How to drive the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler?

Sea to Sky Highway is a picturesque cliffside roadway offering access to the most beautiful scenery in British Columbia, Canada. It’s one of the world's most spectacular seaside drives and is a veritable invitation for a road trip.

Sea to Sky highway

Where does the Sea to Sky Highway start and end?

The drive is part of the British Columbia Highway 99. It’s totally paved and runs south-north from Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport, to Whistler, a town that's home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America.

Why is it called the Sea to Sky Highway?

The road got its name in the 2000s. It refers to the fact that the road begins offering great views of the sea in Vancouver and then travels north to Pavilion Lake near Whistler, in the middle of the lush mountains of the area. Quite literally starting off in sunshine in Vancouver and ending up encountering ice or snow in the colder months.

How long is the Sea to Sky Highway?

The road is 121km (75 miles) long. The speed limit of the road ranges from 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) with 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph) sections in Lions Bay, Britannia Beach, and parts of Squamish. The drive is beautiful, with the sea on one side and the steep mountainsides on the other.

How steep is the Sea to Sky Highway?

Built during the 1960s, this is a mountain highway, a route where rain, snow, and even wildlife can affect driving conditions. The road has steep parts, hitting a 10% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps with turns that can sometimes be steep and sudden.

Is the Sea to Sky Highway open in winters?

Tucked away on the southwestern part of the country, don’t forget it’s a mountain highway, where conditions can be unpredictable due to rapid changes in elevation and weather. A trip that starts in sunshine may also encounter slush, ice, heavy snowfall, or compact snow. For safety in winter conditions, passenger vehicles are required to have winter tires installed to drive the highway between October and March.

Is Sea to Sky Highway difficult to drive?

Built on a steep cliff overlooking many motorists have lost their lives on it due to inclement weather, poor visibility, speeding, passing slower vehicles, or drunk driving. Local media have called it variously the "Killer Highway", the "Highway of Death", and the "Ski-And-Die Highway". It averaged 574 accidents a year between 1998 and 2004. Driving the road can be dangerous in bad weather conditions, so check and plan this route ahead. The coastal sections of the road were built on steep cliffs, and until its 2010 Winter Olympics extension, the road had only two lanes and no outside barriers.

Is the drive from Vancouver to Whistler worth it?

Plan about 2 hours to complete the remarkable drive without stops, although you may want to block out extra time to stop, as a day trip along the Sea to Sky Highway is the perfect way to see some of Canada's natural beauty. It's a drive with incredible sights at just about every turn so you will want to do some stops along the way. It's also filled with fun stops, including outdoor destinations, cultural points of interest, and historic sites. Hugging the coast all the way to the top of Howe Sound, then heading inland, you are guaranteed some spectacular scenery along the way and a number of scenic viewpoints where you can stop and safely enjoy the views. It’s regarded as one of the best road trip destinations in the world. Along the trip you can discover scenic ocean vistas, soaring mountains, dramatic waterfalls, bustling communities, parks, and outdoor activities. The beautiful two-hour drive (in light traffic and good weather) is the start of your adventure, where you can see the waters of Howe Sound, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls, and canyons.