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Whistler Trails - Wedgemount Lake

Blackcomb Mountain Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsMount Sproatt Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsPorteau Cove Aerial Video - Vancouver Trails

 

Garibaldi Lake in Whistler - Vancouver HikingGaribaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in Garibaldi Park.  The Garibaldi Lake campsite is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly undisturbed mountain lake.  There are no trails around the perimeter of the lake with the exception of the small section leading to the campsite, so your view of the lake is a sea of unnaturally coloured water ringed by swaths of forest and a magnificent glacier towering in the distance.  The water is painfully cold, though plenty of brave hikers swim here as well as camp.  The camping area is well laid out and stretches deep into the forest with 50 tent clearings.  You can, except for the busiest of days, put your tent out of earshot and sight of others.  The trail to Garibaldi Lake from the Rubble Creek trailhead, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway takes about two hours.  You gain a fair amount of elevation, 900 metres in just 9k, trailhead to lake.  Partway along the trail to Garibaldi Lake the trail forks.  Right to Garibaldi Lake and left goes to another beautiful campground, Taylor Meadows.  Past Taylor Meadows you can link back to Garibaldi Lake by yet another linking trail.  At every trail for there are nice and clear signs and sometimes maps, showing where and how far everything is...

Why should hike to Garibaldi Lake near Whistler?

Garibaldi Lake is amazingly beautiful with its huge size and unbelievable colour.  The hiking trails are well signed and laid out in the well organized Garibaldi Park.  The trails are relatively easy and there is quite a lot to see.  Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows and Panorama Ridge are all within hiking distance and some of the most amazing hikes around.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park >>

Helm Creek in Whistler - Vancouver HikingHelm Creek is a beautiful, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek Campground it descends further along the Helm Creek Trail, until it joins the Cheakamus River near where it leaves Cheakamus Lake.  The location of Helm Creek Campground has two tremendous advantages. First it is just a great location in Garibaldi Park. About halfway between Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around. Amazing fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk. Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you turn. And the campground area itself is very nice. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek. The area really has no trails except the Helm Creek trail that runs past it, but there are infinitely numerous directions you can wander. Exploring in any direction takes you to more and more pristine, green fields, streams, pocket lakes and mountain views.  Though most just use it as a base to extend onto Black Tusk, it is a great base for so much more. Helm Peak, Corrie Peak, Cinder Cone, Empetrum Peak as well as the more frequented Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake.  The second great aspect of Helm Creek as a campground is that it is quiet and serene when compared with the other two area campgrounds. Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are very busy all summer long. In fact there is a posting part way up the trail to Garibaldi Lake indicating how crowded it is and if it is full.

Why should hike to Helm Creek near Whistler?

Though Helm Creek is generally called Helm Creek Campground it is somewhat of a destination on its own.  Beautiful scenery, relaxing area.  It is an incredible base camp allowing access to the less hiked but arguably most spectacular area of Garibaldi Park.  You can hike in several directions from Helm Creek and because you are in the alpine you don't need to follow a trail.  With a topo map you can venture any number of marvelous places within an hour from your tent.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Helm Creek in Garibaldi Provincial Park >>

High Note Trail in Whistler - Vancouver HikingThe High Note Trail begins high up on Whistler Mountain at the top of the Peak Chair.  To get there you must buy a lift pass and ride the Whistler Gondola for 22 minutes up to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain, then hike for about 8 minutes to the Peak Chair.  Ride this beautiful and alarmingly steep chairlift up to Whistler's Peak where the High Note Trail begins.  The trail begins with some narrow, rocky and fairly steep ups and downs as you hike out to the edge of a rock outcrop with amazing views to the valley and Whistler below.  Though there are two small chain-assist sections, most should have no difficulty.  Even if you are bringing your kids along, you will have no problem or worry at these parts or any other along the trail.  After this short up and down section at the beginning of the High Note Trail, the route evens out and runs along the edge of the ridge parallel to the amazing Cheakamus Lake far down the valley below.  There are signs at a couple spots along the way directing you very clearly.  The High Note Trail is 9.5k roundtrip and should take about 3 hours...

Why should hike the High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain?

From beginning to end this trail is amazing.  The gondola and chairlift rides are fantastic as well.  The trail has constant views and you don't have to hike an uneventful trail to reach the sites like almost all other hiking trails.  There are restaurants at both ends of the Peak to Peak Gondola which your lift pass includes access to.  The combination of gondola rides, restaurants and hiking make this the ultimate, family friendly outing in Whistler that is hard to beat.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain >>

Joffre Lakes near Whistler - Vancouver HikingJoffre Lakes is one of the most beautiful lakes you are likely to ever see.  There are three lakes and they get progressively more beautiful.  By the third lake the intense blue is breathtaking.  The mighty Matier Glacier rises above the third lake, making the experience even more spectacular.  The trail is rough and tricky in some parts, but not terribly difficult.  The trail is 5.5km to the third lake so give yourself 1.5 - 2 hours(one way).  Snowshoeing is easy and relaxing to Joffre Lakes.  There is no avalanche danger if you keep to the trail and do not continue past the third lake.  The only danger is losing the trail (mainly on the way back to your car).  I've never snowshoed Joffre Lakes without seeing an easily visible trail of ski or snowshoe tracks in the snow however, the days are short in the winter and when the light fades the ski/snowshoe tracks you easily followed on the way up become harder to discern.

