Editor’s Note: This post was originally written by Vince Shuley in 2015 but has been updated in July 2022 to reflect current bike tour offerings in Whistler. Ride on.
Exploring Whistler on a bike with just a map or a GPS-enabled smartphone might be a perfect day’s adventure for some (Whistler.com even has an online trail database and map if it’s you!) but for riders looking to get straight to the best trails for their ability, there’s no better way than to jump on a tour and let a local guide show you around. Here’s a list of what’s available.
For the Sightseer
While Whistler has more than 200 trails throughout its valley, if you are looking to just soak in some views with minimal strain or speed then a sightseeing tour is exactly what the trail doctor ordered. Entry-level valley tours stick mainly to the paved Valley Trail and/or some machine-groomed trails around Lost Lake. These are guided rides that focus on the destination as much as the journey and are perfect for new visitors looking for some fresh air and checking out Whistler’s natural beauty such as old growth forests, lakes and views of surrounding alpine peaks. Tours are generally 2-3 hours with a family option available. More details.
Guests with fitness or mobility issues have options too. Electric Bikes give riders the added propulsion of a pedal-assisted electric motor. The harder you pedal, the more assistance the quiet and inconspicuous motor will lend. There are two and a half hour and five-hour guided tour options throughout Whistler Village and the wider Whistler Valley. E-Bike tour details.
Another great resource for self-guided bike tours is the free Go Whistler Tours app, which features a half-day bike ride to Creekside and an 11-kilometre Natural Wonders tour out to Green Lake. It’s free to download and has audio, so you can listen as you ride (obviously, be careful of other trail users as you go!).
For the Mountain Bike Initiate
You’ve got the cross-country (XC) bike. You’ve got some skills. Now all you need is some guidance to start shredding singletrack. With a trained guide leading the way and offering tips on technique and how to approach obstacles, XC tours offer mountain bike newbie a chance to start confidently cornering through the forest and attacking rock gardens!
These tours are also the best way to maximize your riding time, linking up the best trails without timely commutes or stopping to work out where you are. Tours can suit a range of different skill levels so be sure to let your booking agent know what you are interested in and go get some of that single track! More details.
Take a look at our Insider’s Guide to Cross-Country Biking for more ideas of where to go after your tour.
For the Gravity Inclined
If pedaling a mountain bike uphill isn’t your cup of tea, you’re in luck. Whistler boasts the largest and most legendary lift-serviced mountain bike park in the world, with trails that range from gentle cruising on Easy Does It to the adrenaline-inducing jumps on A-Line. Don’t let the full-face helmets and neck braces intimidate you though, the Whistler Bike Park welcomes thousands of beginners every season and they’ve focused a lot of their trail building this spring on ensuring there are trails available for every skill level.
The key to having fun and not shedding tears? That’s right, hiring a guide. Intro to Park is the introductory clinic for downhill never-evers, starting with the fundamentals of braking, cornering and balance position. As ability and confidence increases in the group, so does the level of trails.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Whistler Bike Park also offers special drop-in Women’s Nights for ladies looking to develop their skills without the interference of male counterparts (Men’s nights are on Tuesdays). More details.
For the Kids
Let’s face it, kids have WAY more fun when their parents aren’t around. The DFX Daily program is a great way to get kids riding and enjoying the social atmosphere, all in a controlled and supervised environment with a qualified instructor.
Accommodating all skill levels for ages 5 to 12 DFX lessons have launched the careers of some of Whistler’s best young local rippers. The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA) also offers Youth Dirt Camps until early September. Get more info on DFX lesson details.
For the Road Warrior
Big-time cycling events like RBC GranFondo are fuelling an already rapidly growing road cycling scene in Whistler and with stunning views throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor, the riding is definitely beautiful. Check out our route suggestions and consider joining the Whistler Cycling Club so you can join in on their weekly, club rides.
Guided biking tours are not the only way to ride your bike on the best trails in Whistler but they are a great way to tap into local knowledge and learn about the history and culture that has made this mountain town what it is today. Most guiding companies have rental helmets, pads and other gear available or can refer you to their preferred bike shop.
And remember, if you enjoyed your ride, don’t forget to tip your guide!
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