Five Ways to Fly High in Vancouver

Photo Credit: Gary Eichel/Helijet

Photo Credit: Gary Eichel/Helijet

Our city wouldn’t be nicknamed ‘City of Glass’ if it wasn’t for all of our kick butt vistas, views and landscapes.

Vancouver’s beauty is not lies in its beaches, parks, forests and people but also the fantastic views our bumpy topography affords us. Our pretty city status can be summed up by this simple mantra: the higher you go here, the better the view.

There are several ways to explore Vancity from the air.  Below is a brief list of some of the best ways to fly high in Vancouver.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons Keep It Surreal

Photo Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons Keep It Surreal

Cypress Mountain View Point – No one ever forgets their first time driving Cypress Bowl Road if it was on a clear, bright day. Whether you’re a summer or winter admirer of Cypress Mountain Provincial Park, the Cypress Viewpoint about halfway up the mountain drive affords one of the best views of the province. Grab a couple of friends, a picnic and a camera right after a rainstorm or on a breezy day to enjoy the clearest views of downtown Vancouver, Mount Baker and the Fraser Valley.

Grouse Mountain Skyride – There are a couple of ways to fly high up Grouse Mountain: one is for the strong hearted, doing nature’s stair master, the Grouse Grind, or taking a leisurely ride up the Skyride, a 45 person tram that runs 365 days a year. While you’re admiring views of Vancouver, the North Shore and the Fraser Valley, you can also grab a snack at a number of eateries, check out Grizzlies Grinder and Coola or go even higher and take the chair lift towards the Eye of the Wind. For those like to fly – literally – Grouse also offers eight, 15 and 20 minute Heli Tours from the top of Grouse.

Helijet Sightseeing Tours – For an eagle’s eye view of the Vancouver area, Helijet runs tours that specialize in three different takes on flying high above the city. The False Creek Panorama is 10 minutes long and flies around Stanley Park, over False Creek and over downtown. More adventurous types can take the 20 minute Westcoast Spectacular flying along the West Vancouver coastline to Horseshoe bay then climb 1600 metres to fly between the twin peaks of The Lions. Lastly, the Greater Vancouver Scenic combines the best of both the Panorama and the Spectacular, taking high fliers above Vancouver, the North Shore and out over the Squamish Chief.

UBC Botanical Gardens Greenhearts Canopy Walkway – If hanging out among the leafy giants is more your fly high style, then the UBC Botanical Gardens Greenhearts Canopy Walkway is a great place to visit. Built using a no harm cable tension system, the 310 metre long walkway rises to 23 metres above ground among 100 year old Douglas Firs and Red Cedars. The walkways creak and sway gentley as you explore the Botanical garden’s indigenous West Coast canopy. It’s a great activity on a hot or cool day and can be self-guided or done with a tour guide.

The View from Cloud 9 Restaurant

The View from Cloud 9 Restaurant

Dessert at Cloud 9 Restaurant – For one of the sweetest spots to fly high over Vancouver, try out the rotating restaurant, Cloud 9, atop the Empire Landmark Hotel in Robson Street. Timing is everything at Meet a friend there for dessert about an hour before sunset. You’ll be treated not only to a delicious mint chocolate terrine but also 360 degree views of Vancouver. A tip: at first the slow rotation of the restaurant can cause a bit of vertigo. Our sage waitress advised us: don’t start at the window’s edge. Focus on the view and the horizon.” Once this landlubber did so, I was able to enjoy the view so much more.

Sea to Sky Gondola || Photo Credit: Paul Bride

Sea to Sky Gondola || Photo Credit: Paul Bride

Out of Town bonus: Sea to Sky Gondola – Recently opened in Squamish, the Sea to Sky Gondola is a fantastic way to soak in views of the Coast Mountain Range. The small eight person gondolas make their way up 885m to the Summit Lodge. The day I took a visiting Toronto friend and my five month-old son (babies ride free!). We had azure blue views of Howe Sound, the Squamish Chief and Pilot and Co-Pilot mountains. There are short, easy walks at the top – the Panorama, Spirit and Lookback trails – that lead you to various stunning viewing platforms. Don’t forget to take a selfie or ask the nice visitor next to you to snap a shot of your group at any or all of the lookouts. Then text it to your friend in the prairies where topography is a bit, well, different.

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2 Responses to Five Ways to Fly High in Vancouver

  1. Pingback: Flying High, Picnics and Bucket Lists |

  2. Elanie

    How expensive is this? Just wondering. Thanks!