- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 4.5 hours
- Round-Trip 8km
- Elevation Gain 650 meters
- Season May - November
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 40 minutes
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly Yes
The hike to Tunnel Bluffs climbs steeply from the Sea To Sky Highway before following a flat section of an old logging road and arriving to a sweeping view of Howe Sound. On a sunny day, the incredible view looks out towards Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast as well as south to Horseshoe Bay and along the Sea To Sky Highway.
The trailhead to Tunnel Bluffs is located directly across from the north end of a small parking lot along the Sea To Sky Highway. This means that you will have to carefully cross the highway, which can be difficult because there is a curve in the highway from both directions where you cannot see oncoming traffic and vehicles are travel very fast. Make sure to leave plenty of time between cars to make it across safely, do not take any chances.
From the highway, walk into the bushes and you should see a map of the area that's behind plastic and attached to a large rock. Walk to the left and follow the trail up onto the large rock before heading into the forest. The trail is very well marked with large, yellow markers the entire route, so make sure to follow these yellow markers to Tunnel Bluffs and also on your return.
After a short 5-minutes, you reach the first viewpoint to your left where you can walk out onto the rocky bluff for a view of Howe Sound. Back on the trail, continue your hike as you step over a log and begin a steep ascent. The first section of trail is very steep and relentless at times as you climb almost 500-meters in less than 2km. Use a bright, yellow rope to help pull yourself up through a steep section and continue following the yellow markers uphill.
A green arrow points to a "Viewpoint", however the trees have grown and blocked this second viewpoint, so continue hiking up the trail. Eventually, you reach a clearing where there is a trail marker ahead that is not yellow. Make sure to look and go left as it's easy to miss the yellow trail marker to the left. Walk up over the exposed rock and back into the forest as the trail continues to climb until it reaches a second rope. Use this rope carefully as it's not as strong as it probably should be.
Just after passing the second rope, the difficult, steep section of the hike is over and the trail passes through forest before joining with an old logging road and climbing gently uphill. Depending on the time of year, sections of this trail can be muddy as water drains from the snowmelt above. You will find yourself gaining distance quickly through this section.
The trail reaches a junction where there is a sign with a small map of the area. Go left at the junction to Tunnel Bluffs and follow another old logging road that is flat. At a second junction, go left again. Pass quickly along the route as you follow the well marked route. The trail veers left and you climb up onto a rocky bluff where you can just barely catch a glimpse of Mount Hat and Mount Brunswick. Continue to follow the trail as it rounds the corner, then drops down onto Tunnel Bluffs.
On a clear day, the views are outstanding looking out to Bowen Island, Keats Island, and the Sunshine Coast. Pleasure craft cross Howe Sound and the ferries can be seen arriving and leaving Horseshoe Bay in the distance.
After enjoying the view and lunch, return to the trail and retrace your steps in the direction you came. Go right at the first junction and, then when you reach the junction with the small map, go right again and head down the gradually slope. When you reach the rope, this is when the trail becomes steep and you will need to be careful to watch your step as there are steep sections of loose dirt and few places to step. Make sure to follow the large, yellow trail markers on the trees to stay on the trail. Pass the yellow rope and as you round a corner and can see the lower viewpoint, you are getting very close to the end of the trail. When you arrive at the highway, again, make sure to leave plenty of time between cars to cross the highway back to the parking lot.