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Sea to Sky Gondola vs Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola vs Peak 2 Peak Gondola

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Looking for incredible mountaintop views while traveling through British Columbia? You’re not alone, we absolutely love seeing the Rocky Mountains at eye level and the sweeping valley below.

There are a handful of epic gondolas in BC, but the two most popular are the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler. 

They are both incredible and actually very different! So whether you’re taking a day trip from Vancouver or only have time to visit one, you can use this info to decide which gondola to add to your itinerary! Here, we will compare both gondolas, let you know which is our favorite, and tips for visiting. 

Quick Pick: Our Favorite Gondola

If you’re ready to book a gondola ride NOW and don’t have time to read our full comparison, we’ve got you covered! We personally prefer the Sea to Sky Gondola, although both truly have amazing views.

The Sea to Sky Gondola is easier to get to from Vancouver and a bit more budget-friendly, which is always a perk! We love the variety of activities at the top, such as the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge or going for a short hike. Most importantly, it’s hard to beat the views of Howe Sound from the top!

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish
Can’t beat those views!
Bailey stands on a viewing platform at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola with a mountain backdrop in Squamish, BC
Just admiring the view from the Sea to Sky Gondola!
  • Price: Monday-Thursday $73 CAD, Friday-Sunday $77 CAD
  • Location: Just south of Squamish along the Sea to Sky Highway, about 45 minutes from downtown Vancouver
  • Open from: Daily at 9 am (closing time varies by season). Closed for maintenance for two weeks in November.
  • Best for: People traveling outside of Vancouver looking for an adventurous activity. Great for families traveling with kids and dogs, or those on a road trip.

The Sea to Sky Gondola is where you go if you’re looking for those gorgeous British Columbia views! Located about 45 minutes north of Vancouver in the quaint town of Squamish, this is one of the most popular day trips from Vancouver. We love making a day out of it by driving along the Sea to Sky Highway slowly and taking in all the scenic stops along the way. 

We love this gondola because of the different landscapes you can see on your ride. As the name suggests, you hop on the gondola down by the sea near Howe Sound. By the end, you’re sitting on top of a mountain that gives you a panoramic view of Squamish and the surrounding area. 

The gondola ride is 10 minutes long and fits only 8 people in each gondola, so you don’t have to fight for views. You’ll soar 880 meters (2,900 feet) over sea level, so believe me when I tell you the views are beautiful from up here! 

Once you’re on the mountain, there are a bunch of walking trails you can enjoy, but most of the fun comes from the gondola ride itself. 

Best features of Sea to Sky Gondola

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge – Walk across the 100-meter (328-foot) Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. This is one of our favorite ways to get some of the best views of Howe Sound.

Viewing platforms – Want a great view without the bridge? No problem! Access one of the mountain’s three viewing platforms for a great view of the Canadian wilderness.

The Praguery – Whether you visit in winter or summer, it’s always a good time for a sweet treat! Stop by The Praguery at the base of the gondola to sample some hand-rolled chimney cakes before you board. 

Via Ferrata – If you’ve always wanted to try rock climbing, the Via Ferrata is a safe way to do it. You’ll be clipped into metal rings and climb over steel cables and ladders, all while following your guide’s instructions. It’s a thrilling activity and a great way to see incredible views! Book this experience in advance here.

Snow tubing – The Tube Park at the top of the mountain is fun for kids of all ages (we had a blast!) and only costs $5 CAD for unlimited rides for the day.

Nordic skiing – Try your hand at Nordic skiing once you reach the summit of the mountain. You’ll have 2.2 km (1.3 mi) of groomed trails to try your hand at this fun activity! You can rent skis at the Summit Lodge.

Related Read: Planning a road trip to visit BC’s best sites? Check out our favorite road trips from Vancouver and hit this gondola on the way!

Spirit Viewing Platform on the Sea to Sky Gondola, BC
The Spirit Viewing Platform

Tickets and Tours

This is a popular gondola among travelers looking for an easy day trip outside Vancouver. Tickets are available online starting at $73 CAD and can sell out fast, especially during the high season.

If you’d prefer to have an experience planned for you, these are our top picks for tours that include a gondola ride!

Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola Tour with Transport and Gondola Ticket

If you have limited time to explore British Columbia, this Whistler and Sea to Sky combo tour is a great way to see the most! We joined this tour as a day trip from Vancouver (it departs from Canada Place) and thought it was an easy way to experience both the Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler.

This full-day tour also includes fun stops along the way, such as a hike at the gorgeous Shannon Falls Park. We then made our way to the Sea to Sky Gondola, the highlight of the day (of course!). I never get tired of the views of the coast, the forest, and the stunning Howe Sound. 

We had some time to grab a coffee from the Summit Lodge and walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, which was one of my favorite parts.

