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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.

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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 2-5 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.

What You'll Learn

  • 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.
  • Learn about the area’s significance to the local First Nations People and hike through coastal rainforest to Shannon Falls, one of British Columbia’s highest waterfalls.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices will be unavailable.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Jacob Johnson
Jacob Johnson has spent the better part of his life in the mountains, from growing up in Fernie, B.C. to his current home in Canmore, Alberta. His love for being in the mountains has taken him rock climbing in Thailand, mountain biking in Italy and skiing and mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies. Now retired from a career in engineering, you will often find Jacob with a camera in his hand as he’s also a professional photographer, constantly seeking to capture the beauty of the environment.

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

Profile Image of Jacob Johnson
Jacob Johnson View biography
Jacob Johnson has spent the better part of his life in the mountains, from growing up in Fernie, B.C. to his current home in Canmore, Alberta. His love for being in the mountains has taken him rock climbing in Thailand, mountain biking in Italy and skiing and mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies. Now retired from a career in engineering, you will often find Jacob with a camera in his hand as he’s also a professional photographer, constantly seeking to capture the beauty of the environment.
Profile Image of Liesl Lafferty
Liesl Lafferty View biography
Liesl Lafferty is a scriptwriter, facilitator and Jessie award-winning director, focusing on creating new material. She also likes to work outside. In May 2019, Liesl graduated from the University of British Columbia with an MFA in creative writing and theatre. She happily lives with her husband at English Bay Beach, and they think of Stanley Park as their backyard.
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.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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7 days
6 nights
15 meals
6 B 5 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Vancouver, BC
D
Coast Coal Harbour

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

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. 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 occurring at the hotel and local restaurants featuring seasonal ingredients. Periods in the schedule designated as “independent exploration 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 Mural Walking Tour
Vancouver, BC
B,L
Coast Coal Harbour

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, less than 1 hour riding time. Hiking up to 3 miles with stops; groomed park trails; little elevation gain. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll join our Group Leader on a hike through a second growth forest and a temperate rainforest. Lynn Canyon contains red cedar, douglas-fir, and western hemlock trees that are aged from 80-100 years old. Look for beautiful waterfalls as you cross over the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

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

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will join a local expert who will walk us through the alleys and backstreets of the Vancouver Mural Festival. These stunning murals will tell the story of neighborhood changes, colonialism, immigration, gentrification, de-industrialization and the rise of the tech economy in Vancouver. Admire the many Indigenous artists, especially from the local Musqueum, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. After we returun to our hotel, there is opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that this period 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 Stanley Park’s forested interior. Or, explore Granville Island, once an industrial hub and now renowned for its bustling market, or relax at the hotel.

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. Hiking 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 ride the gondola to the summit of Stawamus Chief, the second-largest granite monolith in the world. At the peak, we will learn about the region’s ecology, geology, and human history with a local expert. With our expert, we hike through alpine meadows and stands of Douglas fir, western red cedar, Sitka spruce, and alder trees. We will enjoy several breathtaking views of Howe Sound at the various look-out points.

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

Afternoon: After lunch we will ride the gondola down the mountain and board the motorcoach to continue on to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. We will learn from an Indigenous educator about First Nations history, customs, and traditions through dance, storytelling, and material artifacts.

Dinner: At the hotel featuring locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Black Bears Presentation, Blackcomb Mountain, Free Time
Whistler, BC
B,L
The Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler

Activity note: Walking to museum and trailheads; pavement. Getting on/off a gondola and standing. Hiking 4-5 miles, 3 hours; starting at an elevation of approximately 6,070 feet with elevation changes of approximately 1300 feet; groomed trails. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will walk to the Whistler Museum where we will join a resident bear researcher to learn about the local black bears that roam the surrounding mountains. We will gain insight into bear behavior, biology, and population ecology. Next, we will ride a gondola to the top of Blackcomb Mountain. Here we will join our local expert and hike through alpine meadows at tree line to rugged alpine view spots. If we are lucky, we may see black bears grazing on the slopes. Our morning ends on a ride across the Peak 2 Peak Express gondola connecting Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain. The Peak 2 Peak holds the world record for the longest free span gondola between rope-way towers with over a 1.85 mile stretch.

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

Afternoon: For those wanting to continue hiking, the group leader will lead another hike on the mountain. Those that would prefer a more relaxed afternoon can return to the hotel at the base of the gondola and enjoy all that Whistler Village has to offer.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Whistler Mountain, Cloudraker Skybridge
Whistler, BC
B,L,D
The Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler

Activity note: Getting on/off a gondola and standing. Walking to trailheads; pavement. Hiking approximately 6 miles, 5 hours; starting at an elevation of 6,070 feet with elevation changes of 1650 feet; groomed trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will ride the gondola to the top of Whistler Mountain to spend a full day hiking with our local expert. Our hike takes us over an exposed hiking trail with views of blue glacier lakes and glacier covered mountains. We will learn how the landscape was formed and how the changing climate impacts the mountain environment. Our hike today takes place on the traditional territories of two local indigenous nations whose history ties to the surrounding landscape.

Lunch: We will enjoy a trailside boxed lunch.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will continue our hike on Whistler Mountain. To end our day of hiking we will enjoy the stunning mountain views as we walk over the Cloudraker Skybridge, a suspension bridge hovering 7200 feet above sea level, one of the highest in the world.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

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

DAY
6
Shannon Falls Provincial Park, Lighthouse Park
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles, approximately 4 hours total riding time. Hiking 2.5 miles, 2-3 hours; slight elevation change of 650 feet; groomed trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After check out, we will head back to Vancouver with a stop in Squamish. Here we will join a local expert and hike to Shannon Falls. We will explore some of the area’s towering trees, old-growth stumps and the ever-present mist from the roaring falls above. We then make our way to Lighthouse Park to hike the trails along the shores of West Vancouver.

Lunch: Trailside boxed lunch

Afternoon: We continue our hike at Lighthouse Park before returning to Vancouver.

Dinner: Share our favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner at the hotel.

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

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Vancouver, BC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 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!






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