The Sea to Sky Highway is a mythical road that links the town of Horseshoe Bay, on the shores of Howe Sound, to the small mountain village of Whistler in Canada. This “Sea to Sky Highway” is about 300 kilometers (185 miles) long. It reveals an infinite variety of landscapes at every turn. At the start, Howe Sound offers a breathtaking panorama of tree-lined islets and fjords, pebble beaches, and cliffs bathed in turquoise waters.
Where is the Sea to Sky Highway?
The Sea to Sky Highway is the nickname given to the section of British Columbia Highway 99 that runs along the beach of Howe Sound north of Horseshoe Bay. From the sea (the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound) to the high slopes of Whistler, this portion of the route runs.
You can locate this road on the map below:
Enlarge the map
Facts about Sea to Sky Highway:
Surprisingly, the name Highway 99 was obtained from U.S. Highway 99, which terminates at the United States-Canada border (which later became Interstate 5, 2223 kilometers, 1380 miles long). The initial section of the highway was finished in 1942, but it was not completed until 1966 when it reached Pemberton. As a result, the Sea to Sky Highway has a long and illustrious history.
The most well-known part, which draws tourists from all over the world, runs between Vancouver and Whistler, however, the route extends beyond these two points.
We all know that road trips make for some of the most memorable vacations. You’ll have an incredible time whether you drive the entire trip or simply the most gorgeous sections.
Highway 99 was upgraded in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The purpose of this project, which began in 2005, was to adapt the highway to the predicted increase in traffic by increasing the traffic lanes and adding a physical concrete divider between them. It’s worth noting that advancements had already occurred in the 1980s.
By the way, the Sea to Sky Highway is a gorgeous route to the north and northeast, but not the quickest. Trans Canada Highway 1 will get you to Calgary, Edmonton, or Prince George faster than any other route.
Things to see during this road trip:
This picturesque road connects Vancouver with the breathtaking mountains that surround Whistler. At the same time, you’ll be treated to beautiful coastal views, rocky mountains, and spectacular waterfalls.
The opening of Howe Sound at the Strait of Georgia is the first stop on this road trip. It offers breathtaking views of the fjords and charming islands along the coast.
The 335-meter high Shannon Falls cascade, as well as the massive cliffs that line the road, will enchant you. The road then heads inland, through a meandering valley surrounded by mountains, glaciers, and alpine meadows.
The road passes various entrances to Garibaldi Park, which has numerous hiking trails where you may enjoy the natural surroundings.
You’ll never be bored in Whistler once you arrive. Nestled amid gorgeous mountains, this town is simply the world’s winter sports capital. As you continue your journey, you’ll pass through pine forests on your way to the Fraser Canyon’s dry plains.
Pavilion Lake is the destination at the end of the drive. Micro bacteria identical to the first beginnings of life on our planet are said to live in this unique freshwater lake.
How to get to the Sea to Sky Highway?
Coming from the south, the route starts at the US-Canada border, passes through Vancouver and Whistler, and connects to Highway 97 near Cache Creek. The full section is about 300 kilometers (185 miles) long and takes approximately 5 hours to complete without stopping.
The most gorgeous section, though, is 121 kilometers (75 miles) long and takes roughly an hour and a half to drive from Vancouver to Whistler (again, without stopping).
You can trace the itinerary of this 121 kilometers (185 miles) section on this map:
A video of the journey:
You can have a preview of that drive. You just have to watch this YouTube video as it shows a part of the road:
Is Sea to Sky Highway open?
The route is open all year, but it may be closed at times due to weather conditions.
This is, after all, a mountain route, where rain, snow, and even wildlife can have an impact on driving conditions.
The speed limit on the Sea-to-Sky highway ranges from 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph) to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph), with 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph) sections near Lions Bay, Britannia Beach, and parts of Squamish.
It is located on a steep cliff overlooking, and many motorists have died on it as a result of bad weather, poor sight, speeding, passing slower vehicles, or driving while intoxicated. It’s been termed the “killing highway,” the “highway of death,” and the “ski and death highway” by several media outlets.
Few roadways in the world can compare to the Sea to Sky Highway in terms of breathtaking scenery. This fabled highway from Vancouver to Whistler and beyond, officially known as BC Highway 99, offers breathtaking views at every bend. It’s also jam-packed with entertaining stops like outdoor attractions, cultural icons, and historical places. So, if you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss out on this road trip!
Picture credit: Kyle Pearce, Ruth Hartnup on flickr.com
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