The Sea to Summit trail is an extension of the Upper Shannon Falls trail to the top of the new Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC.

As a run or fast hike, it takes around 2 hours to summit and is between 6.5 – 9.8 km, depending on your route, with roughly 1,000 metres of elevation gain. It climbs almost double as high as the nearby Stawamus Chief, giving you a great view back down at the massive monolith. Karl and I recently did the hike starting from the Shannon Falls parking lot which is definitely the way to go.

Ignore the signs for the gondola (that will take you to the base) and follow the signs for the Sea to Summit trail right instead. You’ll intersect with the lower Chief Backside trail for a bit, but soon enough the trail splits off and along with it the crowds.

The trail is very well marked, climbing slowly along dirt trails and up some stairs, with a bit of scrambling occasionally with the help of fixed ropes. At one point, you’ll arrive at a junction with the option of turning left to an alternate trail called Wrinkle Rock Connector. This is the shorter 6.5 km route that we took which is steeper, a little more technical, and with better views. But you can of course take the logging road around the back instead if you’d prefer which is the 9.8 km route and I’d imagine is more runnable.

Once at the top, take the ‘Panorama Trail’ to the lookout over the Chief. Follow this counter-clockwise on the way back and take the short out-and-back ‘Lookback Trail’ for a view back at the gondola. There is suspension bridge leading to an unfinished loop trail seemingly to nowhere, although this may be where you get access to the backcountry and a number of what I understand to be unfinished trails to Sky Pilot, etc. Definitely lots more to explore in the future!

The trail isn’t recommended for downhill travel anyway, so why not have an overpriced beer at the top and take the gondola down to enjoy the views? It’s $10 for a download but be prepared for a bit of a line-up.

Watch our Sea to Summit Trail Running video on YouTube and check out my Instagram feed for more photos!

Gear: Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin Hydro Set 5, Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire (HR)Delorme inReach SE
Clothing: Salomon Trail Short, Salomon Trail Tee
Shoes: Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

Jeff Pelletier
Written by Jeff Pelletier

I’m a trail and ultra runner from Vancouver, a proud member of Teams Salomon and Suunto Canada, and a Sponsored Ambassador for CLIF Bar and inReach Canada.