Whistler & Garibaldi Park in March Hiking & Snowshoeing 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.
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 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. This 16 kilometre roundtrip snowshoe trail takes you deep into the wilderness beyond Whistler. In March, the trail is usually a metre or two deep with snow and once you reach the alpine, the views open up to reveal Black Tusk. You can vary the route to or from Taylor Meadows to include Garibaldi Lake, which will be frozen. The area is popular with skiers and split-boarders all winter so the trail will be packed down and easy to follow. Just the sheer distance you need to snowshoe makes Taylor Meadows very difficult. In minus -5c weather in deep snow, 16 kilometres feels like 30k. As long as you are prepared for bitterly cold weather and have the right gear, you will love Taylor Meadows in March. Getting close to Black Tusk, blanketed in snow is amazing to see and well worth the exertion. Other amazing places to snowshoe in Whistler are the 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. 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... Trail. Rainbow Park is located just across from the trailhead to Rainbow Falls, Rainbow Lake and the Flank Trail. The year-round parking for Rainbow Park is just a couple hundred metres past the "Rainbow Trail" parking area at the edge of Alta Lake Road. Rainbow Park is a must see place in Whistler, especially in January. In January Alta Lake is frozen solid, usually a hockey game is being played somewhere on the lake and the views are beautiful. Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are best seen from here. Just far enough to take them both in at once, yet still close enough to easily make out the ski runs in the daytime and the bright lights from the snow groomers at night. Just a 10 minute drive from Whistler Village and a 1 minute walk from your car to the lake and beautiful sights.
Across from Rainbow Park is another great Whistler park. Blueberry Park and the Blueberry Trail lay hidden in the forest of Blueberry Hill. The park has three nice wharves on Alta Lake that you may be able to make out from Rainbow Park. Also, the Rainbow Trail cuts up and across Blueberry Hill, linking the neighbourhoods of Blueberry and Whistler Cay. There are a couple very nice viewpoints along the trail, high above Alta Lake. At times the trail is challenging and steep, it is quite short and can be done in under a hour by even the most leisurely hikers. In January the trail is a bit treacherous with snow, ice and huge tree roots across the trail, so be careful. Take a look here for a great walking route from Whistler Village to Blueberry Park and back.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Further up the Sea to Sky Highway heading toward Whistler, just as you enter the outskirts of Whistler and the first set of traffic lights at Function Junction you come to two marvellous snowshoeing trails. Both are on the Cheakamus River. One is a 4k roundtrip to a suspension bridge over the dramatically beautiful Cheakamus River and the other runs alongside this gorgeous river to reach an incredible site of train wreckage that has been transformed into a spray painted work of art, the Whistler Train Wreck. The Cheakamus River winds its way, crashing and emerald green along the length of the Whistler Train Wreck, and there are several spectacular river vantage points that shouldn't be missed. The whole length of the train wreck and Cheakamus River hike is 3 kilometres (each way) and the trails go along the beautiful river as well as several, widely spaced train wrecks...
Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler is an amazing collection of interconnected hiking, biking, snowshoeing and running trails that stretch for almost 33 kilometres through Whistler. In March the snow on the trail should have receded to higher elevations. The incredible Whistler area of this trail stretches north of the Village from Lost Lake Park where it ascends up past and above Green Lake. The trail joins with the Sea to Sky Highway near the Wedgemount Lake turnoff from the Sea to Sky Highway. South of Whistler Village the Sea to Sky Trail follows Whistler's Valley Trail down to Cheakamus Crossing and then disappears into the forest where it runs along the Cheakamus River to Brandywine Falls. At Brandywine the trail once again joins with the Sea to Sky Highway. This 33k, Whistler stretch of the Sea to Sky Trail is an incredible trail with beautifully clear signs, excellent mapboards and frequent views and highlights. Along the trail you will see the always impressive Brandywine Falls, the amazing Bungee Bridge over the Cheakamus River, and several great views. The Cheakamus River is a large, loud and dramatic river with several great places to see it. The trail passes by several lakes in and around Whistler including, Daisy Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Alta Lake, Lost Lake and Green Lake...
More March Hiking and Snowshoeing in Whistler...
Take a look at our Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park hiking and snowshoeing guide for March.