High Note Trail, Whistler Mountain | Blake Jorgenson

Coast Mountain Circle Route

4 to 6 days, 694.88 km (431.78 mi)

Witness the powerful effects of nature on this picturesque route through diverse mountain landscapes, starting and ending in Vancouver.

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Witness the powerful effects of nature on this scenic route through diverse mountain landscapes, starting and ending in Vancouver.

Part 1

Vancouver to Squamish

The Britannia Mine Museum | Heath Moffatt

From Vancouver, head north along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway. The road winds around rock faces, cliffs, and trees and offers incredible vistas of Howe Sound. Stop at the roadside Britannia Mine Museum on the way to Squamish.


Part 2


Tantalus Range viewpoint | @ssaechaophotos

Continue along the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish, which bills itself as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.” Look for bald eagles by the river, watch kitesurfers at the Squamish Spit, tackle the mountain bike trails, or try river rafting, when the weather serves. Take a break in town by sampling fare from one of the local proprietors—including a stop at one of Squamish’s many breweries or cideries. Also consider visiting the open-air Railway Museum of British Columbia, the home of western Canada’s largest assemblage of historical railway rolling stock, including artifacts, paraphernalia, and collectibles dating to 1890. On your way out of Squamish, consider a stop on the northbound pullout (it comes up fast so look for the parking lot just opposite the main turnoff) to take in views of the narrow and jagged range of glistening white glaciers that tower over the Squamish River, crowned by 2,603-metre (8,540-foot) Mt. Tantalus.

Part 3

Whistler to Lillooet

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre | Blake Jorgenson

Make sure to allocate ample time in Whistler. Along with outdoor adventures such as biking, hiking, bear watching, or riding the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, there are more urban pursuits in the Village, such as shopping and dining. Take to a walk down one of of the branches of the Valley Trail network, or grab a mountain bike and head to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

Make sure to visit the cultural exhibits at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for insight into the Indigenous peoples of this area. Peruse the permanent collection and visiting exhibitions of the Audain Art Museum, which offer a visual journey through the history of art from coastal British Columbia, including one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations masks.

Continue driving north of Whistler to quiet (and pretty) Pemberton, then on to Lillooet, known as the start of the road for the Cariboo Gold Rush. There are some interesting historic sites to discover here.

Part 4

Lillooet to Lytton

Lillooet | @rochelleallen

From Lillooet, there is the option to drive south to Lytton, or northeast through picturesque grasslands and canyons (the northeast option is shown on the map). If you’re taking the northeast route, visit Historic Hat Creek Ranch to sample pioneer life at an 1860s roadhouse featuring more than 20 restored heritage buildings and displays, before you continue on to Lytton, a community marked by its resilience and determination, as it continues to rebuild and heal from the wildfires in 2021.


Part 5

Fraser Canyon

Hell's Gate Air Tram | Albert Normandin

The Fraser Canyon landscape includes the river rushing past steep walls and gorges, and farmlands flanking the mountains. To gain an appreciation for the power of the Fraser River, stop at Hell’s Gate to ride the Hell’s Gate Airtram, which takes you over the river’s narrowest point, just 35 metres (115 feet) wide. Or, feel the spray of the river with whitewater rafting at Kumsheen Rafting Resort and end the day by the pool with sweeping views of the White Canyon. For a more holistic experience, visit REO Rafting & Yoga Resort, where you’ll find anything from whitewater rafting on the Nahatlatch River to yoga retreats and relaxation gardens, all tucked away in a tranquil pocket of nature. 

En route to Hope visit Yale Historic Site, part of the original Cariboo Wagon Road, which offers an intriguing look at the gold rush boom of the 1800s that brought miners to the gold fields of the Cariboo and Barkerville.


Part 6

Hope and Harrison Hot Springs

An aerial view of Hope | Christian Ward

Hope is a major junction for road trip travellers, some of whom drive through and miss the unique attractions in the area. View the chainsaw carvings that are scattered throughout town, or stretch your legs with one of the many scenic hikes in the area.

Natural mineral water at Harrison Hot Springs makes this a logical place for a stopover and a relaxing plunge into steamy pools. The artificial lagoon at Harrison Lake is also a prime spot for kicking back outdoors, if the weather serves.

Part 7

Return to Vancouver

The Harrison Sunflower Festival | Gardens BC/Daniel Mosquin

From Harrison Hot Springs, choose either the northern or southern bank of the Fraser River to return to Vancouver. The northern route (shown on the map) follows scenic Highway 7 past Mission, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows, while the more direct southern route follows Highway 1 past Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Fort Langley, and New Westminster.

Featured image: High Note Trail, Whistler Mountain | Blake Jorgenson

Last updated: July 11, 2024 

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
Show Map & Driving Directions

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