Looking for that "head in the clouds" feeling?
The views from the top of Summit Plaza -- the main arrival deck for the new Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia -- will help you get it.
Even on a day where the sun plays hide-and-seek with the clouds, the view is awe-inspiring. At 885 metres above sea level, you feel on top of the world.
If you've never been to B.C., or just want to get more nature in your life, the new gondola is another reason to add the province to your vacation bucket list. Just one month after opening, adventure-enthusiasts and nature-lovers are lining up to ride the family friendly attraction -- and with good reason.
Nestled between Squamish's dramatic Stawamus Chief Mountain -- aka "the Chief" -- and Shannon Falls Provincial Park, the gondola ride's design makes it seem as if it's carved naturally into mountain-side. It's only a 45-minute drive from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, which is a tourist attraction in itself.
The eight-passenger walk-on gondola cabins are modern, and large enough to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers, too. The ride is about 10 minutes from the base up to the top of Howe Sound. During the ascent, the dramatic 335-metre-high Shannon Falls cascade beside you. Colourful dots moving about in the lush mountains below indicate the many hikers who have decided to make journey on foot.
Once the gondola reaches the summit, the Coastal Mountain terrain is yours to enjoy.
A must do for everyone is the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. You'll experience your own Indiana Jones moment while being suspended thousands of metres above fjords and mountainous terrain as you walk over the long bridge that connects the Spirit Trail/ Viewing platform to Summit Lodge area.
If this isn't the perfect "selfie moment," I don't know what is. But this is only where the adventures begin. Each step along each one of the six trails comes with a new discovery.
For example, Spirit Trail takes you on a journey that explains the rich historical significance of this area, where First Nations people lived "before recorded history." The flora and fauna of the land are displayed on informational signs that meticulously explain the brush, flowers and weeds -- and their uses -- as you pass. Cattails, for instance, were used for makeshift covering, licorice root treated sore throats and stinging nettles healed symptoms for painful joints.
Too bad a natural remedy for sore feet isn't available on site. After a full-day of taking in the vistas, fresh air and winding trails, you will feel tired.
The next best thing? Grabbing a quick bite or a drink at Summit Restaurant overlooking the majestic scene in front of you.
It's the ultimate way to wind down the day, and also lets you keep your head in the clouds -- just a bit longer.
NEED TO KNOW
The Sea to Sky Gondola is open year-round. Tickets are 34.95 (adults), $22.95 (youth 13-18), 13.95 (kids 6-12), free (under 6). For more information, see seatoskygondola.com.
For B.C. travel information, see hellobc.com.