Where are the Cascade Mountains? & 4 reasons why you should visit

The Cascade Mountains, also known as The Cascade Range (or just The Cascades), is a major mountain range of western North America. It extends from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon all the way to Northern California.

Once the Cascade Mountains cross the boarder here into Canada they are known as The Canadian Cascades (part of the Northern Cascades). There are differing opinions as to whether the Canadian Cascade Arc is officially part of the Cascade Mountain range, however both were created by the subduction of the oceanic crust under the continental margin.

Have you heard of the Pacific Ring of Fire? Yep, the Cascade Mountains and the Canadian Cascade Arc are part of it, which means there are volcanoes everywhere.

While not all the mountains in The Cascades are volcanoes, at least four volcanic zones in British Columbia are related to Canadian Cascade Arc. Two of these zones, the Garibaldi and Pemberton Volcanic Ranges, sit right on our doorstep and we fly over them every day.

When did a volcano last erupt in the Canadian Cascade Mountains?

The Canadian Cascade Arc has been erupting a chain of volcanoes along the British Columbia Coast for around 29 million years. The most modern of which is thought to have been as recent as only 1000 years ago.

While there are no any historical records of eruptions on the Canadian side of the Cascade Mountains, the Pemberton and Garibaldi Volcanic Belts are thought to be dormant and the possibility of activity is likely in the future. Any activity ranging from landslides to eruptions could cause major problems for the surrounding populations here in Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton.

Our favourite peaks of the Canadian Cascade Arc

With mountains stretching out as far as the eye can see it’s almost an impossible task to narrow the whole region down to just a few peaks, but here are out top four reasons you should visit the Canadian Cascade Arc. Enjoy!

Cross-Cut Ridge, Castle Towers Mountain

A triple summit mountain on the east side of Garibaldi Lake first summited in August 1911 by the BC Mountaineering Club. The mountain was named because of it’s catherdal-like appearance. 

Garibaldi Mountain & Diamondhead Peak

Mount Garibaldi is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Sea to Sky corridor around 70 km north of Vancouver, British Columbia. The top of Mount Garibaldi contains three peaks named The Tent, Atwell Peak, and Diamondhead.

The Black Tusk

Black Tusk is an iconic sight for many people who visit Squamish and Whistler. According to Natural Resources Canada, The Black Tusk was “perhaps the conduit for lava within a cinder-rich volcano. The loose cinder has since eroded, leaving only the hard lava core.” 

Skypilot & Copilot Mountains

Not much is known about the formations and history of these two mountains, but they are one of the most photographed peaks on ay of our tours. There’s just something magical about the way the early evening light casts itself across the northwest slopes. Guests love them so much we named a flight after them, the Sea To Skypilot.

Do you have a favourite peak of the region, or any amazing facts or photographs that you’s like us to include? Please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram directly or using the hashtag #SeaToSkyAir.


Anderson, James. D (2011) British Columbia’s Magnificent Parks: The First 100 Years, Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd
Cannings, R & Cannings, S (2015) British Columbia: Natural History of Its Origins, Ecology, and Diversity With A New Look At Climate Change



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