Run to the Hills: 5 Whistler Running Routes
Updated February 2020 with new dates and names.
Guest Blogger: Taylor Godber
The word “Vacation” originally stems from late middle English (via Old French and Latin) and the root meaning is “to be unoccupied.” For Whistler visitors that means a chance to seek out new adventures at a leisurely pace, but the mountains are also a great place to keep up your daily exercise routine—especially if that routine includes a run.
The Whistler valley is host to over 40 kilometers (24.9 miles) of paved trails (the Valley Trail network) plus a multitude of dirt routes, all of which wind you through beautiful neighborhoods, lakes, rivers, and mountains. Combined with our altitude (675 meters / 2,214 feet), Whistler running routes definitely deliver that full-chested exhale and sense of accomplishment that will only add to your vacation relaxation (and a little more spice to your city/treadmill routine).
Below are 5 mapped-out routes for those seeking refuge from the confines of a hotel gym. Whether your training regime is aimed towards a local marathon, an open time slot in your busy schedule, a desire to beat your colleagues at your lunchtime run at work, or just a chance to get out and enjoy nature. Whistler has you covered.
1. Whistler Golf Club Loop
Distance: 4.5 km
Terrain: Paved with a couple of hills.
Start at the Valley Trail entrance at the Whistler Golf Club right next to the Village. Head right to take on the hill at the beginning or head left for the loop and tackle the hill at the end. Double it up for a 10km and be prepared to see some bears hanging out on the golf course.
2. Lost Lake Loop
Distance:: 4 km
Terrain: Unpaved with a couple very gradual hills.
Lost Lake is not that hard to find. Start at the Nordic Ski trailhead at the PassivHaus, just outside the Village. This one is an early morning favorite. First light on the lake is beautiful and stopping for a swim is definitely recommended in the summer months.
3. Village to Nita Lake Return
Distance: 8 km
Terrain: Paved with lots of hills.
One of the more challenging runs in town. Start at Whistler Golf Club Valley Trail entrance and head to your left (south). Follow the signs to Whistler Creekside and continue down to Nita Lake Lodge. This route takes you along Alta lake and offers good opportunities to stop and jump in the water at Lakeside Park and Wayside Park. Grab a coffee or breakfast at Nita Lake Lodge to break up the run and refuel for the return trip.
4. Village to Emerald Estates Return
Distance: 17 km
Terrain: Paved with a couple of gradual hills.
Simple, scenic and great for a sunset run. Start at Whistler Golf Club and head to the right (north). Rather than turning left for the Golf Course loop go straight, cross the bridge and turn right to head towards Meadow Park. Once there, cross the highway towards the Whistler Secondary School and keep on the trail that follows along Green Lake to enjoy stellar views of Whistler, Blackcomb, Wedge Mountain and the Armchair glacier. Once the trail ends, turn around and head back the way you came but this time do not cross the road at Meadow Park. Instead follow the signs on the east side of the highway for a new route back to Whistler Village.
5. The Scenic Long Haul
Terrain: Paved and unpaved with hills.
This run is good for those who like to be distracted while running as it passes by three beautiful lakes in Whistler – Lost Lake, Green Lake, and Alta Lake – as well as two golf courses – Nicklaus North and Whistler Golf Course. Start at PassiveHaus and turn left at Lost Lake. Continue past Proposal Point (look for young lovers!) and take your next left. Continue straight. Follow the path down to the left towards Nicklaus North Golf Course. Cross the train tracks and run out along the golf course. Continue on the path to the boardwalk on Green Lake. At the end of the boardwalk head north towards the traffic lights at Alpine Meadows/Alpine Cafe. Cross the street, head back south on the Valley Trail towards Meadow Park and follow the trail signs towards Alta Lake. The trail runs parallel to the River of Golden Dreams and some really nice wetlands. At the trail fork continue right towards Rainbow Park then turn left off of Alta Lake Road towards Eva Lake Park. Continue on the path to Village. This run ends at Whistler Golf Course and the cold drinks available on the clubhouse patio (you earned it).
These routes are a just a few of the great running options so don’t be afraid to head out and discover your own. Grab a Whistler map and lots of friendly advice at the Whistler Visitor Centre and keep yourself occupied this vacation.
- Hit up the We Run Whistler Facebook Page for current clinics or a chance to meet local runners.
- If you prefer to get off road, check out this post for ideas for trail running routes.
- When the rainy days arrive The Core Whistler has got you covered with cross-training and spin classes.
- The Whistler Half Marathon lands in June and is the first big running event of summer – but there’s running events throughout the year – stay tuned to our running page to see the events as they are added, or check out our races and challenges blog to get a taste of all the fitness events on the go.