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Bunkhedena May 26th, 2006 01:47 PM

Where to cross border between Whistler & Seattle
We will be traveling from Seattle to Vancouver on July 1 and from Whistler to Seattle on Saturday July 8. Do you have any suggestions as to where to cross the border. Are delays common at the border crossings?

inthechips2 May 26th, 2006 01:59 PM

That is a holiday weekend for both the US and Canada and could be a busy one in both directions. (Although with gas at $1.15/litre in Canada, maybe heading north won't be so much of a problem :( ). We went up to Whistler a couple weeks back and crossed at Lynden - waited about 5 minutes southbound and no wait northbound - on a very sunny Sunday afternoon, typically a busy one at the crossings. There can be delays, but they don't seem to be as common as pre-9/11. There are a few websites that give you border reports -

Wow, looking at the Peace Arch heading into B.C. this afternoon, looks like a good 1/2 hour wait there. We often will take the truck crossing at Blaine if the Peace Arch is backed up. Sometimes that helps.

If you do cross at Lynden, it's a straight shot up to Hwy 1 which takes you out to the highway that leads up to Whistler. (Actually easier than negotiating through Vancouver and over the Lion's Gate bridge, in my opinion).

Bobmrg May 26th, 2006 02:16 PM

I second inthechips2's vote for Lynden. We avoid Peace Arch like the plague.

Gardyloo May 26th, 2006 02:43 PM

Several of the Vancouver AM radio stations do frequent border reports - tune in as soon as you get reception coming back from Whistler. We seldom encounter long waits northbound; it's entering the US that has (usually) the worst backups. Not sure how it will be NB on the 1st as that's Canada Day.

Bunkhedena May 27th, 2006 08:19 AM

When I leave Whistler & head for Seattle, when is the last opportuity I have to decide which border crossing to take. How about when I head north from Seattle airport.

Bunkhedena May 27th, 2006 08:25 AM

Sorry: One more questions. I don't see Lynden on the websites you refer to. Is that crossing known as Sumas on Route 9?

inthechips2 May 27th, 2006 08:52 AM

on the way UP to Whistler, you will either exit I-5 north at Guide Meridian (aka Meridian Street) in Bellingham and head north to the Lynden crossing (maybe it's called "Aldergrove"?), or continue on I-5 north to the Peace Arch, where you could exit just before to the truck crossing (there is an exit marked for this, I'm fairly sure).

When returning FROM Whistler, you will be passing by the Horseshoe Bay area, entering Hwy 1 and traveling through Vancouver. If you want to head south via Hwy 99 (Peace Arch), there would be directions towards the Lion's Gate bridge and the city and that is what you'd have to follow. If choosing Lynden, stay on Hwy 1 for quite awhile (at least 1/2 an hour?) until you see signs to the US border. There are two of those signs on Hwy 1 - one of them, the first one, is a "short cut" of sorts. We took the second exit that says US border south to the Lynden crossing. I'm sorry I don't have more explicit details for you.

inthechips2 May 27th, 2006 08:55 AM

And you don't want the Sumas crossing - that's very far east from where you want to be.

Gardyloo May 27th, 2006 09:10 AM

Lynden/Algergrove - TC1 E to BC 13, S to WA 539. Seldom (IMHO) worth the detour, all things considered.

enzian May 27th, 2006 10:59 AM

I don't see where anyone has explained the "truck customs" option---we always go that way. Take the last exit from I-5 before the border (I believe it is exit 275). It's marked U.S. Hwy 543, and turns into Hwy 15 in Canada. THis avoids the Peach Arch and the route through downtown Vancouver.

To return this way, stay on Canadian Hwy 1 going east until you find the exit for Hwy 15 and Surrey. It is also marked as "U.S. border". We have encountered back-ups on the return on holiday weekends, but you still avoid downtown Vancuover.

inthechips2 May 27th, 2006 11:10 AM

Thanks enzian. That is what I could not remember as far as truck crossing directions went (and the Surrey exit must be the "short cut" I was thinking of back to the border off Hwy 1). I personally think sending a Vancouver newbie directly through the city on 99 can be a bit overwhelming - starting from where you slam on the brakes as the freeway ends in a residential area all the way out through Stanley Park and the bridge. Heading up to 1 to get to Whistler seems easiest to me for someone who has never been there.

I love Vancouver and it is a beautiful city, but can be tough to negotiate when you have never been.

NorthwestMale May 27th, 2006 11:20 AM

If you're crossing into Canada on July 1, the fine folks at the border will likely present you with a pin with the Canadian flag on "Canada Day".

Be aware that fireworks celebrations will happen in many spots on July 1

If I were you I'd simply stay on Interstate #5 until the mentioned exit #275 (less than a mile from the border) and then get off there, go "straight" on the road, through customs, and continue straight up one big hill, down the other side, through the community of "Cloverdale" and up the next big hill.

Just beyond the top of that 2nd big hill, will come the freeway toward Vancouver. I believe it takes you over to North Van. and then onward toward Whistler.

Upon return, look for exit #51 off of the Canadian hwy #1... it will say "USA border". Upon exiting there... you have perhaps 10 miles of "straight" driving. (no turns, but the road curves in a couple of spots with you staying on it)

This will land you on Interstate #5 going south once back in the USA.

Should be easy for you.

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