Travel Chapters: Canada Costal West
The West Coast of Canada is a rugged place where the ocean and mountains meet. It you are a person who can't decide between the ocean or the mountains this may be the place for you. I have written up a few of my favorite stops along the sea to sky highway, I have visited this area several times and by no means have seen it all, but here are some great hikes and things to do in the area. I will start by Chilliwack, BC and work up from there to Pemberton.
Chilliwack is a small little city near the south part of the west coast of BC. A friend recommended we climb a mountain out here with a big group of our friends. From the photos online I had my reservations about Mount Cheam but I was excited to hang out with some friends on a nice hike. The road up to the mountain is treacherous! There are many culverts so a 4x4 high axle vehicle is essential. You pretty much drive up he entire mountain, so the hike is only about an hour long. We decided to go up for sunrise and got completely treated to a sight of a lifetime! The entire valley was covered in a cloud inversion and the sun was rising on top, making everything golden. The pictures speak for themselves. It wold be a pretty hike regardless of the conditions but out conditions were particularly special. I recommend this hike, not so much the scary logging road up. Sadly our friend Nathaniel popped his tire on the way up, which we discovered after our hike but got it changed quick. Such an amazing little place!
Next near this area is Jones Lake is also near the area, and it is a very beautiful place! There are many campgrounds in the area so it's a good idea to research. We were just sleeping in my car so we found places to park up for the night.
Golden ears is not very far out of Vancouver and I honestly haven't spent a lot of time out here but it is a beautiful Mossy place. We stayed a night here at one of the campgrounds for my birthday. There are lots of hikes in the area and opportunities to get to higher ground.
Vancouver is a busy city that has many opportunities, the aquarium is a great place to visit as well as the sea wall for a walk or to get near the ocean. I haven't spent heaps of time in the city for obvious reasons but it is where many of my friends live so I have been in the city several times.
Squamish is an amazing place that has become majorly popular over the last few years. It is an hour from Vancouver and a dream if you like climbing, running, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, kayaking and pretty much any outdoor activity. The town is a giant machine of talented athletes and outdoorsy people. I have run an ultra marathon here on some incredible trails and the area is a blast. I have also done Mountain biking at Alice Lake with Vancouver Mountain Biking and had the best time! There are several cafes and yoga studios so you are always busy, and Whistler is only 45mins away. Whenever I am here I like to visit Cat Lake. It is a great little swimming hole and a good way to spend an afternoon. The sea to sky gondola is also a fun time with epic views. You can hike to the top of the Squamish chief or you can climb the big granite wall if you're capable. There are many trails and little lakes to explore, I have yet to kepp exploring out there.
Whistler is amazing! It must be because of the thousands of people that populate the tiny village. It is every outdoor enthusiasts dream to live in Whistler, and for good reason. The place can keep you busy for a lifetime. I will stat with Garibaldi Provincial Park. Lake Cheakamus is only an hour hike to a lovely little lake with camping along the shore. **Warning** all of these area are highly populated in summer and it is actually a tad bit disturbing. Garibaldi is the worst really. It is the most beautifully stunning park with days of hiking packed into it, however people have neglected it horribly and they even had to shoot a bear while we were there because people were leaving food behind. It is so sad really. Leave no trace my friends. That being said, if you do get out there you can book sites online and make sure you make it up to Panorama Ridge, so so stunning. Black Tusk is also stunning but a bit more of a scramble to get to the false summit. It is not possible to make it to the real summit unless you are a technical climber. You can see the ocean on a clear day from up here, and Garibaldi Lake is so stunning from any angle.
Whistler has a great night life and the Gondola here is also stunning if you want easy views. The village is full of great shops and restaurants. Yoga studios come by the corner here and it is easy to find healthy foods or the random wild blackberry bush nearby. Locals are super friendly and I can't say I've ever found camping around Whistler. It is always usually booked so we stay with friends. I would visit Brandywine Falls, it is a short 5 min walk to the lookout and it is an exceptional waterfall.
The hike to Wedgemount Lake is a horrible thing to experience, but in a good way. It leads to an exceptional lake (which requires a pre-booking for campsite if you'd like to camp). But seriously, it makes you work for it. It is short, maybe three hours up...but its all up! I don't recall one flat spot until you get to the top! From the Lake you can scramble many nearby mountains, but we just enjoyed the stars and a calm morning but the lake.
Pemberton has many little gems in and around. Joffree Lakes is a beautiful short hike and very rewarding. There are three blue lakes and I swear everyone and their dog go to these lakes to get a photo on the legendary log. (If you are an instagrammer you know exactly what I mean). Sadly again this place is a populated place, so I would recommend an early start or go in off season. You can camp but I really think they will change rules soon due to the lack of care by people. Garbage is always left out for wildlife to get into trouble and many people don't pay the camp fees. Please don't be those people, fees are there to help protect and care for the area... also it's like 5 bucks (cost of a latte).
If you keep on going along the Duffy you can make it to Lillooet where there is a massive lake and Dam but a neat road shot from the upper cliffs off the road.
From here it gets a bit bland on my way back east to the Rockies. This is the road and the hikes I'm familiar with but like I said there is so much more out in these areas. I recommend making a good friend from the area or just explore yourself!