We then made the quick drive up the highway to Whistler and spent the next three hours exploring Whistler Village on our own. It’s a great intro to Whistler if you’ve never been! The day finished off the day by heading back to Vancouver. This tour is $241 CAD and includes hotel pick-up, transportation, and your gondola ticket. 

Bailey at Shannon Falls, BC
Shannon Falls!
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola Tour with Bonus Time in Whistler and at Shannon Falls

This full-day tour will pick you up from your hotel in Vancouver to drive the famous Sea to Sky Highway. There are three incredible stop-offs included in the price, and the first is Shannon Falls Provincial Park, home of Shannon Falls, aka the third tallest waterfall in BC!

Next, you will arrive in Squamish, where you will hop on the incredible Sea to Sky Gondola. The gondola rises a whopping 2,900 feet (885 meters), providing unbeatable views of the Howe Sound! From the summit, you can go for a hike or walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.

Then, it’s time to explore Whistler – for four hours, to be exact. We recommend wandering the village stroll and stopping into some of the town’s finest restaurants for some delicious food. Honestly, Whistler has so much to offer you definitely won’t be bored during your four hours here. 

It’s a long day, and you will return to your Vancouver hotel between 8:30-9 pm. This tour costs $199 CAD per person, which includes your ticket to the Sea to Sky Gondola as well as hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Bailey relaxes inside the Sea to Sky Gondola near Vancouver, BC
I absolutely love this view!

Pros and Cons of the Sea to Sky Gondola

Pros:

  • Great for couples and families
  • An easy day trip from Vancouver
  • Cheapest gondola ride in the area
  • Lots of dining options on the mountain

Cons:

  • Limited activities on the mountain
  • Located 45 minutes outside Vancouver
  • Must find own transportation to the mountain
  • More restricted hours of operation than other gondolas

What we think of the Sea to Sky Gondola

Spoiler alert: the Sea to Sky Gondola is our favorite gondola in BC! It’s a quick 10-minute ride, but the views are unmatched. The landscape on the Sea to Sky Highway is absolutely stunning, so you can only imagine how gorgeous it is from the top of the gondola ride! Plus, it’s only a 45-minute drive from Vancouver, so it’s an easy day trip – overall it ticks all the boxes! Read our full review of the Sea to Sky Gondola here to get all the details

Peak 2 Peak Gondola 

View out the window of the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler, Canada
What a view!
Daniel and Bailey pose for a selfie on the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler, BC
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola!
  • Price: $131 CAD
  • Location: Summits of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, which you can access via gondola ride from Whistler Village
  • Open: Mid-November to Mid-April from 10 am to 3-4 pm for winter sightseeing and then reopens in the summer from 10 to 5-6 pm and only on weekends in September.
  • Best for: Travelers looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a unique look at the most incredible mountain peaks in Whistler. Great for families and those spending time in Whistler.

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is in the gorgeous ski town of Whistler. It’s located 1.5 hours from Vancouver, so it’s best to explore this area if you’re staying a few days in Whistler. Not to say that you can’t do it in a day trip from Vancouver, there’s just so much to do in Whistler that it’s worth a trip in itself!

Unlike the other gondola rides in the area, this lift doesn’t go from base to summit. Instead, you start near the top of Whistler Moutain and finish near the alpine region of Blackcomb Mountain. If you’re here to ski, this can be especially helpful as you can change mountains easily on the same day!

This gondola actually holds the world record for being the tallest of its kind at 436 meters (1,427 feet) high and it extends over 3 kilometers (1.9 miles). The gondola ride lasts for 11 minutes. So if you’re afraid of heights, this one might give you a spook!

Because this gondola ride is so far from Vancouver, it wasn’t one of the first things we did when we moved here. However, it is a beautiful experience because of the landscape it covers. In addition to being the farthest from Vancouver, this ride is also the most expensive. Prices start around $131 CAD per rider during the summer months, but it’s cheaper to book your ticket online than in person!   

Best features of Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Visit two mountains for skiing – If you’ve never tried skiing or snowboarding before, these are great mountains to visit. Get your first lesson from some of the area’s most experienced instructors before you head out on the slopes. Or if you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, use the gondola to transfer mountains for a whole different experience on the same day!

Whistler Village – Start enjoying the mountain vibe before you even reach the summit! Whistler Village is located at the base of both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, and it has tons of restaurants, hotels, and things to do.

Cloudraker Skybridge – Get unbeatable views of the mountains when you walk along the Cloudraker Skybridge pathway from Whistler Peak to West Ridge. For a different vantage point, visit Raven’s Eye, a viewing platform that gives you a 360-degree view of Whistler. 

Snow wall hiking – The early summer is my favorite time to visit Whistler because you can hike amongst massive walls of snow on Pika’s Traverse. These walls are carved from the snowfall from the previous winter, so you have to go in early summer before they melt! While it’s a short window, wandering through the labyrinth of snow walls is such a cool experience!

