If you want to get outside and see everything that Whistler has to offer, but you don’t have either the time, the energy or the equipment for one of the big hikes, then here are 7 short, easy and popular hikes that can show you the best of Whistler, from turquoise lakes to crashing waterfalls, giant trees and a rusty old train wreck.
1. Ancient Cedars
This easy hike gradually works it’s way up through the forest on Cougar Mountain and into the midst of the giant ancient cedar trees. Drive or bike north out of the village, past Green Lake until you see the sign for Superfly on the left. It’s a public trail but keep an eye out for the ATV tours. Alternatively, drive an ATV to the ancient cedars instead!
2. Brandywine Falls
20 minutes south of Whistler is the trailhead for Brandywine Falls. It’s barely a hike, more of a short walk, as the 2km round trip takes half an hour. There is a lookout to watch the water take the 70-meter plunge to the ground below. It’s possible to make your way down to the base of the falls for an even better view.
3. Cheakamus Lake
If you’re not able to go on one of the more difficult lake hikes but still want to see the same beautiful scenery then Cheakamus Lake is perfect. Drive south of Whistler for 25 minutes on a long and bumpy logging road to reach the car park and trailhead. It’s an easy 3km trail to the first campsite at the edge of the lake where you can fish, float or just sit and relax and take in the views. It’s a further 4km to another campsite and another 2.5km of an unmaintained trail to the end of the lake.
4. Green Lake Lookout
Another easy hike that starts at the southern end of Green Lake. Simply follow the Lost Lake Trails into the forest until you see a trail that branches off to the left that will take you up a very steep hill to Green Lake Lookout, and eventually to Parkhurst Ghost Town, which we never found…
5. Nairn Falls
The trailhead is 20 minutes north of Whistler and it’s an easy 2.4km round trip to the lookout that has zero elevation as you walk through the forest along the Green River. This powerful double waterfall is impressive at any time of year as you watch the water get pushed through the narrow canyon, people have died here and you can see why. Further down the river you can sit by the water and watch the world go by.
6. The Chief
An hour south of Whistler is the town of Squamish. It’s kind of a big deal, it has a Walmart and a Tim Hortons. It’s also the location for the Stawamus Cheif hike. A moderately steep 11km round trip that takes you to the top of a huge lump of rock overlooking the town and surrounding mountains, all the way to the ocean.
There are three ‘peaks’, the first is up a very sketchy ladder. The second is a slightly less sketchy climb through tight crevices using chains and ropes, and the third is further up from there. All offer stunning views and even a few chipmunks to feed if you have snacks!
7. Whistler Train Wreck
This is a great hike to do if you have a few hours to spare. Just make your way down to Function Junction and follow the train tracks south, be careful as it’s not actually allowed and you could be fined. It’s an easy 1-3 hour 5km round trip and eventually, you will stumble across 7 train cars that ploughed into the forest decades ago and were left to rust. You can admire the impressive graffiti and bike park that covers the wreckage.
If you can think of any short hikes that can be added to the list let me know in the comment section below!
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