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The Upper Shannon Falls Trail - Vancouver Hiking, May 2012

The Upper Shannon Falls trail is generally easy.  It is only 3.5k from the Shannon Falls trailhead to the end of the trail and the beautiful views.  It is consistently uphill though and you do gain 450 metres in that short distance.  There are a couple chain pulls on two steep sections, but no one should have difficulty with this.  At about 3k you reach the picturesque Upper Shannon Falls which are of course not nearly as dramatic as the 335 metre Shannon Falls below.

But the real attraction to this trail is not the upper falls but the amazing rock plateaus at the top of the trail shortly beyond the upper falls.  These plateaus are huge.  One massive grass and tree covered one and a huge rock one similar, though much smaller than the Chiefs three mighty plateaus.  The views are amazing and the area is quite large so you can wander for quite a while up in this mountain paradise.  The Upper Shannon Falls trail can be hiked year round, however, May is the first month of the year that you won't be cold for much of the shaded trail and the winter snow will be completely gone except for the distant mountains.

Squamish From the Upper Shannon Falls Trail - Vancouver Hiking May 2012

Sunset Over Howe Sound from Upper Shannon Falls

 

Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler

Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler - Vancouver Trails


Vancouver Hiking May - Green Lake Boat LaunchParkhurst is an easy hiking trailWhistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as one of the most unusual, exotic and interesting.  Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on the edge of Green Lake way before Whistler was Whistler.  Up on the ridge where Parkhurst sits, the views are sensational. Green lake far below, a solid unnatural looking mass of green.  Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains out in the distance to the left and Rainbow Mountain across and beyond the lake.

The small logging town called Parkhurst came into being in 1926 when the Barr Brothers Logging Company purchased the land from a recent widow looking to sell.  Mrs Parkhurst sold the land and a small house which quickly transformed into several small houses, bunkhouses and a steam powered mill on the point of land that still conspicuously juts out from the shore.  Soon there were 70 loggers working the mill and living much of the year in the town that was now named after the original owners of the land, the Parkhurst's.

Vancouver Hiking May - Parkhurst Ghost TownThe Great Depression hit the logging industry hard and unable to sell what they produced and the mill went into receivership.  In 1932 the mill was purchased by another logging company and was back in business under a new name, Northern Mills.  It was to be short lived however, as a fire destroyed the mill in 1938.  It was rebuilt and the town once again grew in size to include a school and a store.

Parkhurst continued as a small logging town until the logging industry slowed down in the 1950's and in the 1966 Parkhurst was finally abandoned.  If you have a good look around Parkhurst today, you can find remnants of its past almost everywhere you look.  From the old disintegrating truck from the 50's to the absurdly and improbably located car being consumed by the forest.

What makes Parkhurst Ghost Town such a great hiking trail and destination is where it is located and the trail to get to it.  One route, one of several ways to get to it, runs along the scenic Green River and next to the still active train tracks that run through Whistler.  There always seems to be something to Vancouver Hiking May - Parkhurst Ghost Town Tent Viewsee.  From the beautiful meadow along the train tracks, to the suddenly deep forest where you have to play a game of finding the next, pink tree marker or risk wandering off the trail.

The trail markers are numerous, and though getting lost is inevitable, you can only stray a few metres before, the river or steep terrain push you back onto the marked trail.  Once up on the ridge above Green Lake where Parkhurst is located, the forest takes on a spooky feel.  Trees are all far apart and with branches only high up give the forest a unnaturally lifeless look.

As recent as the late 90's a few houses remained standing, but the merciless winters with crushing snow has collapsed all but one house.  There are a couple half collapsed relics, but for the most part the town has disintegrated.  Unexpectedly, even in the deep snow of winter, stumbling on remnants of the old town are frequent.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Blue Face House

The last remaining house is quite something.  Painted on the outside recently with a haunting apparition of a face.  So unnaturally blue in a a place with only natural colours.  The inside of the house is strangely large with three rooms and an opening to an attic.  Every inch of the place looks full of history.  It seems to have housed a considerable number of people since it's initial abandoning in the 50's.

Parkhurst Ghost Town - Vancouver Hiking Guide May

Whistler Train Wreck Aerial Views

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