Hiking the Sea to Summit Trail


5th Aug 2015

Sea to Summit Trail

This August long we spent time catching up with friends and enjoying the beautiful sunshine at Locarno Beach. On the Sunday we all discussed doing a hike on Monday to get some exercise and do something out of the city, so we decided to head up to Squamish to hike underneath the new Sea to Sky Gondola as we had done the Chief hike earlier this summer. We thought the hike would be a bit tamer than the Chief but we were in for a surprise because it was pretty challenging, but the spectacular views and varied trail were well worth the effort.

We started our hike at the base of the Sea to Sky Gondola where there is free parking, but keep in mind that during the summer season it will be busy so best to get there early (we were there by 11:30am and basically got last available spot).

As you start the hike the Sea to Summit Trail will join the Chief Trail where you have to climb the steep wooden stairs until you reach the sign indicating the Sea to Summit Trail to the Gondola Summit Lodge so keep an eye open to not miss that. Once you are on the Sea to Summit Trail you will travel along with varying levels of difficulty from easy inclines to steep rocky bits, sometimes on narrow wooden stairs and ropes to climb the steeper rock faces. Along the trail there are areas to rest on different rock faces including a small and refreshing waterfall that we chose to wet our heads in, I wouldn’t recommend trying to go in though the current was fast enough and rocks were smooth and slippery.

We stopped about mid-way up to eat our packed lunch on a nice big rock face with views of the valley and ocean below. I highly recommend bringing sandwiches to eat along the way to help keep your energy up or least pack some granola or power bars and plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Most of the trail is nice and shaded under the cover of trees but there are bits where you are in full sun and it gets hot, so plenty of water is essential to be safe.

When you are about 5km into the trail (total hike being 7.5km at an elevation of 2790 feet once at the top), you will come to a trail fork where you have the decision to keep following the Sea to Summit Trail which is more difficult but only 2.3 km or you can veer off onto the Shannon Basin Loop Trail which is easier but longer to the top at 3.5km. We decided to follow the more difficult route which has more steep rocks and ropes to climb, but it felt pretty great to high five the last Summit Trail marker at the top.

Once at the top we got to enjoy our rewards of cold beer and a patio to sit and take in the fantastic views. There is also a suspension bridge to cross to another viewing platform and many more trails at the top to try out with varying levels of difficulty. I’m sure we will do this again and maybe try some of the other hikes at the top. The bonus of doing this trail is being able to download on the Gondola for $10 per person, and for me and my achy knees it makes a huge difference in how my body feels the in the coming days.

We also did this hike with our 2 year old daughter who was carried up in a good quality children’s hiking backpack, so it is possible to do but I wouldn’t recommend this hike for small children or the elderly. It is a difficult hike and if you are in decent shape it shouldn’t be too tough to complete, but make sure you know what you are getting into before attempting.

Items I would pack/do for the hike:

  1. Sandwiches
  2. Water  - A litre per person if possible
  3. Protein Bars
  4. Granola/Trail Mix
  5. Small First Aid Kit
  6. Camera/iPhone to capture the views and trip
  7. Credit Card/Cash and ID for beer and ticket to download at Summit Lodge
  8. Sunglasses, Hat & Good Hiking Footwear (during summer)
  9. Apply sunscreen before hike
  10. Tell someone outside your hiking group you are going on the hike for emergencies

Sea to Summit Trail


One Response

  1. That’s quite the hike! Beautiful views! One to check off your summer fun list : )

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