March Hiking Whistler's Best Hikes By Month
Average low and high valley temps in Whistler in March range from -3c to 8c (27f/46f)
March is one of the nicest months for snowshoeing in Whistler. The days get considerably longer and warmer, yet snow falls almost daily. In March of 2012, over four metres of snow fell. With some sunny days mixed into these heavy snowfall days, makes March something amazing.
in North Vancouver is a fantastic snowshoeing day trip from Whistler. It only takes about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the snowshoeing trailhead at Cypress Mountain Ski Resort. With all the services available there, you would expect there to be parking and trail use charges, but there are none for the Hollyburn Mountain trail. You can park metres from the trailhead for free and if you don't have snowshoes rent them there for quite a good price.
There are a couple other good Vancouver snowshoeing options, such as , more difficult and longer than Hollyburn and the trailhead is located close to the Hollyburn trailhead. Dog Mountain and Suicide Bluffs are great in March as well. The trailhead is located at the Seymour Ski Resort in Vancouver.
If you are not too into snowshoeing, the Lighthouse Trail in Vancouver is amazing, and snow free year-round and only, just over an hours drive from Whistler. It has an amazing array of trails that run through a beautiful and deep rainforest with several beautiful ocean vantage points. The hiking trails run from 2k to 10k in distance so you can make the hike as short or as long as you want. Take a look at the best places to see on the way too or from Vancouver and Whistler here..
Closer to Whistler in Squamish is the trailhead to Elfin Lakes. If you have not done this hike you should make a point to do it soon. It is amazing, relatively easy and will amazing views high up in the mountains of Garibaldi Park. There is a popular ski route that goes from the Elfin Lakes Hut, past Garibaldi Lake called the Garibaldi Neve Traverse, that an increasing number of hikers do on snowshoes. Elfin Lakes snowshoeing is on the cover of Whistler's Ultimate Hiking Guide, April 2012.
Back in the deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options. If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have to, it's a must see. An incredible 50 year old train wreck, turned art exhibit, turned bike park. It is an amazing surreal world hidden just a couple hundred metres from the busy Sea to Sky Highway, running along the spectacular Cheakamus River.
The Garibaldi Lake area is fantastic in March. The lake is frozen over and the hike across the lake leads to an amazing hut at the far end which is available to use by anyone, though there is a small fee requested by the good people that help maintain it.
Other amazing places to snowshoe in Whistler are the Rainbow Trail overlooking Alta Lake, the Rainbow Park Trail on the shores of Alta Lake, with amazing views across to Whistler, Blackcomb and Wedge Mountains. Rainbow Falls is an easy and beautiful trail up to the crashing Rainbow Falls that you can reach out and touch.
On very snowy days, the Whistler Golf Course is a beautiful and very easy and relaxing place to snowshoe with nice views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains as well as a nice little old growth giant cedar forest at one end.
For a list of the best, easiest and free places to snowshoe in Whistler check here... And for more difficult, longer and beautiful snowshoeing places check here...
The various hot springs near Whistler are also great destinations in April. Skookumchuck Hot Springs is open year-round and the two hour drive to reach it is really part of the fun. It is a beautiful drive through Pemberton, Mount Currie and along the beautiful and massive Lillooet Lake and Lillooet River. Sloquet Hot Springs is an hours drive past Skookumchuck and extraordinarily beautiful and desolate.
Though gaining popularity, the remoteness almost guarantees no one there but you on a typical April day. You can normally drive right to the Sloquet Hot Springs, but lingering snow on the unmaintained logging road may be too deep so always be prepared to hike up to 8 kilometres if needed from your car to the campsite. Though bumpy and with lots of potholes, the road to Skookumchuck and Sloquet are still drive-able with all types of cars.
April is also a great month to see some of the fantastic waterfalls in and around Whistler. Brandywine, Nairn, Rainbow and Alexander Falls are all within a short drive and with easy hikes to them, accessible year-round. Shannon Falls is also a must see, year-round sight in Squamish if you have the time on your drive by.
Nairn Falls is great for snowshoeing/hiking in March north of Whistler
Nairn Falls, located just 20 minutes north of Whistler Village is a nice, relaxing hiking/snowshoeing trail to a nicely constructed viewing area in the midst of Nairn Falls. The popular trail is actually hike-able year-round, so you most likely will not need your snowshoes unless there has been lots of snow just before you go. The nice trail runs along Green River for 1.2k. The trail is well marked and doesn't gain any significant elevation, making it a very easy, kid friendly trail. The viewing area is located within a bend in the falls/river and the churning waters rushes around where you stand, far below. The water crashes through deep cuts in the rock and rushes into deep, green pools. There is a wonderful sign depicting how the area was formed over thousands of years. A short side trail from the main viewing area takes you over to an abrupt edge, where you can look down on the Green River below. Railings have been constructed as a precaution to prevent people falling off the cliffs. Nairn Falls is one of several amazing waterfalls in the Whistler area that can be seen year-round. Other waterfalls in the area include, Rainbow Falls near Whistler Village, Alexander Falls and Brandywine Falls, both about 30-40 minutes south of Whistler.
Why should you snowshoe/hike to Nairn Falls?
