Squamish/Vancouver – Day 8 of a 12 Day BC Road Trip
We headed back to Vancouver on Day 8, making multiple stops along the highway and stopping for lunch in Squamish. It started to warm up as we drove further away from Whistler and closer to Vancouver. The drive is about an hour and half on the Sea-to-Sky highway. The Sea-to-Sky is a bit windy, but is a nice drive especially when you get closer to Vancouver (great ocean views!).
For breakfast, we finished up the jalapeno cheddar bread from Purebread. Yum! After checking out of our hotel, we hit the road. We drove past Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, which was unfortunately closed due to the winter season. Next, we made a short stop at Mt. Tantalus Lookout. It was cloudy so we didn’t get a great view of Mt. Tantalus, but could somewhat see the base of the mountain in the distance.
Next stop on the road trip, Cat Lake. The side road to Cat Lake is easily missed from the highway. We missed it the first time and had to turn around. Once on this side road, it is about a ten minute drive to the lake. The road is not well maintained, the pot holes really slowed us down. The area is also popular for dirt biking. After a bumpy drive, we finally reached Cat Lake. I imagine it is busy in the summer with campers. The lake was frozen over, although some of the ice had melted near the shore. On the other side of the lake was a group bravely walking on the ice. I would not recommend this! The ice layer is very thin. The lake is nice and surrounded by a lush forest.
We continued to Squamish, stopping at Backcountry Brewing for an afternoon drink. Backcountry Brewing is a cool spot in an industrial area and it has tons of beer options that are always changing. We ordered a flight to share – kiwi sour, altbier, coffee stout, and a cider. The kiwi sour was my favourite and maybe even my favourite sour ever! Aside from the beer, Backcountry Brewing also makes great pizza. We bought a 4-pack of the kiwi sour to go, and also a can of the strawberry sour to try out.
Next stop was Saha Eatery for lunch (also in Squamish)! Saha Eatery is a Middle-Eastern restaurant serving delicious food. We both ordered the bowls – one with beef kefta and one with falafel. Each bowl also came with hummus, roasted zaatar potatoes, salad, house pickles, tahini, pita, and a side of hot sauce. Now that we were full, it was time to continue on our road trip!
We stopped at the Shannon Falls Provincial Park to see the waterfall. From the parking lot, the waterfall is less than a five minute walk. Driving in to Shannon Falls Provincial Park, you can see the Squamish Chief in the background. Squamish Chief is a popular hike with three peaks and offers an amazing view of Squamish. Depending on which peak your end goal is, the hike can take anywhere between 3-7 hours long. Side Note: Here are some pictures of the view from the first peak from when we hiked up the Chief 5 years ago.
Shannon Falls is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia, with a height of 335m. Shannon Falls is not as grand during the winter, likely due to the water at higher altitude being frozen. During the summer, there is much more water flowing down the rocks.
We stopped at one more viewpoint on the way to Vancouver, Nch’Kay Viewpoint. Due to the clouds, it was difficult to see Nch’Kay. Nch’Kay is more often known as Mount Garibaldi. Nch’Kay in the local indigenous language means “Dirty Place” or “Grimy One”, which is in reference to the muddy water in this area. The indigenous people tell a story about a flood that once ravaged this area. In this story, only two mountains peaked over this flood, Nch’Kay being one of them. Survivors of the flood escaped to the peak and waited until the water subsided.
Side Note: A few years ago, I hiked up to Lake Garibaldi with some friends, which is near Mount Garibaldi. The hike took about 7 hours round trip. The lake is an absolutely beautiful blue due to the glaciers. It can also be very cold at the peak due to the glaciers, so make sure to pack a few extra layers just in case. Here are photos of the hike to Lake Garibaldi and Lake Garibaldi itself!
After another 50 minutes, we finally reached Vancouver. For dinner, we went all the way to New Westminster. There is an amazing Thai restaurant at the New Westminster Quay called Longtail Kitchen. I was really craving their pad see-ew. We ordered the beef pad see-ew and the longtail wings to go. The New Westminster Quay has really developed in the last few years, and is a nice place for an afternoon stroll between the water and the railroad. It is also home to the tallest tin soldier, standing at 9.75m, in the world!
We drove back to Vancouver to check-in at the hotel, EXchange hotel. The hotel offers free parking to hotel guests, which is rare in downtown Vancouver. After settling in, we ate our dinner. The pad see-ew was delicious as always!
We also tried out a few of the sour beers we had bought during our travels – strawberry sour, blueberry sour, and kiwi sour.
Afterwards, we went on an evening stroll in downtown Vancouver. It was raining out, but as Vancouverites, we were used to the rain. We were headed to the Score on Davie. The Score on Davie is a popular pub on Davie Street. Davie Street is a vibrant neighbourhood popular among the LGBT community with multiple restaurants, bars, and night clubs. The Score on Davie is particularly known for its creative caesars. They have caesars on tap, and you can get a full meal on your caesar (yes, on your caesar!). We were pretty full, so I ordered the “Ain’t No Thang” caesar which came with hot wings and onion rings. He ordered a caesar on its own. We shared the hot wings and onion rings.
On the walk back, we stopped at Castella Cheesecake to pick up cheese tarts. The molten cream cheese in the baked crust really took me back to the cheese tarts we had in Sapporo, Japan! Delicious!
Another option for Japanese Cheesecake is Uncle Tetsu’s, which also has a store on Robson Street.
On our walk, we passed by the Vancouver Art Gallery and UBC Robson Square. We also passed by a few Vancouver Mural Festival Winter Art AR (Augmented Reality) Spots. The Vancouver Mural Festival Winter Art is a temporary art event consisting of AR exhibitions scattered around downtown Vancouver. You scan the QR code and then watch the art come to life on your phone.
Back at our hotel, EXchange Hotel, we enjoyed the cheese tarts and called it a night. Fun fact – the EXchange Hotel was once home to Vancouver’s Stock Exchange. The original Stock Exchange Building was built in 1929. The hotel has upgraded its facilities, while still keeping the shell of what once was the Stock Exchange Building.
Complete Day 8 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
9:00am: Pickup breakfast from Purebread.
10:00am: Stop at Mt. Tantalus Lookout (30 minute drive from Whistler Village).
11:00am: Take a stroll around Cat Lake (10 minute drive from Mt. Tantalus Lookout).
12:00pm: Have a drink at Backcountry Brewing (17 minute drive from Cat Lake).
1:00pm: Have lunch at Saha Eatery (5 minute drive from Backcountry Brewing).
3:00pm: Visit Shannon Falls Provincial Park (10 minute drive from Saha Eatery).
4:00pm: Stop at Nch’Kay Viewpoint (5 minute drive from Shannon Falls Provincial Park).
5:00pm: Dinner at Longtail Kitchen (1 hour and 4 minute drive from Nch’Kay Viewpoint). Go for a stroll along New Westminster Quay before or after dinner.
7:00pm: Check-in to the hotel in Vancouver downtown (Suggestion: EXchange Hotel) (36 minute drive from New Westminster Quay).
8:00pm: Have an evening drink at Score on Davie (24 minute walk from EXchange Hotel).
9:00pm: Pick up Cheese Tarts from Castella Cheesecake (10 minute walk from Score on Davie).
12-Day BC Road Trip Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 12-Day BC Road Trip Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in BC!