speed limits. Otherwise, it's a pleasure to drive.
Generally I consider the first half of the highway, between Vancouver and Squamish, to be the most scenic, as this is the part of the highway that follows the coast of Howe Sound. Once you read the town of Squamish and start heading north to Whistler, the highway heads inland and loses its coastal scenery.
One of my favorite hikes is in garibaldi park,
its fairly close to the city, and its called
black tusk. It can take anywhere between 3 to 4 hours to get to garibaldi glacier lake, where you can pick up the trail that goes right up to the tusk(a mountain that is in the shape of a tusk....you can't miss it once your at the lake).
Around the lake, there are something like 6 small shelters, including a picnic table, and a counter,more importantly a roof and 4 walls.
Do be warned, that as late as june, there is still snow around the lake, and it is very difficult to go the whole way up to the tusk. It is also very cold, so if your planning on spending the night, make sure to bring a good cold weather sleeping bag, and the nessecary provisions. If you are going up to the Tusk it will take an additional 2 or 3 hours to get to the top of the trail.
The scenery is absolutly wonderful, so do enjoy, and take care if you decide to go up to Black Tusk!!!
There are aslo some alternative hikes in the same park, that are equaly as beautiful. Including Taylor Meadows, and Panorama Ridge.
Taylor Meadows takes about the same amount of time from the parking lot (called Rubble Creek), as it takes to get to Black Tusk. And getting to Panorama ridge takes about 2 hours from garibaldi lake.
Leave Vancouver via Horseshoe bay, headed towards Whistler. About 20 minutes after Squamish you will cross a bridge, called Rubble Creek. Right after the bridge turn right and you will end up at the starting point to lots of great hikes in garibaldi park!
If you're heading up to Squamish or Whistler the Sea to Sky highway will reward you with breathtaking veiws. There are plenty of places to stop and take photo. And even ore place to camp, have a picnic or a short stroll or long hike. Allow an hour for your journey to Squamish and an hour and a half to two hours to Whistler.
I don't know how off the beaten path this is...I had never heard of them, so thats why I am putting it here. Shannon Falls is near the town of Squamish between Vancouver and Whistler on the Sea to Sky highway. It is a provincial park the has a waterfall 335m high! The falls are accessed by a short trail from the parking lot. There is also a picnic area with a few tables.
The Stawamus Chief is a huge monolith of a mountain found north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway in the town of Squamish. This hike takes you around the back of the mountain and offers 3 separate peaks to choose from. First peak (or south peak) is the closest (about 50 minutes) followed by Second peak (definately the most scenic, about an hour ascent), which is adjacent to first peak and finally 3rd or north peak peak is about 1 hour 15 minutes from the trail head and is the least frequented peak. The climb, while not overly long, is strenuous as you gain alititude on man made stairs and 'natural' rock stairs at the trails beginning. Near the peak you are aided by chains and a small ladder at Second Peak. have no fear when traversing the huge boulders and witnessed a 5 year old girl (with her dad) conquer these mammoth rocks. The parking lot is just before you enter the town of squamish and the path to the trailhead is clearly marked. Make sure to arrive early, however, as this is the most popular day hike in British Columbia.
On the Beartooth Highway, en route to Whistler, you absolutely MUST pull over and hike up to Shannon Falls. It only takes like 3 minutes and it's absolutely beautiful, especially if you hit it on a sunny day.
Head out to Whistler and Pemberton on the 99Highway. There are loads of great Hiking spots up there. I have done Garibaldi Lake, which is well worth it.