Nairn Falls is a relaxing and constantly interesting and beautiful hike. Very kid friendly and makes for a nice escape from Whistler. Close to Pemberton, a great little town that lays in a beautiful glacial valley just a ten minute drive past Nairn Falls.
Rainbow Falls is a great for snowshoe hike in March in Whistler
Rainbow Falls is a fantastic way go get yourself into some deep snow quickly from Whistler Village. The trailhead is located just a couple hundred metres from Rainbow Park on Alta Lake which is another great place to snowshoe in Whistler. The Rainbow Falls trailhead is the same as the Rainbow Lake trailhead, located halfway along Alta Lake Road on the far side of Alta Lake. The Rainbow Falls Trail is short, varied and relatively easy. This well used trail never goes in a straight line and goes up and down through a beautiful and deep forest. There are no signs to Rainbow Falls and you will just see signs for Rainbow Lake and Madely Lake. To find Rainbow Falls you just follow the Rainbow Lake trail from the trailhead for about a half kilometre until you reach the water treatment building (Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source). Just before the building the trail forks. Take the right fork which branches off of the Rainbow Lake trail. Within a couple minutes you will hear the falls. There is a bridge that goes over the river where you can see some of the falls. But further along, without crossing the bridge, you will come to the falls and end of the Rainbow Falls trail. This area is fairly popular even in Winter so the well marked trail is easy to follow and the snow on the trail usually well packed down. Some parts are steep, but the shortness of the trail makes it suitable as a family snowshoeing trail.
Why should you snowshoe/hike to Rainbow Falls?
Rainbow Falls is just 15 minutes from Whistler Village and is an easy trail through some very wild and deep forests. You can get close enough to touch the falls. Though they are not large, they stretch for some distance and can be viewed from various vantage points. Try to pick a sunny day as the trail reflects the light magnificently and you feel as if you are in a winter wonderland, which of course you are.
Rainbow Lake is a very challenging snowshoe trail in March
Rainbow Lake is a tough and beautiful snowshoeing trail 8k, high up in the mountains across the valley from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The trail is generally well marked and easy to follow, however some sections are tricky to follow as the heavy snow bends the bushes down obscuring the trail. The trail is a constant, fairly steep ascent and you may notice ski tracks along the route. A somewhat popular skiing attraction in Whistler is to get heli-dropped on Rainbow Mountain and skiing back to Whistler. Rainbow Falls is a nice detour near the beginning of the Rainbow Lake trail. When you come to the small water purification building you will see a distinct fork in the trail and a sign directing you to Rainbow Lake turn left. If you go right however, in just a few hundred metres you will come to the beautiful Rainbow Falls as well as a nice picturesque bridge over the river. You of course have to backtrack to get back to the Rainbow Lake trail. Though Rainbow Lake is only 8k from the trailhead, on snowshoes it will likely take nearly four hours to get there. You can snowshoe around up there for quite a while so you have to be careful with the time as in the winter the sun goes down before 5pm. The Rainbow Mountain trailhead is easy and close to Whistler Village. You just need to drive to Alta Lake Road on the far side of Alta Lake, just a 15 minute drive away. There is a big sign for the Rainbow Lake trailhead on your right if coming from the neighbourhood of Alpine. The trailhead is about 200-300 metres from the Rainbow Park parking lot.
Why should you snowshoe/hike to Rainbow Lake?
Rainbow Lake is a tough but rewarding snowshoe hike through a thick and beautiful forest. There are several viewpoints looking across the valley to Wedge, Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains as well as Whistler Village. It certainly is a good idea to combine this snowshoeing hike with a look at Rainbow Park and Rainbow Falls as both are nearby.
Rainbow Park is a very easy snowshoe or walking trail in March in Whistler
Rainbow Park is one of the hugely popular swimming beaches in Whistler in the summer. In the winter it is a spectacular vantage point across Alta Lake to Whistler and Blackcomb. The beautiful, artistic ski run lines snake down the mountains and by December Alta Lake is usually completely frozen. Hockey games occur at various spots on the lake and the Valley Trail leading to and from Rainbow Park is buried in snow and unplowed all winter. When the heavy snow of December comes, the valley trail becomes a snowshoeing and cross country ski trail. It can still be hiked, but once you reach Rainbow Park you will be knee deep in snow. The piers so well used in summer are frozen in place and, like everything else are buried in snow. Rainbow Park is a very easy, less than 1 kilometre trail from the parking area at the dead end of Lorimer Rd to the park. It is a relaxing trail that doesn't change in elevation. It runs for a while along the River of Golden Dreams then crosses the river on a cute little bridge giving you your first view of Alta Lake. Just past the bridge on your left you can walk to a viewing platform over the lake. Back on the trail it is just another five minutes to Rainbow Park at the wonderfully beautiful setting on Alta Lake.
Why should you snowshoe/hike to Rainbow Park?
Rainbow Park is fantastic anytime of the year. Easy to snowshoe, easy to get to, and beautiful, very beautiful. It is also very close to the Village and about as family friendly of a snowshoe/hike as you can get. Just a 5 minute drive from Whistler Village to the end of Lorimer Rd and the free parking next to the Valley Trail which runs in three directions from here. Rainbow Park, Whistler Golf Course and Meadow Park all can be reached from this three-way trailhead. There is no camping fees in the winter and you will likely have the whole valley to yourselves.