For those looking to take in a bird’s eye view of Whistler’s Valley, including Green Lake and Nicklaus North Golf Course. Follow the disc golf course along Hydro Cut to where it meets up with Old Mill Road, then jump on the Sea to Sky & Green Lake Lookout trail. From this vantage point, spectators can watch floatplanes come and go and take in views of Sprout, Rainbow and Wedge mountains.
If you’re feeling ambitious, continue the adventure on the Sea to Sky Trail towards the Parkhurst Ghost Town. A note to the wise, sections of this trail can be challenging and for every step forward energy must be saved for the return journey. Whistler’s 33 KM section of the Sea to Sky Trail is completed from Brandywine Fall Provincial Park to Wedgewood Estates. Elevations vary as does the ground cover ranging from paved, dirt to crushed rock.
Parkhurst Ghost Town is a moderate adventure. Abandoned in the 1960’s, this former 1920’s logging town turned hippy hangout has historical artifacts lining the trail with an intact cabin, abandoned cars and old stoves.
There are two different locations for hikers to access this historical landmark. One is to follow the signs located on the Sea to Sky trail from Lost Lake or drive north of Green Lake and turn right at the sign for the Wedgemount Lake trail. If your vehicle can handle potholes, turn right onto Wedge Creek Forest Service Road and park at the trailhead. If not, hikers should park at the parking lot located off highway 99 and add a few km’s to the outing.
South of Whistler in the community of Cheakamus lays four Instagram-worthy Trailheads – Farside, Riverside, Trash and the popular Train Wreck Trail. Park the car at the parking lot located off Highway 99 at Cheakamus (kitty-corner from Whistler’s Function Junction). The trailhead starts the moment you jump out of the car in the heart of the Whistler Interpretive Forest.
Riverside Trail follows the right side of Cheakamus River and is easy going until it turns into a section of switchbacks with a doable elevation gain that informs your backside it’s getting a workout. Once past the endless switchbacks, hikers could start wondering if this trail will never end. The feeling is only magnified by the fact the trail does not contain distance markers or maps. Don’t turn back! This daunting feeling is about to be lifted with the discovery of a Suspension bridge that joins to Farside. The Farside trail has the same great views and dirt rooty ground covering but not the hefty switchbacks. This loop is marked as an easy 2 hour 6.1KM but the body could feel it is 8.5KM and worth packing a sandwich to take time to listen to the roaring river.
The Cheakamus Community is not only home to Whistler’s Athlete Centre, soccer fields and BMX track but also one of Whistler’s famous tourist attractions, The Train Wreck. In 1956, seven train cars derailed and have since become an artist masterpiece struggled among the ancient trees and bank of the Cheakamus River. This 3km adventure starts behind Bayly Park off Janes Lake Road. The wide gravel dirt path makes for easy trekking and features a Suspension bridge over the emerald waters of the Cheakamus River.
Wanting to kick it up? Jump on the Trash Trailhead, located on Legacy Way by Janes Lake Road. This trail is marked as a Black and if you were biking it most definitely is. However, if you are sturdy on your feet and can follow a trail that is not always clearly marked, this trail will send you into the forest travelling along the Cheakamus River.
Located 20 minutes south of Whistler, hikers can shake off the cobwebs with a quick and easy 1 KM hike to Brandywine Falls. Or if 1 KM is more energy then you can spare turn towards the Callaghan Valley 2010 Olympic Nordic venue and follow the sign to Alexander Falls to view a spectacular Water Falls right from the parking lot.
Want More? Check out Part One of The Everyone’s Guide to Local Hikes. For help with planning your hiking vacation, check out Deals + Packages or call (604)962-0220 and get local help from the amateur athletes who live and hike right here.
Words by Tina Wickman