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How to Get to Whistler, BC (Updated 2021/2022 Season)

a man riding a snowboard down a snow covered slope

If you are traveling to Whistler, you’ll need to know how to get here. Whether you want to hop on a bus from YVR to Whistler, book a private shuttle service for you and your crew, or want to splurge on a chartered flight — here is everything you need to know about how to get to Whistler.

The last thing that anyone wants to endure is the stress accompanied by travel (especially lugging around tons of outdoor gear). So let’s alleviate your anxieties with a complete travel guide on getting to Whistler. 

Where is Whistler, Canada?

map of driving directions Vancouver to Whistler

If you have the means, driving the sea to sky highway is a great option

Whistler is located on the west coast of Canada, roughly two hours north of Vancouver and 45 minutes south of Pemberton. 

Our picture-perfect mountain resort is nestled between British Columbia’s rugged coastal mountain range. It is surrounded by coastal rainforests, alpine terrain, and of course, our world-class snow-capped peaks. 

Most people traveling to Whistler arrive via Vancouver, either on the TransCanada Highway or Vancouver’s international airport (YVR).

If you are traveling to Whistler from the US border, you’ll likely cross at Peace Arch, about two hours north of Seattle. Whistler is a straight drive from Seattle and takes between five to seven hours, traffic and border wait times dependant.

If you travel to Whistler by road, you’ll find yourself on the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99 aka the TransCanada Highway). This is a stretch of highway between Vancouver and Whistler, climbs from the sea into the mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world.

Whistler is 135 km from Vancouver, but this mountain town is very well situated. Not only is Whistler located along a major highway, but it’s serviced by several shuttle companies, a stop on the Rocky Mountaineer, and home to both a floatplane and helicopter base. 

Driving Directions From Vancouver to Whistler via Highway 99

Are you driving to Whistler? Thankfully, once you are on the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99), it’s a straight shot from North Vancouver to the mountains. 

  1. From Downtown Vancouver, head North on Georgia Street. 
  2. Cross the Lions Gate Bridge and continue on Highway 99, which follows Marine Drive and Taylor Way. Then it connects back with the TransCanada Highway. There will be signs for Whistler along the route.
  3. Drive North on Highway 99 (Trans Canada) for roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes (120 km).
  4. Turn right on the Village Gate Blvd. 
  5. Welcome to Whistler!

Hot Travel Tip:

The Sea to Sky Highway is exposed to all weather conditions for much of the drive. In the Fall and Winter, expect torrential rain in North and West Vancouver heading into Squamish. Be prepared for low visibility and pooling water along the road.

You’ll also need snow tires for the northern portion of the highway heading into Whistler in winter. This is your legal responsibility, and there are often tire checks by the RCMP along route — especially on busy days.

What Airport Do You Fly Into for Whistler Canada?

The closest airport to Whistler is YVR, located in Vancouver, Canada. The airport is approximately a 2.5-hour drive (135km) to Whistler, along highway 99, also known as the sea to sky highway. 

At the airport, you’ll find several major car rental companies, private luxury taxi options, as well as connections to Whistler shuttle busses. Prefer to fly to Whistler? Harbour Air and Blackcomb Helicopter are nearby.

How Do You Get to Whistler, Without a Car?

What if you are one of the many visitors to Whistler that don’t have their own vehicle? You have many options, ranging in price from $25 one way for a shuttle service to thousands for a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter charter.

Let’s break all the options down.

Getting to Whistler from Vancouver by Bus

Is there a bus to Whistler? Unfortunately, although it’s been a hotly debated topic for many years, there is no rapid transit nor public transit between Vancouver and Whistler. 

That means, if you want to travel to Whistler by bus, you’ll need to travel through a private bus shuttle service. 

The good news? There are several excellent companies to choose from:

Skylynx

Skylynx operates a scheduled daily shuttle service from Vancouver International Airport, Downtown Vancouver, and Whistler. Depending on the season, the Skylynx runs between four to six times a day.

YVR Skylynx also offers door-to-door service in Whistler to drop you off at your final hotel, hitting many major local hotels.

The baggage policy allows each passenger to have one piece of luggage along with one set of skis, snowboards, or a bike and an item of hand luggage. Additional luggage is subject to a surcharge.

  • Prices: $59 per person, one way from YVR
  • Book Now

Whistler Rides

One of the most affordable buses from Vancouver to Whistler and vice versa, Whistler Rides departs from downtown Vancouver six times a day during the 2021/2022 season. Offering round trips for $35 and one way for $20, you will not get a bus ticket to Whistler cheaper than this.

Whistler Rides allows for one suitcase, one regular backpack, and one piece of sports gear (bikes, skis, etc.) per person. They also accommodate last-minute bookings and walk-ups, should space allow.

  • Prices: $20 per person, one way
  • Book Now

Epic Rides

a bus parked on the side of a road

Epic Rides has room for you, your luggage, and your gear.

Another excellent cheap bus from YVR or Vancouver to Whistler is Epic Rides. During peak Winter season, they also offer a service from UBC campus direct to Whistler — perfect for students.

With season passes available, no charge for sports gear, and up to seven departures daily, Epic Rides is an easy, frequent, and affordable way to travel from the city to the resort.

