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British Columbia

Sea-to-Sky Hiking in Vancouver & Whistler

Program No. 23783RJ
Hike in Vancouver and the Coast Mountains from our home base in Whistler, as you learn about local ecology, history and the First Nations Peoples from the experts.
Length
7 days
Rating (4.38)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,799

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 17 - Jun 23, 2023
Starting at
2,799
Jul 15 - Jul 21, 2023
Starting at
2,799
Aug 12 - Aug 18, 2023
Starting at
2,799
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 17 - Jun 23, 2023
Starting at
3,469
Jul 15 - Jul 21, 2023
Starting at
3,469
Aug 12 - Aug 18, 2023
Starting at
3,469

At a Glance

From coastal Vancouver to the alpine beauty of Whistler, the Sea-to-Sky Corridor ascends along Howe Sound and through the spectacular valleys of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains. These are the lands the First Nations Peoples call home. It’s where black bears roam and where eagles soar. It’s also where you’ll find some of the best hiking in Canada. Learn about the natural beauty of the Sea-to-Sky Corridor from the base of the Stawamus Chief — the world’s second-largest granite monolith — to the peaks of Whistler-Blackcomb. Meet local researchers and representatives of First Nations Peoples, then take this knowledge to the trail on spectacular hikes through temperate rainforests and mountain meadows.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking 3-6 miles per day over the course of approximately 2-4 hours. Varied terrain including paved and groomed trails, roots, rocks and mud. Trail elevations can start between 3,000-6,000 feet with net gains/losses between +1,500 and -950 feet. Drives of 1-2 hours by motorcoach or van each way to reach trailheads.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the triumphs and tribulations of the local black bear population with a presentation from a local bear researcher.
  • Travel back in time to the fiery origins of the Coast Mountains with a geologist-led hike atop Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
  • Hike amongst towering ancient cedars of the Cheakamus River Valley rainforest and learn about the area’s significance to local First Nations Peoples.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices will be unavailable.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Dan Price
Dan Price has been fascinated by the natural world from a young age, sparked by sailing with his father. Dan earned his PhD in glaciology in Christchurch, New Zealand. His background is in Earth Science, majoring in oceanography and climate. He has undertaken eight field campaigns to the Antarctic focusing on the development of improved satellite algorithms for ice thickness investigation. Much of his recent work has involved long distance vehicle traverses to identify new routes for science access across the world’s largest ice shelf.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Dan Price
Dan Price has been fascinated by the natural world from a young age, sparked by sailing with his father. Dan earned his PhD in glaciology in Christchurch, New Zealand. His background is in Earth Science, majoring in oceanography and climate. He has undertaken eight field campaigns to the Antarctic focusing on the development of improved satellite algorithms for ice thickness investigation. Much of his recent work has involved long distance vehicle traverses to identify new routes for science access across the world’s largest ice shelf.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia
by Jean Barman
A fascinating history of the Canadian province from the 18th century to the mid-1990s. The author weaves portraits of major personalities and events into a readable overview of the cultural and social influences that have shaped the region.
The Island Within
by Richard Nelson
A beautifully written tribute to the Pacific Northwest. Drawn from the author's journals, this is an account of the natural and cultural history of an island in the waters of Haida Strait, with emphasis on the relationship between people and the land.
Selected Stories
by Alice Munro
This collection of 28 short stories represents some of Munro's finest work. A powerful range of emotional, evocative tales set throughout the cities and rural towns of her native country.
Art of the Northwest Coast
by Aldona Jonaitis
A survey of Pacific Northwest art and artistic traditions from Puget Sound to Alaska, featuring thought-provoking essays by art historian Jonaitis along with 152 illustrations, 89 in color.
Vancouver Then and Now
by Francis Mansbridge
This installment in the Then and Now series takes stock of Vancouver’s evolution by placing antique photographs side-by-side with contemporary ones. It peels back the years so that readers can see city fixtures as they once were.
Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast
by Bill Richardson
Lake Woebegone goes British Columbian in this humorous slip of a novel about an unconventional Vancouver B&B, which features twin bookworm brothers, a talking parrot and a motley crew of hotel guests.
The Last Great Sea, A Voyage Through the Human and Natural History of the North Pacific Ocean
by Terry Glavin, Carl Safina (Introduction)
A wide-ranging conservation history of British Columbia and the North Pacific Ocean. Glavin lives in the Gulf Islands, where he writes frequently about fisheries and environmental issues facing the region.
Exploring Vancouver, The Architectural Guide
by Harold Kalman
In this highly accessible and authoritative guide to Vancouver's architecture, specialists Harold Kalman and Robin Ward take us on a tour of Vancouver's fourteen neighborhoods, exploring the city's rich architectural heritage in over 450 entries. Each entry includes historical, social and architectural commentary accompanied by striking, full-color photographs.
A Traveller's History of Canada
by Robert Bothwell
A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.
Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest
by Katharine Berry Judson
Presented here with 52 photographs, these traditional stories, first collected in 1910, reveal myths and traditions of creation, alongside noted geographical features of the territory.
The Raven Steals the Light
by Robert Bringhurst, Bill Reid (Illustrator), Claude Levi-Strauss (Introduction)
A classic collection of 10 Haida myths and legends with accompanying black and white etchings by Vancouver artist Bill Reid. These stories capture the storytelling traditions of the Haida.
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7 days
6 nights
14 meals
6 B 5 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Vancouver, BC
D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 pm.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Orientation: 7:30-8:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to applicable COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Lectures and field trips will be conducted by local experts. Transportation will be via motorcoach and van as noted. Breakfasts will be at the hotel, lunches will be mostly in the field, with dinners at the hotel and local restaurants featuring seasonal ingredients. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Hiking Lynn Canyon, Vancouver Exploration, Free Time
Vancouver, BC
B,L
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Hiking up to 3 miles with stops; groomed park trails; little elevation gain. Extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Lynn Canyon

