Whistler & Garibaldi Park in November
Average low/high valley temps in Whistler in November range from -1c to 5c. (30f to 41f)
November in Whistler is when the temperatures plummet and the first heavy snow falls. The hiking opportunities become limited to easier and lower elevation hikes such as to Nairn Falls, Brandywine Falls and Rainbow Falls. Waterfalls are a great in Whistler, huge and impressive. Also, most can be accessed year-round. Alexander Falls, for example, you can drive right to the viewpoint across from the falls. Even in the depths of winter the road to it is plowed and access is easy and safe. Just a 20 minute drive north of Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway is the beautiful Nairn Falls Provincial Park. A nice, easy and short trail takes you to these crashing and deep falls that have carved potholes in the rock over the years. Though Nairn Falls campground is very large and busy much of the year, in November the place is very quiet. Not open for camping, the park is desolate and serene. Unless there has been heavy and recent snowfall, the 1.2 kilometre trail doesn't require snowshoes and is easy and flat. Brandywine Falls is another great, short and easily accessible site to see in Whistler in November. It is located just 20 minutes south of Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway. Look for the sign if you are driving up from Vancouver and you can't miss it. The hike is an easy and nice trail that takes less than 15 minutes from your car to the falls viewing platform. The parking lot is immediately off the highway and the short 1 kilometre trail takes you over then alongside the Cheakamus River to the viewing area. The only facilities in the park are pit toilets and picnic tables and there is no charge for hiking or for parking your vehicle in the park. The gate off of the highway is locked at night and in the winter so at these times you simply park at the edge of the highway and hike past the gate. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is attached to the wonderful Sea to Sky Trail which runs between and beyond Whistler and Squamish. All of the amazing hikes such as Joffre Lakes, Wedgemount Lake, Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, Helm Creek and all the rest will now require snowshoes to do.. and least mid to late in November. This makes for some tough, though very rewarding hikes. Often starting with snowshoes fastened to backpacks until the higher elevations on the trail, where they become necessary. Certainly a lot of caution has to be taken in November as getting caught out in bad weather can quickly obscure the trail and leave you lost in the wilderness. For something out-of-the-ordinary to do in November, taking a beautiful 2-3 hour drive north of Whistler to Skookumchuck Hot Springs is an amazing adventure. These rustic hot springs are located on the beautifully crashing Lillooet River at the far end of the beautiful Lillooet Lake. It is easily manageable to do as a wonderful day trip from Whistler, or if you have a tent or camper as an overnight trip at the nice, adjoining campsite. In November, you will find Skookumchuck very quiet and peaceful. You may even have the entire place to yourselves. The drive to get there is mostly along Lillooet Lake, which is snow plowed all winter. There is a small charge to use the springs by day, and an overnight camping charge if you plan to stay. Open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. No reservations and Skookumchuck is available for camping, first come, first served. Whistler is located along the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire and as a result has some amazing hot springs. Skookumchuck Hot Springs is open year-round and is a maintained, though very rustic facility. There is a small charge to use and quite a nice campground along the Lillooet River. The other three, well known hot springs north of Whistler are usually accessible in early November, however snow will eventually close the road access to them by late November. These three hot springs are called Sloquet Hot Springs, which is an hour north of Skookumchuck, and Meager Creek Hot Springs and Keyhole Hot Springs, both located west of Pemberton (Pemberton is north of Whistler). If you would rather just jump in your car, take a beautiful drive directly to an amazing waterfalls viewpoint, then Alexander Falls is perfect for you. Up on the mountains of Callaghan Valley, where some of the 2010 Olympic Games events were held, sits Alexander Falls. A large viewing platform sits directly across from them and you can literally park your car 1 metre from this platform. Alexander Falls are similar to Brandywine Falls in that they abruptly fall from a high and very vertical cliff to a chasm far below. Just a 2 minute drive past Alexander Falls is Whistler Olympic Park. If you are