Erratic: A glacial erratic is a piece of rock that has been carried by glacial ice, often hundreds of kilometres. Characteristic of their massive size and improbable looking placement.
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails
Some Hiking Trails in Whistler...
Brandywine Meadows is a nice, moderately difficult hike in a massive flower filled valley high up in the Callaghan Valley. Located 40 minutes south of Whistler, this tough and sometimes muddy trail gains a huge 550 metres of elevation in just 3k (trailhead to valley). The trail runs parallel to Brandywine Creek, which is steeply flowing, very loud and quite beautiful at various vantage points. After two kilometres on the Brandywine Meadows trail, the elevation gain levels off and you catch several alpine mountain peaks through the trees. And finally reaching the meadows, the amazing valley stretches into the distance, ending at the formidable mountains. In that grey and white mass of mountain peaks in the distance you will see Brandywine Mountain. A visible and well worn trail skirts the right edge of the valley leading to the rocky slopes that lead you to Brandywine Mountain. The trail, of course, gives way to the mess of boulders and erratics that make the beautiful, flower filled meadows below look all the more serene.Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek Campground it descends further along the Helm Creek Trail, until it joins the Cheakamus River not far from where it leaves Cheakamus Lake. Generally Taylor Meadows is not a destination, but part of a circle route. For example, trailhead to Taylor Meadows, Taylor Meadows to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, then return via Garibaldi Lake. This makes for a long hike at 30k, which is why tenting at this perfectly beautiful, and perfectly located Taylor Meadows Campsite, is a great idea. Trails run so abundant in Whistler that many go unnoticed, neglected or taken for granted. The Flank Trail is one of these. Most people in Whistler don't even know about it, but the ones that do, love it. Officially known as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, it runs the length of Whistler Valley, opposite Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Flanking both these enormous mountains, the Flank Trail is the inspiration for an ever-growing number of trails that run to it, from it, and across it. From the Callaghan Valley, far south of Whistler, near Whistler Olympic Park it begins(or ends). It then stretches 40 kilometres along the flank of the massive and sprawling Mount Sproatt, then Rainbow Mountain, where it finally terminates near Ancient Cedars and Showh Lakes. Whistler is packed with tremendously beautiful hiking trails. Whistler, as a resort community, is only decades old but the enormous number of hiking trails is staggering. The huge number of trails ensures that most remain sparsely hiked and incredibly diverse. You can find hikes with majestic waterfalls, enormous glaciers, heart pounding summits, impossibly blue lakes, and fantastic views. Lots of fantastic views. Two hikes listed below even have user maintained huts that are free to use by anyone. It is of course difficult to narrow a top 5 list down to only five hikes out of so many wonderful hikes. Black Tusk tops the list mainly for the its extraordinary view and its incredible geology. It is constantly amazing. From its crumbling sides to its alarmingly dangerous looking approach, you can't help but marvel at everything about this mountain. And standing on its summit, you stare down at everything. Recalling how impossibly steep the sides look from every angle, you can barely believe it when you reach the top. Another wonderful aspect of the Black Tusk is simply the hike itself. It is really three hikes in one as you can hike to Garibaldi Lake on the way and Taylor Meadows on the return journey. Both of these hikes are worthy destinations on their own, but combined with Black Tusk are incredible. The roundtrip hike, trailhead to trailhead for Black Tusk is 30k. Wedgemount Lake comes in the top 5 here as it is such a wonderful alpine hiking paradise. There is a perfect turquoise lake, a nice, free hut to use, tent platforms everywhere you look and all with jaw dropping views from all of them. There are several great hikes that emanate from the lake and the Wedgemount Glacier is easily accessible. Cirque Lake is also so far off the radar that it remains infrequently hiked and almost always a serene paradise far from humanity. Panorama Ridge has to be included on a top 5 list for hiking for Whistler. The hike is beautiful and challenging and the views from the ridge are unbelievable. You can see in all directions and Garibaldi Lake far below is impossibly blue. Panorama Ridge stretches for over a kilometre then descends down the valley, finally reaching Garibaldi Lake. Once in a while you see a tent at the far end of Panorama Ridge and it immediately brings to mind the thought... Where on earth could you find a better tent view? In Whistler, evidently, there are plenty of contenders. Certainly a testament to the wonderful hiking around Whistler is the runners up for this list. Joffre Lakes and Rainbow Lake are not on this list. Joffre is a bit far at over an hour to the trailhead from Whistler, but it is marvellously beautiful. You would be hard pressed to find a more incredibly coloured lake. The turquoise colour is extraordinary at Joffre Lakes. Rainbow Lake is a great hike as well. The trail on the way to the lake is quite beautiful. You see several waterfalls, two impressive bridges, and an unexpectedly wonderful meadow on the way to the picture-perfect lake. As Rainbow Lake is Whistlers water supply, camping, swimming and dogs are prohibited, so that weighs on its attractiveness as a hiking destination. It does, however have trails that extend in two directions beyond Rainbow Lake. If you take the trail that ascends to the right you will quickly arrive at a beautifully desolate landscape of huge erratics. This brutal looking scree field descends from Rainbow Mountain. A challenging and marked route gives way to a very challenging and unmarked final ascent to Rainbow Mountain's summit.