Is there anything better than spring hiking? As the seasons change, Whistler comes alive with beautiful blooms and wildlife. There may be some snow on the ground still, but some of our trails are revealing themselves once more. We’d love to share with you some advice and ideas for spring hiking in Whistler. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to drop a comment at the bottom! Have an awesome hiking season!
Spring Hiking In Whistler – First Things First
Spring weather can be unpredictable. To ensure you have a wonderful experience, we recommend preparing for all weather. Some essential items that we pack when spring hiking in Whistler:
- Waterproof shell – Helps to keep the wind and the rain off you while being light and easy-to-pack.
- Strudy boots with good grip – You may come across sections of snow or mud on the trail – especially at higher elevations. Ensure you have the correct footwear to provide traction and keep your feet dry. We would even consider cleats/snowshoes when spring hiking in Whistler.
- SPF/sunglasses/hat – because the sun may come out and you’ll want to protect your skin!
Cheakamus River Loop – Moderate
The Cheakamus River Loop is accessed via the Cheakamus Parking Lot at Function Junction. The trail starts out paved (The Valley Trail) and transitions to gravel path as it winds through the woods. The Cheakamus River flows heavily in the spring due to snowmelt, which creates very impressive swells and cascades. The halfway-point of the trail crosses the river by means of a suspension bridge, which is the perfect photo opportunity!
Nairn Falls – Easy
About 30km drive north of Whistler Village, Nairn Falls is a great, little hike to a beautiful waterfall. There’s free parking and this trail is perfect if you have children in tow. Remember to pack your camera to snap some awesome shots. When you’re done here, be sure to check out the equally inspiring One Mile Lake just outside the park (towards Pemberton). While you’re in town, call in to the Beer Farmers for some refreshments and incredible patio views.
The Train Wreck – Easy
This is a very popular trail in Whistler and quite often the first that comes to mind when discussing spring hiking in Whistler. Our top tip would be to go first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. This way you can really enjoy the peace of the surrounding forest. The Cheakamus River (as mentioned previously) also courses it’s way by the train wreck, too, and a suspension bridge gives another great photo opportunity here. You’ll find the train wreck in the Cheakamus neighbourhood. Parking is limited (but we’ve never experienced an issue parking!)
Brandywine Falls – Easy/Moderate
The Brandywine Falls parking lot is typically off-limits during winter months (and they regularly tow violators!) However it reopens in the spring, which makes this popular tourist spot accessible once more. The falls experience is not really a hike, per se. The paved trail is no more than a couple kilometers and leads to a viewing platform, which offers incredible views! If you like, you can extend your hike by taking the Lava Lake trail right after you cross the covered footbridge over Brandywine Creek.
Loggers’ Lake/Crater Rim Trail – Moderate
This one is a 5km round trip with enough elevation gain to get the heart rate up. It’s no alpine excursion by any means, but the views out over Logger’s Lake are incredible, and this trail doesn’t see the volume of traffic that other Insta-famous trails may see. The Crater Rim trail will also satisfy your inner geek. The lake itself is situated in an extinct volcano and the Crater Rim Trail passes around the upper ridges that surround the lake. Pretty neat, huh?! One of our faves for spring hiking in Whistler!
Valley Trail – Green Lake – Easy
Whistler is home to an incredibly accessible network of trails collectively called The Valley Trail. It’s predominantly paved and ideal for visitors with children and those with reduced mobility. The Valley Trail weaves it’s way among all of Whistler’s neighborhoods and has many points of interest. These include Rainbow Park, Lost Lake, and Creekside Village. One of our favourite pitstops is Green Lake. It’s here that you can watch float planes land and take-off (seasonal), walk out onto the Green Lake spit to have a picnic, or stand on the boardwalk and stare in awe of the view.
Later Spring/Early Summer
Whistler Snow Walls – Moderate/Difficult
This is bucketlist-worthy when visiting Whistler in May. The incredible snow walls atop Whistler Mountain are best enjoyed in their prime at the beginning of alpine hiking season. At this time, they easily stand 35-30ft tall and tower either side of the trail creating a cool corridor to the peak. Access is granted via the PEAK2PEAK 360 Experience and we recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Alternatively, your Vail Resorts Epic Pass gets you onto the gondola, too! Ensure you find time to cross the Cloudraker Skybridge and experience the world-record-breaking PEAK2PEAK Gondola – it’s all included in the ticket price.
Ancient Cedars – Moderate
The Ancient Cedars Trail is a great option to add to your wish list for spring hiking in Whistler. It’s here that some of the oldest living things in the entire Sea to Sky corridor reside! At 900+ years old, the trees in Whistler’s Ancient Cedars grove are a must-see! The trail is a 5km round-trip and accessed via the Cougar Mountain turn-off, Highway 99. You’ll drive an old logging road for about 4km and although a 4×4 is not vital, we would certainly recommend a vehicle with good clearance!
Rainbow Lake – Moderate/Difficult
This one is likely to have remnants of snow well into spring! The Rainbow Lake trail is 17km round trip with an elevation gain of 825m. Dogs are not allowed from a certain point on this trail and the trail itself is subject to closure due to bear activity (ensure your packing your bear spray and being Bear Smart!) This route will take you to the beautiful Rainbow Falls near the beginning and climb gradually through a scenic forested trail, opening up to a beautiful alpine lake. While we’re recommending it here for spring hiking in Whistler, it’s incredible toward the end of summer, too, when the wildflowers around the lake are in full bloom!
Spring Hiking In Whistler – Where To Stay
Make a trip of it! There are some great accommodation offers in Whistler in the spring (top tip: book midweek for the lowest rates!)