Post Holing: difficult travel through deep snow where feet sink.
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. The location of Helm Creek Campground is pretty amazing for a variety of reasons. First it is just a great location. About halfway between Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around. Amazing fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk well into July. Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you look from the idyllic campground. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek. What you always want from a campground is a convenient and clean water source and of course Helm Creek is both. Taylor Meadows is a beautiful campsite and alternative to the much busier Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in between Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk itself. It is reached from the same trailhead to Garibaldi Lake. There are 40 very nice tent platforms, toilets, a good water source and a food cache, all in the lush forest of Taylor Meadows with the distant view of Black Tusk. The hike is a relaxing 7.5k through a deep, big tree forest. The first half is a series of switchbacks and then the thick forest gives way to Taylor Meadows. The grassy meadows open up the view of snowy mountains and the spectacular Black Tusk just a couple kilometres away. 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. The hike to Wedgemount Lake is only 7k, trailhead to lake and only takes about two hours to hike but the elevation gain is huge, so you'd better be in good shape. Wedgemount Lake is 14k roundtrip, trailhead to trailhead. Russet Lake is another amazing hike listed here that has a hut free to use by anyone. Russet Lake is usually accessed via the Whistler Gondola then hiking via the Musical Bumps Trail or the High Note Trail, then Musical Bumps Trail. Either way the views are incredible. Russet Lake is located in a wonderful, usually snow filled valley and just like Wedgemount Lake, there are amazing hikes in all directions. Cirque Lake enters the list here for many reasons. Its remote feel, its difficult though, short trail is quite an adventure. It requires canoeing to its trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake, which is a wonderful way to start a hike. Cirque Lake is a beautiful and compact world. The cirque that the lake exists in shuts the world out and the invariably mirrored surface of the lake reflects the mountains and clouds hypnotically. 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.