Tunnel Bluffs Trail (Lions Bay) How to

Tunnel bluffs seat to sky highway

The Tunnel Bluffs hike is a moderate hike that provides epic views of Howe Sound and the surrounding islands. We did the hike early February on a clear day, and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Tunnel bluffs seat to sky highway

Once you reach Tunnel Bluffs you can see 180 degree views of the Sea to Sky Highway, Bowen Island, Keats Island, the Sunshine Coast, Lions Bay, and the ferries coming in and out of Horseshoe Bay. The snow and the clear blue skies really accentuated the beautiful views of the region. Because of the lower elevation this is a sea to sky hike that you can do earlier and later in the season.

Tunnel Bluffs Hike Info

  • moderate difficulty
  • 4 km one way (8km round trip)
  • 3- 4.5 hours
  • 650 meter elevation gain
Tunnel bluffs seat to sky highway

Tunnel Bluffs Trail

This is a pretty moderate hike that took us about 3 hours to do. It is 4km to the top of the trail and it is  quite steep for the first half of the hike where you gain almost 500m elevation in 2km. There are several viewpoints along the way on little rock bluffs, so if you need a break there is a lot of scenic stops. The trail was mainly through the forest and in the winter when we went it was very icy. There were even sheets of ice walls blocking some of the trail!

The trail is kind of hard to see from the road, but you will  notice a slight opening in the bushes and you will see a map of the area on the side of the trail. There are yellow markers all the way along the trail, so if you ever get disorientated just make sure you can find a yellow marker. There are not many signs along the hike but after completing about 2km you will come to a junction that has a trail map of the area. You will then go left on the logging road and continue on the trail, if you go right this will lead you up Brunswick Mountain. The next junction you will also turn left, and it leads you up to Tunnel Bluffs where you can enjoy and relax before heading back down the trail.

Ice on the Tunnel bluffs trail sea to sky highway

Directions to the Trailhead update 2024

Unfortunately new parking restrictions prevent you from starting the hike on the old trail head on the side of highway 99. If you would like to try the old way I have left the instructions below. It should be noted now that there is a 30 minute parking rule that is strictly enforced šŸ™

New Start Point & parking for Tunnel Bluffs

Tunnel Bluffs Parking

The new start of the trail is on Sunset Drive in Lion’s Bay. I have attached the google link to your map point below. There is pay parking here at 3$ an hour but only about 15 spots. Because of the limited parking availability you want to get here earlier rather than later. You can pay for the parking using the Flowerbird app. The cell reception in Lion’s Bay is not great so I would recommend getting this downloaded and set up before you leave. The parking people are very vigilant so make sure you get your ticket sorted out before you start hiking.

New Hike Directions

When you are ready to start hiking head uphill on the old service road. The beginning of the hike is very steep so prepare yourself for a bit of a grind. After a couple switchbacks you will see a big water tank, you want to continue past the water reservoir keeping it on your right. When you reach a fork after this stay to the right and follow the road. Pretty soon after you will reach a junction. When you get to this point the majority of your uphill is over. Go left at the signed junction here and head towards Tunnel bluffs. If you go the other way it will lead you all the way up to the Lions. From here on you should cross two log bridges over small rivers and meet up with the old trail. It is all fairly well signed and has good traffic so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the way!

Old Parking Directions

The trailhead to Tunnel Bluffs is right on the east side of the Sea To Sky Highway near Lions Bay. You just have to park at the Tunnel Point parking lot at the base of Mount Brunswick. The trail is directly across the street from the parking lot.  NOTE: be really careful crossing the street because there is no crosswalk and there is oncoming traffic in both directions with limited visibility.

Tunnel Bluff Tips

It would be recommended to hike outside of the winter season, but we had crampons on our shoes so we were able to pass the icy sections, however, without these it would be very difficult to hike.  In the summer I have heard that the trail can get quite muddy, so pack accordingly. Trekking poles would be advantageous to help on the steep sections. As always in Canada bring warm clothes, water and extra snacks. You never know when the weather might turn or you have to spend longer outside than you planned.

If you have the time why not check out some of the other amazing hikes in the area! we really enjoyed Panorama Ridge, and Joffre Lakes.

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