Ever considered trail running in Whistler? You’ll find varying terrain to challenge your workout and endless scenery along the way. Whether you’re keen to explore the alpine, or just blowing away the cobwebs, there’s a route to suit every ability and time constraint. As we pack away our planks and reach for our runners, we wanted to share some of our favourite routes for trail running in whistler.
The Valley Trail
The neighbourhoods of Whistler are connected by a 40km+ network of paved footpaths called The Valley Trail. It’s a great place to run come rain or shine and routes can be easily planned by looking at Google Maps. One of our favourite loops covers roughly 10kms and heads north out of the village, taking in Green Lake, Rainbow Estate and Whistler Golf Course. There is some elevation gain at Rainbow Estate but plain-sailing otherwise.
Looking slightly south of Whistler, in the Creekside neighbourhood, is another of our favourites. Setting off from Nita Lake Lodge, head south to Alta Lake. From here, continue on the Valley Trail until you reach Alta Lake Road. Following the road north, there is some elevation gain, which lifts you slightly above the Valley and provides great views. After 2.5km, leave Alta Lake Road and rejoin the Valley Trail on the right. This now takes you by Alta Lake and Nita Lake before returning to Nita Lake Lodge. Now, finish your run with a well-earned beer at Cure Lounge & Patio!
Lost Lake Park
If you’re keen to take your running off-road, one place that we would recommend is Lost Lake Park. Located in Whistler’s Upper Village area, Lost Lake Park is home to a number of organised runs including We Run Whistler and Park Run. Trails take you deep into old-growth forest with peeks at beautiful Lost Lake along the way. During winter, the area is home to Nordic skiing and so it’s useful to see signs grading each route from green to double black. At 2km, the Lost Lake Loop is a great place to start!
For something a bit more challenging, consider heading to the Cheakamus River trails. In terms of trail running in Whistler, we would say this area offers more intermediate routes with varying terrain and a couple of steeper pitches to tackle. We like to park in the lot beside the Function Junction crossroads. From here follow the Valley Trail, turning left onto the logging road. About 20m in, you’re going to find the trail on the right. Drop into the trees and follow the Cheakamus River south for about 3km before crossing over the suspension bridge. Then make our way north along the river, eventually crossing back over the Cheakamus River and back towards the parking lot. The route covers approximately 6km and we find it really gets the heart rate going.
Alpine Running Trails
As the alpine opens for the summer season, Whistler Mountain becomes bucket list material for hikers and runners in the area. With incredible views and beautiful alpine meadows, it’s absolutely worth the gondola ride up. We’d recommend the High Note Trail. It’s probably the most technically advanced trail on our list.
Ride the Whistler Village Gondola to the Roundhouse, and then the Peak Chair to the very top. The trail is clearly signposted and offers breathtaking views of Black Tusk, Corrie Lake and Harmony Bowl. Choose from either the full High Note Trail (9.4km with 420m elevation gain) or the Half Note (3.2km with 136m elevation gain).
What To Expect Trail Running In Whistler
Whistler is a beautiful place to enjoy a run. With bucketful’s of fresh air and endless views, it makes sense to find time to hit the trails. Before setting out, there are a number of things to consider:
- You may not be used to the elevation. Take your time and don’t over-exert yourself.
- Down in the valley, Whistler regularly reaches the high 20s celsius in summer. Be sure to stay hydrated and take water with you on longer runs. SPF, shades and a cap are also great ideas.
- Having said that, conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Be sure to pack a shell for inclement weather, too!
- Whistler is home to a large number of black bears and while human/bear conflicts are rare, it’s best to be prepared. Consider carrying a bear bell and/or deterrent such as bear spray.
- Carrying a cell phone is super useful should you experience any difficulty on the trail. Another great option is to let someone know where you’re going and what time they should expect you back.
For more information about trail running in Whistler check out the Tourism Whistler website by clicking here.
For current clinics or a chance to meet local runners, check out the Whistler Runners Bulletin Board on Facebook.
Yet to book your accommodation? Check out our Top Tips On Finding Great Value Accommodation in Whistler.