Multiple gondola rides – The Peak 2 Peak Gondola isn’t the only gondola in Whistler (although it’s certainly the best). You’ll have to ride on another gondola from the base of either Whistler Mountain or Blackcomb Mountain to reach the Peak 2 Peak gondola. It’s actually pretty surprising how different the scenery looks, even if they all cover similar areas!

Tons of restaurants – Whether you’re looking to grab a bite on Whistler or Blackcomb, there are so many different restaurants you can try. Enjoy the sunshine at the top of Blackcomb when you dine outdoors at Horstman Hut or savor delicious cinnamon buns at Chic Pea on Whistler Mountain.

The view out the window of the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler, BC
It’s a long way down!
Views of Whistler town from the gondola
Up the gondola we go!

Tickets and Tours to Peak 2 Peak Gondola

The easiest way to book your ticket for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is to do so online. Prices start at $131 CAD and you can book tickets here

If you’d rather include a gondola ride as part of a Whistler tour from Vancouver, we have you covered! These highly-rated tours leave enough free time in Whistler that you can ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and fit in a ton of other activities!

Small Group Whistler Sightseeing Tour from Vancouver

We love this small group tour that gets you to Whistler on a convenient day trip from Vancouver! We used to live in Vancouver and have tried a lot of tours – including this one. First of all, our tour guide was amazing and made our day so memorable. He did a great job of pointing out iconic sites the entire drive, whether we were passing through Vancouver, on the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, or in Whistler!

Once we made our way to Whistler, we had four hours to explore which was plenty of time to take the Blackcomb gondola to the top, switch to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola to Whistler Mountain, then come back down! This included time to explore at the top and enjoy the views the whole way too. 

We enjoyed lunch in Whistler and a bit of sightseeing in the village before meeting up with our group. I personally enjoyed how this tour provided suggestions and logistics, without being too structured. An important thing to keep in mind is that your Peak 2 Peak Gondola ticket isn’t included, so if you plan on adding this to your day, be sure to purchase your ticket here!

We also stopped by Shannon Falls and Porteau Cove Provincial Park, so we did a lot in one day! This tour was $250 CAD and included transportation, hotel pick up and drop off, and a wonderful guide. 

Brandywine Falls, Canada
Brandywine Falls is a must-visit!
Daniel and Bailey take a selfie at the Whitler Olympic rings in Whistler Town
Whistler is amazing!

Full-Day Private Tour to Whistler

If you’d prefer to have a personalized Whistler experience, then this private tour is the way to go. You’ll have someone else driving, so you can spend time looking out the window at the sights along the famous Sea to Sky Highway before arriving in Whistler.

Along the way, there are stops at not one, but two waterfalls. I can never get enough of the waterfalls in BC and Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls will both get checked off your list! Then you have three hours to explore Whistler and ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola between the two spectacular mountains here. It’s enough time to take in the views, but still be back in Vancouver for the evening. This tour also doesn’t include your gondola ride, so you will need to purchase that on your own!

I think this tour is perfect if you’re traveling as a family or even on a honeymoon! You don’t have to worry about transportation or parking and it feels like a true VIP experience since it’s a private tour. 

Pros and Cons of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Pros:

  • Whistler Village is great for families
  • Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available
  • The only gondola ride of its kind in the area
  • Includes multiple gondola rides with your ticket 
  • Allows you to experience two popular mountains 

Cons:

  • Most expensive gondola ride
  • Not an easy day trip from Vancouver
  • You need multiple days to enjoy the mountain
  • Limited parking, especially during busy months
  • Lodging options in Whistler Village can sell out quickly

What we think of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is undoubtedly an amazing gondola. If you’re staying in Whistler, it’s a must-do and I’d plan at least half a day to explore the mountains. However, if you’re visiting from Vancouver on a day trip, you’ll be a little pressed for time, as it’s a longer drive and there’s a lot more to explore! But, it’s a gorgeous view and an impressive gondola, so it’s well worth it if you’re in Whistler. 

Related Read: Don’t let this gondola be the only thing you do in Whistler! Check out our 1, 2, or 3-day Whistler itinerary to enjoy all this city has to offer.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo at the Spirit Viewing Platform on the Sea to Sky Gondola
Thanks for reading!

While both the Sea to Sky Gondola and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola are incredible experiences, if we’d have to pick just one we’d say go with the Sea to Sky! It’s pretty incredible seeing the Howe Sound from the top of a massive mountain in the Rockies. But, if you have time for both, that’d be your best option. Try both and let us know which one is your favorite!

We hope you found this article helpful, and if you need more travel tips or inspiration, check out our other Canada blogs. We have traveled all over this country (Bailey’s even from here!) and love helping our readers. Here are a few to get started:

12 Things to KNOW Before Driving the Sea to Sky Highway

50 Fun & Exciting Things to do in Vancouver: Our Favorite Activities as Locals

25 BEST Hikes in Vancouver (ranked from EASY to HARD)