Sea to Sky Highway – Episode 5 Part 1

As soon as we settled on Vancouver as the destination for our first remote work experience I put Whistler on the must visit list. We both really enjoy mountainous scenery and were excited to compare our own country’s beauty with other beautiful spots we’ve visited such as Switzerland and the Japanese Alps. It was hard to believe the day we’d been looking forward to for months had finally arrived.

Episode 5 Part 1:

Along with a visit to Whistler we decided to make a few stops along the way. There is a lot of natural beauty in British Columbia and this would be one of our best chances to see some of that. Nicole did some research and we chose 3 spots along the route to Whistler.

Something we were anticipating was a beautiful drive up into the mountains. As I planned the route out of Vancouver I learnt that the main highway North, Hwy 99, is also called the Sea to Sky Highway. It’s a fitting name as you start down on the sea in Vancouver (well, the bay to be accurate) and make your way up into the skies as you get higher and higher up the mountains. From downtown Vancouver the route goes through the famous Stanley Park, across the Lion Gate Bridge and through West Vancouver. Once past West Vancouver the landscape changes and the beauty really begins. Straight ahead beautiful mountain vistas and out to our left we can see the bay. We were really happy that our expectations were being blown away with the beauty that surrounded us.

Our first stop along the Sea to Sky Highway was the Britannia Mine Museum. Not so much a scenic stop, even if the view all around was beautiful, but more to learn a little history of the area. The Britannia Mine Museum is at the site of a retired copper mine, once one of the largest mining operations in Canada. As you drive into the parking lot your eyes will be drawn to the imposing 20 storey building up the mountain side. This is what’s called a concentrator and is where the ore was processed. This particular concentrator was quite innovative for it’s time, designed to utilize gravity in the processing of the ore. The grounds of the museum are an interesting place to stroll as there are old restored buildings and various leftover machinery littered around to explore. Some of the restored buildings house mini-museums some detailing all the equipment used for mining and others displaying the lives of miners and their families. The highlight of a visit to the Britannia Mine Museum is a ride on the guided mine tour, where you board a little trolley and are taken into a section of the mine. It’s a great way to get a sense for the conditions miners would have to deal with while doing their work. There are also various stops where you get to see the equipment and watch some of it being operated.

After getting our fill of mining we were off to our next couple stops along the Sea to Sky Highway, scenic stops to see a couple large waterfalls. First up was Shannon Falls, an imposing waterfall coming out from the mountains, witnessed from it’s base. From the parking lot it’s just a short hike along a well groomed path following a small river full of rapids to a viewing area where you can watch the impressive falls, cooled by lite mist. When leaving the viewing area there is a different path that can be taken back to the parking lot which takes you to an open field and an amazing angle to view the falls from afar.

A little further along the Sea to Sky Highway from Shannon Falls is Brandywine Falls Provincial Park with a short hiking trail taking you to another impressive and beautiful waterfall. This one is an interesting contrast from Shannon Falls as the viewing platform is at the top looking down at the falls. It’s interesting to think about how much of the cavern was carved out by this fast rushing water. On the canyon wall across from the viewing platform you can see layers of volcanic rock. Another beautiful and peaceful spot to take in the beauty of BC. As a bonus the trail takes you over a railway which makes for some awesome photos.

By this point we were already hitting early afternoon. We were both hungry and looking forward to reaching Whistler, exploring the village and taking a hike around Lost Lake, if we could find it. Catch episode 2 to continue along in Whistler.


There were several locations featured in this episode

  • Budget Car Rental (CLOSED) – Big rental car spot in Downtown Vancouver, which is unfortunately now closed permanently.
  • Staples – Staples in West Vancouver where we managed to print our vouchers.
  • McDonald’s – The Golden Arches, oh Nicole…
  • Britannia Mine Museum – An old mine and processing plant turned into a museum, including a guided tour into a section of the mine.
  • Shannon Falls – Beautiful waterfall in Squamish, BC on the way to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway (Hwy 99).
  • Brandywine Falls – Another stop along the Sea to Sky Highway, Brandywine Falls is in a Provincial Park of the same name.

Thanks for watching/reading!

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