The Best Winter Hikes in Whistler

February 22, 2018

Whistler is home to some of the region’s best hiking trails, offering incredibly scenery and rewarding excursions.

As the snow covers the ground in winter the majority of these trails can only be accessed by snowshoe. However, you don’t always want to strap in for a big day out! Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the mountain and head out on foot to take in the area at a slower pace.

Here are some of our favourite trails that can still be accessed on foot, even in the middle of winter. If you have snowshoes then they will make it easier, but we don’t mind jumping in the occasional deep patch of snow!

Alexander Falls

Located just south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley, you can find Alexander Falls. A 43 metre/141 foot waterfall, it is open all year-round and is beautiful in every season!

Head south from Whistler and turn off the Sea to Sky, following directions for the Olympic Park. Turn off the road to find a small trail heading towards the viewing platform of the falls.

Depending on the conditions there will often be some snow you need to get through in order to see the falls, but it is never too much. Take in the impressive frozen falls and enjoy a small relaxing hike.

To explore the area more, you will need to strap on those snowshoes though!

Alexander Falls

Photo: Nikkey Dawn

Train Wreck

One of Whistler’s most famous hikes, Train Wreck is located near Function Junction along the Cheakamus River. Completed in 2016, the new trailhead is located in Cheakamus Crossing and connects to the Train Wreck trail via a bridge.

The trail is open year round and conditions will vary with the weather. Depending on the amount of snowfall in the valley, you can often access the Train Wreck relatively easily without the need for snowshoes. However, always be aware of the weather and prepare accordingly.

As the trail winds along the river you are treated to impressive glances of the raging water and occasional falls. Finally you emerge at the Train Wreck – home to abandoned wreckage that has since been transformed with graffiti art, as well as the creation of some impressive mountain bike features!

Find out more about the history of the wreck and the trail HERE.

Train Wreck in Whistler

Photo: Jason Pineau

Brandywine Falls

Located further south than Alexander Falls, Brandywine Falls can be found just a short walk from the Sea to Sky Highway. Although open all year round, the parking gate is locked during the winter months, but you can still access the trail.

Again, prepare for the conditions accordingly, but for the most part this trail can usually be accessed on foot. It is easy to find and, during busy weekends, you will often see a row of cars parked along the highway at the entrance.

The trail itself is fairly short and winds through the trees before emerging at the impressive falls. There is a small viewing platform and you will no doubt recognize the scenery from photographs of Whistler.

Brandywine falls

Photo: Mark Bowen

The Valley Trail

If you’re looking for a trail guaranteed to be free from snow, Whistler’s valley trail system offers over 40km of paved trail and boardwalks! You can take any number of strolls and everything is well signposted. If you’re worried about the weather you can check which areas of the trail have been freshly cleared with the RMOW in advance.

The Valley Trail allows you to explore Whistler’s local neighbourhoods and lakes with ease, and offers some beautiful views of the valley. Here are some suggested trail routes to get you started.

Whistler Hike

Photo: Justa Jeskova

Joffre Lakes

If you’re looking for a longer excursion, then here’s a bonus hike! This one definitely requires snowshoes during winter months, unless you want to have a completely terrible time!

Joffre Lakes are located just north of Pemberton and offer a beautiful hike with some of the most rewarding scenery year round. The trail itself is well marked out and often tracked out, but it is still a sizeable hike regardless.

You gain 400m elevation in around 5km, taking you up the mountain past three lakes. Plenty of caution should be taken on the trail, especially after a heavy snowfall, but the experience is incomparable and the scenery is spectacular!



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