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Tunnel Bluffs

From a Wanderung post, about towing hikers' vehicles from the pullout at Tunnel Point.
Take a bus to Lions Bay or Brunswick Point to access the Tunnel Bluffs trail or cycle from Horseshoe Bay.

The new 30-min sign is positioned at the ramp to the Tunnel Bluffs parking in such way that many drivers miss it. And once you park the car, there's no way to see that sign. A number of seasoned hikers were caught off-guard today. It costs $195 to recover your vehicle from the "Payless" towing...

The following is recent blog post at Vancouver Trails on access issues for Tunnel Bluffs.

Seems to me that with all the access challenges in the Sea to Sky Corridor, I am going to have my hands full this summer managing and maintaining the Watersprite Lake Trail up to snuff to handle the hordes of hikers who are now facing fewer reliable S2S hiking destinations.

The route to Tunnel Bluffs now starts from the Sunset Trailhead Parking lot in Lions Bay. View the updated Tunnel Bluffs route.

Tunnel Point Update from March 11, 2020:

A 30-minute parking restriction near the trailhead to the popular Tunnel Bluffs trail has been put in place. The Ministry of Transportation (Facebook | Twitter) and Sea To Sky Highway Investments (Facebook | Twitter) put up the 30-minute parking signs at the Tunnel Point parking area on March 9, 2020. They would also like to remind the public that parking along the Sea To Sky Highway is not permitted and crossing the highway is illegal.

Unfortunately, these restrictions make the Tunnel Point route to Tunnel Bluffs inaccessible.


From Mountain FM: https://www.mountainfm.com/2018/06/08/moti-adds-no-parking-barriers-sea-sky-highway/?fbclid=IwAR30nfQMZOwQY_eWrOvLJQaGdZ6_w0poLwleLat6JU1UaZyw-dQvP-LOpM8

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The Province cannot say how long temporary no parking barriers along the Sea to Sky Highway will remain in place.

Recently temporary barriers were installed at various pull-outs between Squamish and Vancouver to deter drivers from parking illegally.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) says the safety of the travelling public is their top priority, and that staff have noticed an influx of vehicles parked on highway shoulders for prolonged periods of time.

In a statement to Mountain FM the Ministry says that in an effort to improve safety, barriers have been placed at pullouts “where drivers were commonly making unsafe and illegal movements”. The agency says that barriers direct drivers to the correct entrance and will reduce the potential for crashes. Although the MOTI could not give a timeline as to how long the temporary barriers would be in place.

The Ministry says that shoulder pullouts are intended for drivers to use in an emergency “so they can pull over safely and then re-enter the highway when it is safe to do so”. Parking is not permitted on the Sea to Sky highway except for emergency purposes. Illegally parked vehicles may also be removed.

The highway regularly sees an influx of vehicles parked at pull-outs and off the road during weekends as day visitors explore trails in the region. An area of concern between Squamish and Vancouver to many locals is Tunnel Point, where pedestrians often park at the rest area, and cross the road on a corner to access trail heads.

The Ministry says that at Tunnel Point there are signs indicating pedestrians are not allowed on the highway, due to the 90 km/h speed limit, as well as the fact that there are curves and no formal pedestrian crossings on this section. Drivers and pedestrians are asked to obey all posted signs for everyone’s safety.

June 11, 2018

Jesse Morwood
Area Manager, Squamish/Whistler Area Office
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Suite 310 - 1500 Woolridge Street
Coquitlam BC V3K0B8

By Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Mr. Morwood,

RE: Highway 99—Tunnel Point parking area problems

I participated in the recreational review process of the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project that was begun in 2005 and ended in 2010. At the time of the review process, I met with project personnel in Squamish, along with representatives of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C. and road biking advocates. The hiking representatives identified Tunnel Bluffs hiking trail as a recreation feature that needed consideration by the project. The trail head is directly opposite the Tunnel Point parking area about 1.2 kilometers north of Brunswick Beach on Highway 99.

The hiking representatives recommended a pedestrian island at the highway crossing to the trail head and additional parking at Brunswick pit—the decommissioned gravel pit between Lions Bay and Brunswick Beach. Project personnel said a pedestrian island would cost approximately $250,000 and that Brunswick pit had safety concerns under the Mine Act. The project was not prepared to commit that amount of money to public safety. The objections raised by project personnel to public parking at the pit seemed to be off the cuff. I don't think public parking there was given adequate consideration.

I was not overly concerned, however, as trail usage prior to 2010 was infrequent and the trail was not widely known. That has changed. Tunnel Bluffs trail has been rated on a social media site as one of the Top Ten hiking trails near Vancouver. The trail is regularly featured in Internet blogs and hiking guides. Last week, I noticed a large number of hastily erected no parking signs all along the highway on both sides of the highway at Tunnel Point and stretching north about one or two kilometers. I believe it was in response to the trail's popularity and ad hoc public parking along the highway shoulder that occurred in May.

I am writing to inquire as to what actions the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is now willing to take to enhance public safety in accessing to the popular Tunnel Bluffs hiking trail and for provision of adequate public parking. I think the ministry should reconsider the proposals that were made by recreation advocates for public parking at Brunswick pit, the provision of a safety island between northbound and southbound traffic at Tunnel Point, trail signage erection and a return to a lower highway speed at Tunnel Point or other safety improvements.

Sincerely yours,

Paul Kubik
co-founder Backcountry BC

Website: https://backcountrybc.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/backcountrybc/

Backcountry BC is a recreation and conservation advocacy site for backcountry recreation—the person who hikes, climbs, skis and bikes. We are supported by the B.C. Mountaineering Club, Vancouver Trails, Victoria Trails and Chasing Sunrise hiking groups.