One of the many things that makes Whistler so special is the pristine natural environment and untamed wilderness that surrounds us. From hiking and sightseeing to backcountry tours, there are many ways to get up close and personal with Whistler’s flora and fauna .
Bears, cougars, deer, marmots, rabbits, birds, eagles and fish make their home in Whistler’s valley. In fact, the marmot (a rock-dwelling rodent), is what gave Whistler its name. Their shrill whistles warn other marmots of potential danger and their calls can be heard throughout Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains where they live.
The River of Golden Dreams
The River of Golden Dreams runs from the north end of Alta Lake to the south end of Green Lake and is a very popular canoe and kayak route under a lush canopy of trees. If you paddle quietly, you’ll see animals, reptiles and birds in their natural habitat.
Every spring, the snow melts and after a heavy rain, the waterfalls around Whistler pour out from mountain tops and cascade over giant cliffs. The following are the area’s finest:
- Alexander Falls are 14 km south of Whistler and then another 16 km west over the gravel Callaghan Forest Service Road. It’s well worth the effort to see this natural wonder.
- Brandywine Falls plunge 70 metres / 230 feet; it's a tremendous sight. Etched into a horseshoe, the falls are a magnificent piece of nature and worth the 15 minute walk no matter what the season. Yes, they are even beautiful in the cold of winter when ice and snow has covered all of its surrounding area. They are located about 20 minutes south of Whistler; watch for the Brandywine Provincial Park signs along the highway.
- Nairn Falls are 35 km north of Whistler; follow the signs to Nairn Falls Provincial Park and then hike in about half a km for a wonderful view.
- Shannon Falls are probably the most popular. About 10 minutes south of Squamish there's a park with picnic tables and a short walkway up to see this magnificent wall of water spray falling off the mountain. Watch for the signs along the highway; the stop is a popular one.
Get up close and personal with the majestic glaciers that surround Whistler. From glacier heli-hikes to heli-ski trips and helicopter tours , it’s easy to be on top of the world.
Garibaldi Provincial Park runs along Highway 99 (the Sea to Sky Highway) between Squamish and Pemberton. There are five access points and the trailheads are located anywhere from 2 km to 16 km off Highway 99. The Park offers canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, swimming, camping and winter recreation.