Know Before You Go: Whistler’s Hike and Bike Trails

Man standing on a fallen cedar tree in Whistler

Know Before You Go: Whistler’s Hike and Bike Trails

Updated September 11, 2020

Although adventure in the mountains still beckons, Whistler is changing its pace so we can all explore confidently, openly and mindfully, and we need you in this with us.

Here’s our Insider’s Guide to Whistler’s trail options for hikers, bikers and runners, to keep you exploring safely.

Sunrise Paddle on Alta Lake in Whistler

Same place – a new perspective. Watching the sunrise on Alta Lake. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Whistler Trail Etiquette 2.0

  • Stay home if you’re sick, the trails aren’t going anywhere, we promise
  • Keep at least a two-metre distance (that’s a touch longer than a bike or pair of skis) from others outside of your normal “unit” – granted, some of our trails are narrow, have patience and if you’re stepping aside look for a rock or bare spot to stand on (nature thanks you)
  • We know you’ve spent a lot of time with them lately, but stay within your unit / family
  • Ride and hike within your ability, we’re still at a point where we don’t want to put added pressure on our health care system, so try that nemesis rock roll another day
  • Bylaw Officers and Parks and Trails Ambassadors are out and about to remind people about physical distancing. They are there to help everyone have a positive experience, so say hi and shoot them an air high five.

For more COVID-19 information visit Whistler.com/covid.

Suggestions and Tips

  • Know before you go – check what’s open and have a Plan B in case the area you’ve chosen is busy. To avoid this, consider heading out early in the morning or in the later afternoon.
  • Wash your hands often and pack hand sanitizer for longer trips
  • Go before you go. Public washrooms are open but are high-touch areas, so minimize their use when you can
  • As tempting as it is to chat about the upcoming adventure, don’t congregate at trailheads or in parking lots
  • Be courteous and kind to others – everyone has their own version of what is and isn’t safe right now, give people space, a smile, a wave and the benefit of the doubt
  • Always pack out what you pack in, and if the garbage is full take it home with you
  • If you’re planning on going further afield then remember to have a plan and AdventureSmart.

Walks and Rides on the Mild Side

Family walking the Valley Trail in Whistler

A leisurely stroll with the fam jam. PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA

First posted in May last year, we did a round up of some of the mellower walks around Whistler that utilized our incredible 40-kilometre Valley Trail, weaving past lakes, beaches and parks. This post has some great suggestions if you’re after a cruisy walk or bike in the sunshine or if you’re visiting in the fall, check out this post on the changing of the seasons, Insider’s Guide: Finding Fall Colours on Whistler’s Trails. Pack some snacks, water, hand sanitizer and get out there!

There are a lot more e-bikes about these days and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has some guidelines in place for their usage. Class 1 pedal-assisted e-bikes are allowed on the Valley Trail and most off-road trails with some exceptions like, Mount Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain alpine trails and Emerald Forest Conservation Area.

Just like when you ride a normal bike, the same trail etiquette is applied, you have to be in control, watch your speed (especially around kids and dogs) and stick to the right-hand side of the trail, alerting other users when you pass on the left. If you haven’t tried an e-bike then you can rent one or take a tour.

Hiking

Some of our favourite hiking routes are around Lost Lake and Cheakamus River, as well as the Train Wreck and Ancient Cedars. If you’re looking for something more challenging, check out the suggestions in this post, although bear in mind the season, Adventure Differently: Hike in Whistler This Summer. Be aware of the wildlife in higher alpine areas and always pack out what you pack in.

Note that the RMOW and Whistler’s Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA) work on the trails throughout the season, so some trails might be closed for maintenance. Respect the work they’re doing to make the trails better for everyone, read the signage and give them the space they need.

Man standing on a fallen cedar tree in Whistler

The incredible Ancient Cedars trail. PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA

Not sure what you need to pack in your bag? Insider Penny Buswell put together a handy hiking essentials list. We also have a stunning 360-degree video that takes you through some of these mellower hiking options, great viewing if you’re not able to join us in-person just yet.

To check if the Provincial Park you’re planning to visit is open, take a look at the BC Parks website.

Mountain Biking Tips

Make sure your bike is serviced and ready to go (most bike shops in Whistler are open for maintenance), check Trailforks for which trails are clear and open, and stick to the path. Check this gear post out for what to bring with you, Planning and Packing for a Whistler Bike Trip.

A mountain biker admires the views over Whistler Mountain from the West Side trails.

Westside features stunning views of Alta Lake, Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain. PHOTO OLLIE JONES PHOTOGRAPHY

You can even join WORCA for a Virtual Toonie Ride. Register for free / by donation online and then look at the Trailforks app for details on which trails you need to ride to obtain that week’s badge (you’re also entered to win prizes).

Whistler Mountain Bike Trails for Beginners

Even if you’re not a beginner rider, now is not the time to be sending it on the black runs. This series of posts on cross-country biking in Whistler was put together by local riders Hailey Elise and Ollie Jones, and it features beginner to expert riding options for all over Whistler Valley.

Biking Central Scrutinizer at Lost Lake.

A tight corner situated right at exit of Central Scrutinizer, or is it the entrance? You decide.

If you’re coming in the spring or fall, make sure you check which trails are open and prepare for “tacky” dirt and muddy pants.

Remember to give other riders space and be patient – you might find more bikers on the green and blue trails than usual, so ride safe and share the two-wheel love!

These Trails Don’t Build Themselves – How to Get Involved

Regardless of whether you believe in trail fairies or trail builders, the mountain bike trails around Whistler didn’t magically appear. In fact, hundreds of hours go into building and maintaining the trails each year. Learn more about how you can support the Whistler trails, get the latest trail updates and connect with the biking community over at Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA).

Whistler Running Routes

Looking for some scenic running loops in Whistler? Check out this post for different route ideas and even some local music suggestions, Insider’s Guide: Whistler Running Routes and Tunes.

A runner weaves through the trees in Whistler.

Running in the forests of Whistler. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Stay tuned to our social media channels and check Whistler.com for an up-to-date report on what’s open. We hope to see you soon!

Dee Raffo

Dee Raffo

You can often find Dee exploring all Whistler has to offer with her three-kid tribe in tow. Originally from the UK, Dee enjoys balancing out high-thrills adventures with down-time basking in the beauty of the wonderful place she now calls home.

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