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Whistler Trails - Cheakamus Lake

Cheakamus Lake Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsLost Lake Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsMadeley Lake Aerial Video - Vancouver Trails

Hike in Whistler & Garibaldi Provincial ParkHike in Squamish & Garibaldi Provincial ParkHike in VancouverHike in Tofino & ClayoquotHike in Victoria & Vancouver IslandHike the West Coast Trail WCT

 

Rainbow Falls in Whistler - Vancouver HikingThe short and often overlooked hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is located just a half kilometre from the Rainbow Lake trailhead. The trail begins by ascending into deep forest and the trail winds left, right, up and down constantly.  21 Mile Creek, always on your right can always be either seen or heard.  21 Mile Creek begins, 8 kilometres away as it drains from Rainbow Lake, making its way eventually to the River of Golden Dreams, before finally draining into Green Lake north of Whistler Village.  A couple minutes into the Rainbow Trail and you come to a fork in the path.  You can take either path as they rejoin further up the trail, however taking the right fork is more scenic and only a little more of a steep climb.  A second fork in the trail appears a couple minutes later again, and once again taking the right fork is better.  You will then come to a small trail sign indicating "Rainbow Falls".  This short trail takes you to the little oasis that Rainbow Falls flows into.  After seeing Rainbow Falls, there are a couple more nice vantage points just a short hike further up the Rainbow Trail.  If you backtrack from the Falls and rejoin the Rainbow Trail, you will zig-zag up some short switchbacks, before coming out to the gravel access road to the water treatment building.  Here you will find a nice mapboard showing the Rainbow Trail and some of the connecting trails.  This section of trail overlaps with the 40 kilometre, Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail, so you will see some "Flank Trail" signs as well as Rainbow Lake signs.

Why should hike to Rainbow Falls in Whistler?

This fun and easy trail is very scenic and can easily be combined with a visit to nearby Rainbow Park.  The falls hide in a cute little hidden world, deep in the forest around 21 mile creek.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Rainbow Falls in Whistler >>

Ring and Conflict Lake in WhistlerRing Lake is a fantastically beautiful and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake but considerably farther to hike to reach it.  The 10k hike takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains.  5k into the hike you come to Conflict Lake with trails running around it.  Signs at various junctions indicate which trail to take to reach Ring Lake, a further 5k from Conflict.  The trail from Conflict Lake to Ring Lake passes through a huge valley for a couple kilometres, then abruptly ascends on the right side of the valley.  The trail is poorly marked in this section and you have to keep bearing right to avoid descending back into the valley.  3k of, at times very steep, but not technical trail gets you to the magnificent Ring Lake and the imposing Ring Mountain across the emerald green water.  The trailhead to Ring and Conflict Lakes is very close to the Callaghan Lake Provincial Park campsite...

Why should hike to Ring Lake near Whistler?

Very wild and backcountry feeling.  In Garibaldi Park you always know you are in a park, in the Callaghan Valley on the Ring Lake Trail, you feel far removed from civilization.  If you dislike frequent signs and manicured campsites, you will find few here.  The campsite is non-existent, which is fun in a way.  You arrive a Ring Lake exhausted and see few flat areas suitable for a tent.  Just wild and beautiful terrain that you don't put a tent on, but rather have the landscape consume into the surroundings.  In short, Ring Lake is wild and desolate feeling and in a marvellously beautiful setting.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Ring and Conflict Lakes, Whistler >>

Russet Lake in Whistler - Vancouver HikingRusset Lake, in Garibaldi Park is the wonderfully expansive hiking area located just a few spectacular steps from Whistler.  Among the various ways to reach Russet Lake, possibly the most impressive are the approaches from either the Musical Bumps Trail or the High Note Trail.  Both begin from high up on Whistler Mountain.  Musical Bumps starts near the Roundhouse on Whistler and the High Note Trail begins at the top of Whistler near the Peak Chair.  Though Russet Lake is not terribly impressive in terms of size or colour, the valley around it is remarkably beautiful.  The colours change from moment to moment in and extraordinary way.  The distinctive colour of the Fissile and the stark grey of the mountains around contrast amazingly with the blue of the lake and green grass in the valley.  So many different factors fill the place with colour.  There are, in fact, several ways to get to hike Russet Lake.  The Singing Pass Trail from the base of Whistler Mountain near the Whistler Gondola.  The Musical Bumps Trail that begins near the top of the Whistler Gondola.  The High Note Trail that begins at the top of the Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain.  There is an increasingly popular route that begins from Blackcomb Mountain.  And finally, a very infrequently hiked route from Cheakamus Lake that runs along Singing Creek...

Why should hike to Russet Lake in Whistler?

