Best Hiking Guide: Whistler Visitor Centre
The Internet has revolutionized how people get “beta” for various hikes and wilderness adventures but there’s no substitute for real human experience and a personal touch.
As an agent at the Whistler Visitor Centre, Janice Tedstone’s job is sharing real, first hand knowledge of Whistler. And hiking is her specialty.
“Cheakamus Lake trail is probably pretty close to ready,” Janice says when we pop in. “In my experience the road is usually not accessible until about May 1.”
LEFT: Janice at the Whistler Visitor Centre. RIGHT: On the trail, where Janice conducts research for visitors.
Janice’s “experience” includes over 20 years of hiking in the Whistler area and as a member of the Alpine Club of Canada’s Whistler chapter, she can tap into the knowledge of the entire community. But, Janice admits, nothing beats first-hand information. “I’m out there every week all summer long,” she says, “and I encourage all my colleagues to get out there too.”
All Whistler Visitor Centre staff are hired for their knowledge and passion for the area. From restaurant deals to the best place to camp to exactly how long a jet boat tour lasts, there are not many questions the “local detectives” at the Visitor Centre can’t find an answer for. And for real-time, up-to-date hiking conditions this really is the best resource in town.
With that in mind we asked Janice to go over some of her favourite hiking options for the upcoming summer season:
Early Season Hike
“My favourite is the Whistler Interpretive Forest,” Janice says. “It’s good to go this time of year, no snow. You can spend three hours and go up the river over the bridge and up to Loggers Lake.”
Day Hike (Summer Season)
“Definitely Garibaldi Lake because most people don’t need much technical aptitude as the trail is really established. It’s a good distance, about 6 hours, and the lake is an incredible destination but the Barrier lakes are a nice build up. If you do the loop up around Black Tusk that adds time but the wildflowers are unreal. The flowers are usually best late July to early August.”
Overnight Hike (after Mid-May)
“Cheakamus Lake is a really good one if you don’t want to carry a heavy pack while gaining elevation. You can drive up to the parking lot and then it’s 4 KM in to the first camp spot, which is wilderness camping but there is a food cache which everyone should use (Insider Note: Always be bear aware!). Or if you hike 7 KM out to Singing Creek there is a really pretty camp spot, the whole hike has limited elevation gain so it’s good for families.”
On-Mountain (Summer Season)
“The High Note trail on Whistler for sure, but the Decker Loop hike on Blackcomb has some of the best wildflowers of all the on-mountain hikes. It’s not as long as the High Note either.”
Whistler Hiking Tips
“Remember you are hiking in the mountains and weather can change. The old saying is ‘Plan for a day but prepare for a night.’ Remember the 10 Essentials including extra food, water, warm clothes. And take out what you take in. Even tissue or an apple core, sure it will biodegrade but not very quickly, until then it’s litter.”
Janice, and all the Whistler Visitor Centre agents have really awesome info papers that highlight all the Whistler hiking trailheads with valuable information about each hike. The Visitor Centre is in the taxi loop in Whistler Village, stop in and say hi before you head out.