Just outside the small town of Lion's Bay lies a rocky outcrop from which you can watch one of the most spectacular sunsets in the Howe Sound. On a clear day, the incredible panorama looks out towards Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast as well as the curling ribbon of Sea To Sky Highway.
3-4 hours return
Elevation gain: 650 metres
Rating: Short but steep!
Car required: Yes
Season: March to November
Views of the Sea to Sky from the top.
Tunnel Bluffs is easily accessible from the Sea to Sky highway, and provides exceptional rewards for those willing to tackle the 1.5hr grind! 75% of this hike is very steep, with a well-deserved flat section for the last kilometre or so until the trail opens up on a rocky platform. Good footwear is really important, especially on the way down! Many an ankle has been sprained slipping on loose dirt and wet roots on the descent. Winding up through forests, with multiple viewpoints on the way, Tunnel Bluffs is a great half day activity. Also a great spot to run up for sunset - just be sure to leave with enough light and a head torch to make your way down safely!
The hike to Tunnel Bluffs starts along the Sea To Sky Highway, just north of Lions Bay. Coming from Whistler, pull over at the green sign reading "Brunswick Road 900m" and part in one of the limited designated parking spots. These fill up fast on weekends. As parking is located on the west side of the highway and you will have to very carefully cross the highway to get to the trailhead. If driving from Vancouver, you CANNOT turn left and cross over the highway into the parking lot, you will have to drive about 4km north where there is a U-Turn lane.
Cross the highway and enter the bushes and you will see the trees clearing to reveal a trail. Shortly afterwards, you'll see a wooden board with a map and a collection of hiking sticks nearby. Head left and follow the trail up onto the large rock before heading into the forest, where it is well marked with tape and yellow signs. Head up, up and up until you reach the top. The bluffs are a great spot to kick back and relax for a while watching the ferries sailing in and out of Horseshoe Bay in the distance.
Keep a cautious mind during the whole hike as this one is very steep! At least two sections require rope assistance, and they are quite old, so be vigilent. Don't rush on the way down, and always check your footing, as patches of earth often give way. Likewise, when you reach the summits, they are exposed slabs of rock with extremely steep drop offs either side. Be sure to use the bathroom before you start as there are no facilities on the trail. When it’s wet, the rock surface of the summit is slippery, so be extra careful and keep your distance from the edges to avoid drops of hundreds of feet. Bring lots of water and layers as weather up here can change fast! Afterwards, head to Backcountry Brewing for a well-deserved beer. If you need any extra tips for hiking preparation, check out our Hiking 101 page.