Whistler is home to a number of great hikes. Whether you’re looking for family adventure or a more advanced jaunt, there’s something for everyone. We thought we’d share five of our favourite family-friendly trails for you today:
Walking With Giants – The Ancient Cedars Trail
Drive north of Whistler on the Sea-to-Sky highway for ten minutes or so and you’ll arrive at Cougar Mountain. It’s home to several adrenaline-packed activities, such as ATV and zip tours. It’s also home to old-growth forest and some of the oldest trees in the area. The trailhead can be found 4.5km along an old logging track. From the parking lot, follow signs for The Ancient Cedars Trail, which weaves its way through the forest and with a gentle incline. The trail is a 5km round trip and fairly accessible – although we wouldn’t recommend strollers. At the half-way point, it opens up into a beautiful grove where you can get up close and personal with the ancient cedars. These beautiful giants are several meters in diameter and certainly worth the short hike. Take time to enjoy the loop before retracing your steps back to the parking lot.
Chasing Waterfalls – Brandywine Falls
Clearly signposted and easily accessible, Brandywine Falls is a popular spot for visitors to Whistler. The parking lot lies just off Route 99 to the south of Whistler. The trail is clearly marked and leveled/paved, making it accessible to the whole family. At approximately 1km and with minimal elevation gain, it’s a short hike but certainly a beautiful one with plenty of photo opportunities. The trail arrives at a viewing platform from which you can enjoy views of the 66 meter waterfall as it crashes to the valley below. The area is equipped with washroom facilities and picnic benches, making it the ideal spot for a family with small children.
Off The Rails – The Trainwreck
One of the more famous hikes in the Whistler area is the Trainwreck. It’s roughly 6km round trip and fairly easy-going underfoot with minimal elevation gain. Access to the trailhead can be found close the crossroads at Function Junction. Heading south from whistler, turn left and follow the road for a couple of hundred meters before turning right. Follow the road for a further couple of hundred meters to arrive at a small roadside parking lot. The trail heads from here into the trees and follows the Cheakamus River. It includes a newly constructed suspension bridge, which is great fun to bounce on with children! The train wreck itself happened in 1956 and the seven remaining cars have become something of an icon in the local area. Hikers enjoy exploring the site and viewing the art that now adorns the twisted metal.
Local Hikes – Lost Lake Park
Within close proximity of Whistler Village – and therefore walkable for many – is Lost Lake Park. Here, you can enjoy a 30 minute stroll or spend hours exploring – there are countless options. Signage is clear and plentiful. Lost Lake trails can be enjoyed by most abilities, with several sections good for a stroller too. To up the ante, we like to get our trainers on and run the trails. For those already into running, Lost Lake Park is a great introduction to trail running. Post-hike or post-run, Lost Lake itself is beautiful. It has a pleasant beach area where you can relax and a number of docks/pontoons from which to jump in and enjoy a swim.
It’s A Shore Thing – Cheakamus Lake
The Cheakamus Lake trailhead can be found south of Whistler Village just off of the Sea-to Sky Highway. Take a left at the Function Junction crossroads and follow signs for Cheakamus Lake. The logging road is approximately 8.5 kms before you arrive at the parking lot and the trailhead. Cheakamus Lake itself is a pleasant 3km walk through old-growth forest. It’s great for the whole family. You can extend your adventure up to a further 4km by following the trail along the north shore of the lake. There are several little beaches to enjoy lunch and lots of viewpoints to take a great photo. This is also a great spot to camp and fairly easy to hike in with all of your gear. Several spots feature outhouses and cables to hang your food. Remember to pay your camping fee beforehand.