Whistler Guide Map

This is a bit worrying though the contours of the land push you toward the first lake near the parking lot.  To be safe you should always have a map or gps and headlight with you in the winter and be extra cautious about leaving early and returning early to get lots of light on the trail.

Why should hike to Joffre Lakes north of Whistler?

The drive to the trailhead is beautiful and you can see some interesting sights on the way from Whistler.  Nairn Falls, the cute town of Pemberton, North Arm Farm and great views of Lillooet Lake are all convenient pit stops on the 1.5 hour drive to Joffre Lakes.  The lakes are extremely beautiful and accessible for only a moderately difficult, family friendly hike.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Joffre Lakes Provincial Park >>

Nairn Falls near Whistler - Vancouver HikingNairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the deep and angular channels of rock.  Though the BC Parks website describes Nairn Falls as 60 metres high, the description is misleading.  The falls crash through various narrow and wide areas, and though the cumulative drop is 60 metres, what you see is a series of 10 to 20 metre falls.  There are a nicely constructed railing, fence and viewing area and walkway that guides you to the best views.  With such abruptly steep rock all around, the area would be potentially dangerous.  Evidently there have been deaths here before.  A cross, reverently placed across the chasm from the viewing platform, indicates of some tragic event.  Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located just a short 20 minute drive north of Whistler.  From the large parking lot the well marked trail runs along the Green River for 1.2k to Nairn Falls.  The trail is very easy and is hike-able year-round...

Why should hike to Nairn Falls north of Whistler?

Nairn Falls is a short and easy, family friendly hike to a very impressive waterfall.  Perfect for an afternoon drive/hike/picnic from Whistler.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Nairn Falls Provincial Park >>

Panorama Ridge in Whistler - Vancouver HikingPanorama Ridge is arguably the most amazing hike in Garibaldi Park.  It certainly is in the top 5 of the best hikes in Whistler.  Usually accessed by the Rubble Creek (Garibaldi Lake) trailhead, just off the Sea to Sky Highway 30 minutes south of Whistler.  The hike to Panorama Ridge is comparatively long at 15k trailhead to ridge, but there is plenty to marvel at along the way.  In the summer the valley on the way to Panorama Ridge is flower-filled and beautiful in every direction.  The first fork in the trail from Rubble Creek takes you to a viewpoint for "The Barrier".  The Barrier is an extraordinary buttress of rock that holds back a potentially devastating debris slide.  You may have noticed the trailhead sign indicating that camping at the parking lot is prohibited as it is directly in the path of a potential debris flow.  Past the Barrier viewpoint you can take a short side-trail to Garibaldi Lake or continue on and eventually the forked trail that led to Taylor Meadows meets with the Garibaldi Lake trail and the single trail continues to Black Tusk and then Panorama Ridge beyond.  The trail(s) from the fork until Panorama Ridge is a continuous marvel of alpine creeks, views of distant mountains, turquoise lake views and rarely boring.  The final hike up Panorama Ridge is fairly steep.  Some scrambling is required to get up the fairly steep, hard-packed, final snow trail...

Why should hike to Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Park, Whistler?

Challenging, long distance hike.  Jaw dropping views from Panorama Ridge.  Often cited as the best hike in Garibaldi Park.  Panorama Ridge is often combined with other hikes in the area such as Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake,  over several days of amazing hiking.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park >>

Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler - Vancouver HikingWhistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as one of the most unusual.  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.  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 see.  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...

Why should hike to Parkhurst in Whistler?

Parkhurst Ghost Town is located next to the beautiful and new Sea to Sky Trail that runs high above the very scenic Green Lake just north of Whistler.  This allows for including Parkhurst into a longer hike that can begin from Whistler Village, extend through the Lost Lake trails up to the Sea to Sky Trail, then descend to Parkhurst on the shore of Green Lake.  Of all the routes to Parkhurst, none are boring and seeing a bit of pre-Whistler history is interesting and a bit surreal at times.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler >>

Rainbow Lake in Whistler - Vancouver HikingRainbow Lake is one of the original hiking trails in Whistler that has existed well before Whistler was called Whistler.  The 8k trail is challenging though beautiful as it passes through an impressively huge forest of giant trees.  There are several wonderful bridge crossings and crashing river views.  Rainbow Lake itself is surreal and beautiful.  An unnaturally bright, green meadow extends from one side of the lake and a field of starkly white erratics litter the landscape along the shores of the crystal clear lake.  Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source so swimming, fishing, dogs and camping are not allowed.  There are, you will quickly notice upon reaching Rainbow Lake, that a trail continues past the lake then forks.  The right fork takes you to the right and to the popular, though difficult scramble to the summit of Rainbow Mountain.  In the same direction you can bear left on the Rainbow Mountain trail and after about 3k you will arrive at the secluded, pristine and wonderful, Hanging Lake.  Camp and swim here all you want as you are far from Rainbow Lake.  Back at Rainbow Lake, the left fork takes you to Beverly Lake.  This is the often used campsite alternative to Rainbow Lake and is just a 40 minute hike away...

Why should hike to Rainbow Lake in Whistler?

Challenging, beautiful hike to a mountain-lake paradise.  Hypnotizing views of Wedge Mountain across the valley as well as impressive views along the trail of Whistler Village.  The Rainbow Lake trail is eventful with several small waterfalls and interesting sights.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Rainbow Lake in Whistler >>

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