  • Prices: $35 per person round trip from Vancouver, $55 per person round trip from Vancouver Airport
  • Book Now

Whistler SnowBus (Aka Whistler SkiBus)

Operating during the ski season, the Whistler SkiBus (now owned by SnowBus) has been servicing tourists and locals alike since 2003. 

With an extensive pickup and drop-off list, starting at Vancouver’s airport hotels and YVR itself then flowing through Vancouver, you’ll be in Whistler in under two hours. 

The SnowBus offers multiple trips a day, ten punch passes, and season passes. Plus, they always offer free space for all your ski gear.

  • Prices: $45 one way from YVR, or $25 one way as a Snow Club Member
  • Book Now

Whistler Shuttle

A locally owned and operated shuttle service operating a daily route between YVR Airport and Whistler. Unlike other buses traveling between Whistler and Vancouver, Whistler Shuttle customizes the departure times depending on the arrival times of their guests at YVR (or departure times).

Because of the nature of departure times, you must book Whistler Shuttle in advance. Helpfully, they offer door-to-door drop-off and even key pick-up for anyone renting a local condo or Airbnb. 

This more personalized service operates between 9 AM and 9 PM during peak Winter season but significantly reduces pick-up times in shoulder seasons. 

In addition, they offer several vehicle options depending on the size of your party, from a per-person shuttle, luxury sedan, minibus, and even a full-sized coach.

  • Prices: starting at $75 per person for the standard shuttle service
  • Book Now

Private Vehicle, SUV, Limousine from Vancouver to Whistler 

Are you taveling with a group? Want a private vehicle specifically curated to your schedule? Why not hire one of the many private taxi services operating between Vancouver and Whistler.

Some of the most popular luxury private vehicle services include:

Vancouver to Whistler via Helicopter 

If you are not feeling up to the road trip, there is always the air route. This comes with an assurance of less traffic, and the aerial view is unforgettable. Scaling over mountains, rivers, glaciers, and highways, this is a commuter flight — but also a memorable one.

Blackcomb Helicopters doesn’t just offer sightseeing and wedding flights. They provide chartered flights for 1-5 people all year round. Once you schedule a pick-up from Vancouver Harbour or the Vancouver International airport, you’ll be in Whistler in no time at all. 

  • Price: Starting at $2075 (1-2 people)
  • Book Now

Getting to Whistler via Floatplane (Seasonal)

Harbour Air operates a seasonal floatplane to Whistler, from local coastal cities like Vancouver, Richmond, and Victoria. The floatplanes operate in the warmer seasons (May to September), when there is no risk of ice over the landing strip — aka the lake.

Harbour Air lands at the dock next to the Jack Nicklaus Clubhouse, at the Nicklaus Golf Course on Green lake. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the complimentary shuttle service into Whistler Village is unavailable for the 2021 season. Check back in 2022 for updates.

  • Price: Starting at $165 one way
  • Book Now

Getting to Whistler, Canada by Train

The Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury passenger train service that runs from Vancouver to Jasper via Whistler and Quesnel. The Rainforest to Gold Rush experience takes three days. Your part of the trip, getting to Whistler, will only take 3 hours. 

While this is a purely scenic experience from Vancouver to Jasper, you’ll still have time on your first day to wander Whistler’s world-famous Village. If you want, you can even have a few hours to explore the Peak-2-Peak Gondola.

  • Price: Starting at $2,183 USD
  • Book Now

Getting Around: Whistler Transit Options

map Whistler Transit System

Locals love it. Tourists love it. Whistler’s local transit system is an excellent way to get around.

If you arrive in Whistler without your own vehicle (or the services of a hired car), never fear! There are many ways to get around town.

Walk or Cycle Along the Valley Trail

For starters, it’s easy enough to walk or cycle to most places if the weather is good, thanks to the extensive network of trails. If you have meandered along the Valley Trail yet, you have missed out. 

Whistler Public Transit

BC Transit operates a network of public buses that regularly travel between Function Junction and Emerald Estates. 

The transit buses in Whistler have bike racks that can carry two bikes at a time. Everyone brings their gear on board in the winter, so you won’t be the only one lugging your snowboard between seats.

Single tickets cost $2.50 (no change given by bus drivers), or you can save a little with a ten-ticket pass for $22.50. Bus passes are widely available at the local hostels, grocery stores, and even Meadow Park.

If you are traveling with children, you will be glad to know about the Family Travel Program. This allows an adult to travel with up to 3 children under 12 for the price of a single adult ticket.

Whistler Taxi and Ride-Hailing Services

Whistler has an excellent local taxi service, Whistler Taxi. Usually circling the Village during peak times or available via phone, Whistler Taxi is a perfect option if you don’t have your own transportation. Taxis in Whistler are metered, and you can expect a standard fair between Creekside and the Village are usually around $10.

With ride-hailing services now legal in BC, Whistle! is Whistler local’s rideshare company. Download their local Whistle! App to book a ride today. Whistle! Also services YVR airport for drop-offs.

Traveling to Whistler: Drive, Shuttle, Fly

Whatever your travel budget is, you have options for getting to our world-famous ski town. From the Vancouver airport, hop on any number of shuttle services, order a private taxi, or schedule a floatplane. 

Want something more luxurious? Hop the Rocky Mountaineer. Prefer fast and scenic? Blackcomb Helicopters.

Getting from Vancouver to Whistler isn’t complicated, especially when you plan in advance. Whether you are arriving by plane, train, or automobile, we can’t wait to host you.

 

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