Lunch: At a scenic trailside spot, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll board a motorcoach, and learn about Vancouver’s multi-faceted character from the past to the present from a local expert. Explore some of the city’s most notable neighborhoods, including Gastown, and Chinatown. The motorcoach will return to the hotel. Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. You might like to hike to Beaver Lake via Lover’s Walk, one of the many trails that wind through the park’s forested interior. Or, explore Granville Island, once an industrial hub and now renowned for its bustling market, or return to the hotel and relax.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Sea to Sky, Hiking Stawamus Chief, Whistler Overview
Whistler, BC
B,L,D
The Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 75 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Two hiking choices. (A) 2-3 miles, 3 hours; starting at the summit elevation of approximately 3,000 feet with slight elevation gain and loss; groomed trails and boardwalks. (B) 5-6 miles, 3 hours; starting at the summit elevation of approximately 3,000 feet with net gain of approximately 1,500 feet and loss of 950 feet; groomed trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board a motorcoach, and ride along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish, a railway and First Nations community at the northern tip of Howe Sound. There, we’ll get into a gondola and climb to the summit of Stawamus Chief, the second-largest granite monolith in the world. With a local expert, we’ll learn about the region’s ecology, geology, and human history. We’ll walk along nearby trails and rest at several breathtaking Howe Sound look-out points. Hiking through alpine meadows and stands of Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, and Alder trees, we’ll listen to experts who will enrich our day’s experience.

Lunch: At a scenic trailside spot, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Riding on, we’ll reach the Whistler Museum, where we’ll learn about the history of settlement and development in the region. We’ll hear about the trappers, pioneers, and Indigenous peoples who shaped Whistler.

Dinner: At the hotel featuring locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Hiking Cheakamus River Valley, Squamish Lil'Wat Centre
Whistler, BC
B,L
The Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler

Activity note: Getting in/out of a van; driving about 20 miles, approximately 1 hour riding timem partially on a service road. Two hiking choices. (A) 2-3 miles, 4 hours; slight elevation gain/loss; moderately smooth trails, some roots, rocks, muddy patches. (B) 3-4 miles, 4 hours; slight elevation gain/loss; moderately smooth trails, some roots, rocks, muddy patches).

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk beneath the towering canopy of cedars and Douglas fir trees that comprise this rainforest while learning about the ecology of the region. A local expert will discuss the spiritual significance of the Cheakamus River Valley to the First Nations Peoples, beginning with the name Cheakamus derived from the Squamish name for “people of the fish weir.”

Lunch: At a scenic trailside spot, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Returning to Whistler, we will explore the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. We’ll learn with an Indigenous educator about First Nation’s history, customs, and traditions through dance, storytelling, and material artifacts.

Dinner: Dinner on own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Black Bears, Whistler & Blackcomb Mountain Hikes, Free Time
Whistler, BC
B,L
The Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler

Activity note: Getting on/off a gondola and standing. Walking to trailheads; pavement. Two hiking choices. (A) 2-3 miles, 2.5 hours; starting at an elevation of approximately 6,070 feet with elevation changes of approximately 215 feet; groomed trails. (B) 2-3 miles, 2.5 hours; starting at an elevation of 6,070 feet with elevation changes of 400 feet; groomed trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will be joined by a resident bear researcher and learn about the local black bears that roam these mountains We’ll gain insights into their behavior, biology, and population ecology. We will then set out on our choice of hikes through the surrounding mountain peaks and valley views while learning about the region’s geological diversity. We’ll see the Black Tusk, recognizable for its pinnacle of jet-black volcanic rock, and ride on the Peak 2 Peak Express gondola connecting Whistler to the Blackcomb Mountains. Highlights of the hike will vary by season: walking through snow walls in May and June, across glaciers from June to September, and among wildflowers in July and August.

Lunch: At one of the mountaintop restaurants.

Afternoon: The Group Leader will stay on the mountain for those who want to continue with a more challenging hike. Those who would prefer a more relaxed activity can walk through Whistler Village. The hotel is at the base of the gondola. The remainder of the afternoon will be free.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare. Whistler has a variety of culinary experiences close at hand.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Hiking Whistler, Hiking Stanley Park
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Sandman Vancouver Airport

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles, approximately 4 hours riding time. Morning hike. 1.5 miles, 1.5 hours; slight elevation change; groomed trails. Afternoon walk. Maximum 2 miles, 2 hours; little elevation change; paved and groomed park trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: As a group, we will set out on a short hike along Whistler's Train Wreck trail to learn about the 1956 wreck and see the colorfully painted boxcars. Enjoy the view of the canyon and the rushing water of the Cheakamus river as you cross the suspension bridge.

Lunch: We will pick up our boxed lunches on our return to Vancouver.

Afternoon: Hike through Stanley Park with one of the park’s Ecology Society members. We’ll learn about this National Historic Site including the park’s variety of hemlock, cedar, and fir trees, and explore the encircling stone seawall while marveling at the ocean and mountain vistas.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, featuring locally sourced West coast cuisine. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Vancouver, BC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.