Whistler Hiking – An Introduction
The repetition of hiking, placing one foot in front of the next over unfamiliar terrain, transforms the simple act of walking into something much more. Hiking is great exercise for the body but it also allows the mind to slow down and decompress. Hiking occurs at such a slow pace that one can’t help but connect to the landscape and forget about things like the cell phones or schedules of our regular lives. Hiking is physical exertion that soothes the mind and spirit. And the views ain’t too shabby either.
The awesome thing about hiking in Whistler is the sheer number of trail options and the incredible scenery that can be accessed by hikers of any skill level. Celebrated Whistler author and globetrotting journalist Leslie Anthony describes it like this:
“The problem with hiking around Whistler is the views are so numerous and of such grandeur that it’s often hard to keep your eye on the trail. Fortunately, the generosity of nature’s palette in Sea to Sky country means that no matter how often you look down to watch your step you’re bound to catch something new on glancing back up: the icy blue teeth of a hanging glacier; the black cone of an extinct volcano; the emerald spire of an ancient cedar, the turquoise mirror of an alpine lake; a white snowfield painted on grey peaks; or a meadow splattered Jackson Pollack-style in wildflowers.”
With 18 hiking trails based on Whistler and Blackcomb alone, as well as numerous others positioned throughout the valley and along highway 99, Whistler is definitely one of British Columbia’s premier hiking base camps. So we’ve put together a list of some of the area’s true classics, focusing on difficultly level and time commitment.
Check out the Online Trails Database for a more complete look at Whistler’s trails or hit up Whistler.com to book a guide. As well, all the maps and plenty of helpful, up-to-the-minute information (some trails have snow on them right into August) can always be found at the Visitor Info Centre near the Whistler Taxi Loop.
You can live a lifetime in this valley and never run out of hiking options, but here a few good places to start.
Check out this Lost Lake XC Ski Trail map for more info on what the area looks like.
For a better look at the hikes on Whistler and Blackcomb check out this handy map.
A good map of the Rainbow trail can be found here.
For serious Whistler hikers the best online resource is Whistler Hiatus, a site with great photos, maps and all the info you need.
In the meantime, check out this video featuring scenery and vistas available from some of the hikes on Whistler Blackcomb and start planning your next foray into the wilds. See ya on the trail.