Whistler may be famous as a ski village but when that snow melts it becomes an idyllic playground for hikers. Hiking enthusiasts who purchase a year-round or vacation home among the real estate for sale in Whistler will find countless opportunities here. There are short and sweet nature walks, scenic trails edged by a kaleidoscope of colorful wildflowers in the alpine terrain, challenging mountain treks, and more.
Nestled high in the Coast Mountains, the hiking season is relatively short, with the higher elevation trails snowy into July while valley bottom trails start to become snow-free in April or May. Late into September, snow is falling in the mountains again. You’ll always want to toss a rain jacket in your backpack as rain obviously isn’t uncommon in a coastal temperate rainforest. Every year the region gets between 98 and 177 inches (250 and 450 centimeters) of rainfall. Of course, that’s what makes it so lush and green.
You can grab a map to explore the trails independently or join a hiking tour, a great way to make new friends with similar interests. A ride on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola provides easy access to the alpine trails on Whistler and Blackcomb too. If you want to hike on your own, these are some great options.
Located in Garibaldi Provincial Park, named for nearly 9,000-foot-tall Mount Garibaldi, the Elfin Lakes hike is ideal for those seeking a full-day jaunt at about 13 miles round trip.
It travels a well-maintained trail that starts by ascending through dense forest with a Red Heather Hut that includes a cooking counter, propane hot plate, sink, and picnic tables found about three miles in. Continuing on, you’ll wind through a ridge with awe-inspiring views of snow-capped peaks.
If you’re looking for something that won’t take up the entire day, consider the 5.6-mile Garibaldi Lake hike. It’s moderately challenging and showcases this jewel-like lake with water in deep, brilliant shades of turquoise.
After your trek, it’s a wonderful place for a refreshing dip. Abundant wildlife can be spotted too, like black and grizzly bears, along with bald eagles.
The Lost Lake Trail is practically in the heart of the village, perfect for those looking for an easy hike. If you’ve got little ones, you’ll appreciate that the path is smooth and fairly flat for strollers. You’ll walk through the forest to the lake to reach the half-mile loop that follows the shoreline before retracing your steps on the main trail to return to the trailhead.
On a hot summer’s day, the water is ideal for a cool swim. For those who want more mileage, there’s a vast network of multi-use trails throughout the area, some of which lead to breathtaking viewpoints.
For a big challenge, this steep trail leads directly up the side of Blackcomb Mountain as one of Whistler’s most difficult hikes, making your heart pound and turning your legs to jelly. It’s 3.8 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 3,773 feet, winding through multiple types of forest, passing giant old-growth trees and through flower-filled meadows.
The good news for those who don’t want to burn their knees out is that you can take the gondola back down.