During our drive from the Rockies to Vancouver we decided to spend 3 days in Whistler in British Columbia, a small mountain village which hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 2010. Although quite touristy we really enjoyed hiking in the area and we had our closest encounter ever with a magical ice-blue glacier!
Finally we made the top of Wedgemount Glacier Trail - amazing views!
Accommodation can be a little bit pricey in Whistler and the village itself can be quite crowded not only with international visitors but also with locals, mainly coming from Vancouver which is only one hour away by car. Therefore, we opted for camping at Nairn Falls campground and we couldn’t pick a better spot – close to the beautiful Nairns Falls and to the tiny One Mile Lake which was our refreshing bath tub during our visit. This campground is also great if you want to avoid the big crowds around Whistler as it is logistically closer to Pemberton, a tiny village with a gas station, supermarkets and visitor centre with free Wi-Fi (very useful!).
Want to know more about camping in Canada? Read our blog post here
Camping at Nairn Falls Campground in Whistler area in British Columbia (Canada)
Three days have passed so fast and we tried to squeeze in as many hikes as possible – we walked two very simple but beautiful treks to impressive waterfalls, one recharging hike to placid Cheakamus Lake and the Wedgemount Lake trail was definitely the cherry on the pie!
Discover our posts on hiking in the Canadian Rockies - Banff & Lake Louise or Jasper?
NOTE – There are also amazing hikes from Whistler Village, particularly on Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain, however, all of them are accessible only by gondola and we found the pass for 3 days a little bit pricey. This was obviously our choice – our friends told us beautiful things about these hikes – we’ll save them for next time!
Can't get the eyes of the fabulous vista of the Wedgemount Glacier!
WEDGEMOUNT LAKE TRAIL
LENGTH: 14 km
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,220 m
DURATION: 6 hrs
Let’s start with this pearl in Garibaldi Provincial Park! This trail was definitely the hardest one we’ve done in Canada – with its 1,220 m elevation gain it has been a challenge both ascending and descending. For two good hours the trail makes its way up the forest, giving you little chance to rest as it’s all very steep and up roots and sandy terrain which turns into mud quite easily.
As soon as you head out of the tree line, you`ll be confronted by a rocky scramble which will test the last bits of strength in you – don`t give up! You`ll soon be greeted by stunning snowy peaks, a glacial light-blue lake, bright pink flowers, friendly marmots and a majestic blue glacier.
You can walk up to the toe of the glacier and look into its crevices and caves – however, it is not recommended to walk on the glacier as it is very unstable and dangerous, especially during Summer months (we saw a part of the glacier melting in the small lake in front of our glacier itself!).
Heading to the Yukon soon? Check our our favourite hikes there in our blog post here
Scrambling down Wedgemount Lake Trail
TIP – You can pitch your tent just in front of the glacier and sleep beneath these beautiful mountains and stars, waking up to the fresh air and marmot calling. You have to book your night in advance and then you can choose among one of the many wooden or rocky tent platforms along the walk to the glacier.
Click Here to find out the camping gear we use during our trips.
The placid Cheakamus lake and its beautiful reflections
CHEAKAMUS LAKE TRAIL
TYPE : Out-And-back
LENGTH: 14 km
ELEVATION GAIN: 78 m
DURATION: 4 -6 hrs return
This is a great walk to stretch your legs and relax on the shores of Cheakamus Lake, perfect for a picnic lunch. The elevation gain is minimal and you can choose to walk only part of the track until you reach the lake and then come back the same way – there is no particular view point as the trail is all at lake level.
TIP – Be prepared to drive 8 kilometers of logging road (unpaved) before reaching the parking slot where this hike begins. You can also spend the night camping along the lake at designated campgrounds for a wilderness camping experience.
Finding balance close to Nairn Falls Trail
NAIRNS FALLS TRAIL
TYPE : Out-And-back
DISTANCE: 2.4 km return
ELEVATION GAIN: Minimal
DURATION: 1 hr return
Save this short walk along the river inside the forest for a relaxing morning or afternoon break. Though a very easy trail, once you reach the falls you`ll be surprised by the wonderful view of this powerful waterfall, rushing through very narrow channels of rocky walls. The wooden platforms will allow you to take it all in and even feel the cold breeze coming from the waterfall crashing on the rocks.
A refreshing sight of Brandwyne Falls on a hot Summer day
BRANDWYNE FALLS TRAIL
TYPE : Out-And-back
DISTANCE: 1.5 km return
ELEVATION GAIN: 35 m
DURATION: 30 mins - 1 h return
Another very easy walk to combine to a visit of Whistler village on your arrival or departure day. It can be slightly crowded but the further you walk, the less people you meet. Take your time to read the interesting information boards about the area and once you cross the train tracks you will shortly reach the main viewpoint for the Brandywine Falls which are indeed a beautiful and refreshing sight! We even saw some people who descended down to the waterfall to look at them from below, however, we could not see any marked trail so it`s at your own risk. At the end of the trail you’ll reach a second viewpoint from where you can observe Daisy Lake below and Black Tusk emerging from the tree line.
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