Alpine Zone Glossary of Hiking Terms
Alpine Zone or Alpine Tundra: the area above the treeline, often characterized by stunted, sparse forests of krummholz and pristine, turquoise lakes. The Sproatt Alpine is an excellent example of an alpine zone in Whistler. Dozens of alpine lakes, rugged and rocky terrain and hardy krummholz trees everywhere you look. The hostile, cold and windy climate in the alpine zones around Whistler make tree growth difficult. Added to that, the alpine areas are snow covered the majority of the year. Other good places to explore alpine zones in Whistler are Wedgemount Lake, Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler Mountain, Black Tusk and Callaghan Lake. Click the image below to see an aerial video of the incredible alpine zone around Russet Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Click the image below to see and aerial video of the beautiful alpine zone that encompasses Wedgemount Lake. Located within sight of Whistler Village, Wedge Mountain is the highest mountain in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Just a relatively short, 7 kilometre hike takes you to this mountain paradise of impossibly turquoise water and jagged mountain peaks all around. The shortness of the hike to Wedgemount Lake lulls hikers into thinking it is an easy trail. The elevation gain, however is a staggering 1220 metres in this short distance. If you are very fit and unburdened with a heavy backpack, you may get to the lake in 1.5 hours. If you are carrying gear, however, you can easily double this time.
The Wedgemount Lake trail is easy to follow and well marked, but it follows a constant and unrelenting, steep ascent to the end. If you pack light, you will often pass a few hikers who didn't. The tough trail makes arriving at this paradise in the mountains very rewarding and shows you a great example of an alpine zone in Whistler.
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails
Whistler Aerial Views Whistler Hiking Trails
Callaghan Lake Provincial Park up in the Callaghan Valley south of Whistler, is an often overlooked but beautiful and easily accessible mountain lake. First impressions are important, and when you arrive at Callaghan Lake, the first thing you see is the main campground. It looks more like a large gravel parking lot, which it pretty much is. So, most visitors to Callaghan Lake don't rate it too highly. When you take a look a bit further and see the lake, the views get a bit better. But still the place is mediocre at best.
What you need to do is get out on the lake or hike along the easy-to-miss hiking trail that runs along the right side shore(if standing at the main parking/campsite area). Once you get some distance between you and the main campsite area, Callaghan Lake becomes spectacular. Surrounded by pristine wilderness and snowy mountains beyond, the lake is crystal clear and the shores are wonderfully devoid of humanity. With a little effort you can find some amazing places to put up a tent, like this one on a little paradise island near the far shore.
A perfect campsite on a beautiful June day in Whistler. Only two of humans for several kilometres, but four bears spotted in the area.