Russet Lake is certainly one of the most amazing places in Whistler to hike.  The various routes to reach it allow for not retracing your steps and instead doing an interesting circle route.  Though you have to pay to ride the Whistler Gondola if hiking there via Musical Bumps or the High Note Trail.  If you hike in reverse via Garibaldi Park's Singing Pass Trail and returning by the Musical Bumps Trail you can ride the Peak Chair and Whistler Gondola for free.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Russet Lake in Garibaldi Park, Whistler >>

Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - Vancouver HikingThe Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler is an amazing collection of interconnected hiking, biking, snowshoeing and running trails that stretch for almost 33 kilometres through Whistler.  The Sea to Sky Trail actually stretches to the north of Whistler to D'Arcy and south of Whistler to Squamish in one amazing 180k trail.  The incredible Whistler area of this trail stretches north of the Village from Lost Lake Park where it ascends up past and above Green Lake.  The trail joins with the Sea to Sky Highway near the Wedgemount Lake turnoff from the Sea to Sky Highway.  South of Whistler Village the Sea to Sky Trail follows Whistler's Valley Trail down to Cheakamus Crossing and then disappears into the forest where it runs along the Cheakamus River to Brandywine Falls.  At Brandywine the trail once again joins with the Sea to Sky Highway.  This 33k, Whistler stretch of the Sea to Sky Trail is an incredible trail with beautifully clear signs, excellent mapboards and frequent views and highlights.  Along the trail you will see the always impressive Brandywine Falls, the amazing Bungee Bridge over the Cheakamus River, and several great views.  The Cheakamus River is a large, loud and dramatic river with several great places to see it. The trail passes by several lakes in and around Whistler including, Daisy Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Alta Lake, Lost Lake and Green Lake.  Each one has either a nice park or great vantage points...

Why should hike the Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler?

Whistler's Sea to Sky Trail is easy, convenient, well signed and takes you to countless amazing viewpoints, parks, lakes, and interesting places.  It is so wide and well signed that it can be easily navigated in the winter with deep snow with the help of snowshoes or skis.  There are several great access points to the Sea to Sky Trail.  The Bungee Bridge, Brandywine Falls, Nairn Falls, Parkhurst Ghost Town, Cheakamus Crossing and Cal-Cheak all have entry/exit points.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler >>

Sproatt Alpine Trail in WhistlerMount Sproatt in Whistler is one of the many huge mountains visible from Whistler Village.  Next time you walk through Whistler Village and cross the pedestrian bridge with Village Gate Boulevard below you, you will see Mount Sproatt from this excellent vantage point.  It is the rocky giant, abruptly steep on one end and gently sloping on the other. What you can't see from Whistler Village is the extraordinarily beautiful alpine paradise that lays beyond it.  Lakes and tarns everywhere you look.  Fields of alpine flowers and wonderfully mangled, yet strikingly beautiful forests of krummholz.  Hostile looking fields of boulders and absurdly placed erratics the size of RV's.  Beyond, of course, endless stunning view of distant, snowy mountains.  From the towering elevation of much of the Sproatt Alpine Trail you often look across or even down on distant mountains.  Rainbow Mountain looks incredible(pictured here) from much of the trail.  The jagged grey peaks in a row that face you from Rainbow Mountain, just 5 kilometres away look enormous.  A couple kilometres closer you spot Hanging Lake and the Lord of the Rings style valley that stretches 2 kilometres from its shores to the abrupt cliffs at your feet.  Several times along the trail you see the clearly defined ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb and once in a while you can spot Alta Lake and Whistler Village.  Though a hive of snowmobile and ski/riding activity in the winter and spring, Sproatt is infrequently hiked in the summer.  The reason for its lack of popularity is that it is comparatively difficult to access.  There are several ways to reach it, though none are clearly marked and most require bushwhacking and some careful planning to navigate.  That was then.  The future of Sproatt looks far more inviting as new trails are constructed every year and there is a massive 10 kilometre multi-use, hiking and biking trail being built right now that spans this enormous and challenging terrain.

Whistler Guide Map

The Sproatt Alpine Trail is currently still under construction and begins 1.4 kilometres from the Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail trailhead next to Olive's Market in Function Junction(8k south of Whistler Village).  The trail is already quite easy to follow, though it is constantly steep and winding.  Though you are mostly in deep forest, occasionally you emerge to fantastic views of the valley below and Black Tusk beyond.  From the trailhead to the alpine is about 5 kilometres, though the trail continues for through the alpine much further.  It is possible to connect from the Sproatt Alpine Trail to Rainbow Lake, Northair Mine, Hanging Lake and Madeley Lake.

Why should hike Mount Sproatt in Whistler?

The Sproatt Alpine area of Whistler is well off the radar for most hikers and you will rarely see anyone on the trail or in the enormous valley.  The endless lakes, creeks, valleys, mountain peaks and meadows make this an alpine paradise.  More difficult to access than Garibaldi Provincial Park make it virtually unknown, even for locals.  You will have trouble finding a better place to put your tent anywhere else in the world.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - The Sproatt Alpine Trail in Whistler >>

Taylor Meadows in Whistler - Vancouver HikingTaylor Meadows is a beautiful Garibaldi Park campsite and alternative to the much busier Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in between Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk itself. It is reached from the same trailhead to Garibaldi Lake.  There are 40 very nice tent platforms, toilets, a good water source and a food cache,  all in the lush forest of Taylor Meadows with the distant view of Black Tusk.  Generally Taylor Meadows is not a destination, but part of a circle route.  For example, trailhead to Taylor Meadows, Taylor Meadows to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, then return via Garibaldi Lake.  This makes for a long hike at 30k, which is why tenting at this perfectly beautiful, and perfectly located Taylor Meadows Campsite, is a great idea.  Taylor Meadows Campsite gets very busy at times as well with 40 campsites with full service (water, security, etc) and fees (May 1 - Nov 15).  There are some small rivers close by but no swimming.  The draw for Taylor Meadows camping is the wonderful location.  It lays in a beautiful forested meadow full of hills and flowers and views of the towering Black Tusk.  It has a less crowded feel than Garibaldi Lake does, though bear in mind that even when crowded these campsites don't feel crowded - they are just that organized and thick with trees and hills.  Also, if you were to feel crowded, you could easily wander in any of several directions and become immersed in the wonderful forest and beautiful desolation in these vast meadows of Garibaldi Park.

Why should hike to Taylor Meadows in Garibaldi Park?

Though generally used as a base camp for further hiking into Garibaldi Park, Taylor Meadows is a good hiking destination on its own.  Incredible views all around, Taylor Meadows can be hiked as part of a circle route, starting 5k from the Rubble Creek trailhead.  The trail forks and taking either fork will eventually bring you back via the opposite fork.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Taylor Meadows in Garibaldi Park, Whistler >>

Train Wreck in Whistler - Vancouver HikingIt is hard to say enough about the Whistler Train Wreck.  It is fantastic for so many reasons.  First, its location.  Just a short 10 minute drive gets you to the trailhead parking, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway in Function Junction on Alpha Lake Road.  The hike begins by walking south on the Flank Trail and within ten minutes you arrive at some amazing views of the Cheakamus River.  The trail then runs along the river to more amazing river viewpoints before heading around a bend in the river and into the deep forest that is now home to the decades old train wreck.  Once again phenomenal views of the crashing river and then the amazing train wrecks come into view.  Graffiti style paint brings the dingy wreckage to life with shockingly beautiful colours.  The huge wrecks are enormous up close and mangled.  Some on their sides, some upside down.  Each one (there are several) is an interesting adventure to explore.  A sort of wilderness art exhibit.  The wreckage stretches for almost a kilometre and can bring out the kid in anyone.  The area is very kid friendly as the trails are wide and generally flat.  There are several extraordinarily surreal places to put up a tent or, as many often do, sleep on the edge of the incredible river or even in a wrecked car...

Why should hike the Whistler Train Wreck?

Beautiful, easy, relaxing, so much to see.  Convenient, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway.  Popular as a 5.4k trail running route.  Whistler Train Wreck is one of the best places in Whistler for a picnic or glass of wine.  A very kid friendly hike.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Whistler Train Wreck >>

Wedgemount Lake in Whistler - Vancouver HikingIf you were to search your whole life for an absolutely amazing, astoundingly perfect, alpine hiking paradise, you'd have trouble finding a place as great as Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park. To start with, the lake is breathtaking. Every angle you look at it and every hour of the day it alters its appearance dramatically. From its wonderful turquoise, marble-like appearance reflecting bronze mountains at sunrise and sunset. To its startlingly vivid appearance in the darkness of night. Reflecting stars are as clear looking down on the lake as they are looking up at the sky.  The massive valley that contains Wedgemount Lake is ringed by impressive mountains and the ever-present Wedgemount Glacier that continuously pulls your attention to it. The trail that leads around the lake to the glacier takes only 20-30 minutes and is quite amazing to explore. Wedgemount Glacier, at its edge, has what is called a glacier window. A huge ice cave, created out of the melting underneath this huge, crushing mass of ice. You can get right up close to this impressive ice cave and have a drink of what was just moments before ice left thousands of years ago before Wedgemount Lake was called Wedgemount Lake...

Why should hike to Wedgemount Lake in Whistler?

One of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park.  Close to Whistler, the trailhead is only about 10-20 minutes away.  Though the hike is hard and steep, it is short.  A fit person can hike the trail in under 1.5 hours (one way).  There are endless mountains, glaciers and hidden trails to explore.  Wonderful and free hut to use with a million dollar view of the lake.  The somewhat difficulty of the hike makes it less used than many other nearby trails.

Vancouver Hiking by Region - Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park, Whistler >>

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