interested in driving south to Vancouver there are some great places to hike there in November. Certainly a lot warmer than Whistler, and most have great ocean views. The Lions, West Lion Trail is only an hours drive south of Whistler in Lions Bay between Squamish and North Vancouver. It's a fairly long, though well marked trail, 15k roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1282 metres in 7.5k. You can't actually reach the summit of the West Lion in the winter, but the plateau before the summit has spectacular views of Howe Sound. For something a lot easier and with views just as amazing further south towards Vancouver is an amazing snowshoeing option. Only 1 hour, 20 minutes from Whistler in the beautiful Cypress Provincial Park, this trail is well marked, though at times, a steep 7k roundtrip. It is easily done as a pit stop half day on a trip to or from Whistler or Vancouver. in Vancouver is another great snowshoeing destination not terribly far from Whistler. Just 30 minutes further south in Vancouver at the Seymour Mountain Ski Resort. This is another easy, half day snowshoeing trip as it is only 2.2k from your car to the beautiful views at the summit of Dog Mountain. Don't forget to stop at Shannon Falls in Squamish. This beautiful and massive falls is just a 5 minute walk from your car and you get so close as to feel the spray on your skin. Hiking in Whistler in November is an interesting month. Usually the snowfall has only been sporadic early in the month and you can still access some great hiking on foot. That is, without snowshoes. Cheakamus Lake is usually accessible to hike until mid November, but of course that depends on the 8k access road. Once it gets snow on it, it becomes difficult to drive. Even a couple centimetres makes it difficult for cars that would have had no problem weeks before. So check the weather or look outside in Whistler Village. If the snowline on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains is up around mid-station then you should be fine to drive to Cheakamus Lake and go hiking. Once you reach the trailhead/parking lot to Cheakamus Lake the hike to the lake only gains minimal elevation, so if you don't have snow at the trailhead, you shouldn't get snow on your hike. November does vary quite a lot for snowfall and some years you can hike to Cheakamus Lake, almost snow-free until early December. If you want to head out hiking in the Cheakamus Lake area and there is too much snow to get to Cheakamus Lake then you can find some great hiking or snowshoeing along Cheakamus River. Located just off of the Sea to Sky Highway just 8 kilometres south of Whistler Village, the trailhead is easy to find. From Whistler, drive south on the Sea to Sky Highway for 8 kilometres. At the Function Junction intersection, turn left and you will see the Cheakamus Lake Rd on your left in about 300 metres. If there is snow you will have to park here, if there is no snow you can park a few metres further up the road. (You will be aiming to walk across the first bridge across the river that you will see almost immediately). There is a fantastic snowshoeing route that takes you 2 kilometres along one side of the beautiful Cheakamus River then crosses the wonderful Cheakamus River Suspension Bridge, then returns to where you started via the other side of the river. This is a great 4k snowshoeing route that is full of nice, river viewpoints, gradual hills and valleys, and some great sights at the suspension bridge. This trail is fantastic on either foot or snowshoes so you can't go wrong hiking in November on this route. Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. The cost to clean up the mess was evidently deemed too high, so seven train cars were left scattered next to the Cheakamus River. As it turns out, time and local effort has transformed this mess into a wonderful work of art, an extraordinary bike park, and a great place to hike. The Whistler Train Wreck. 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. The Whistler Train Wreck trailhead is best reached by starting at the easy to find, Flank Trail trailhead in Function Junction, just 8k south of Whistler Village. Taylor Meadows is a wonderful place to snowshoe in November. One reason for this is fact that the two kilometre access road to the Rubble Creek trailhead is consistently covered in snow from December to April making the roundtrip hike to Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake four kilometres longer. In November, however, you can often find this access road clear of snow and even some of the trail dry as well. You will certainly need snowshoes in November though, certainly as you get higher up in the trail. By the end of November the trailhead should have snow as well. Taylor Meadows is beautiful to snowshoe and especially nice to camp out overnight in. The brutal winter cold weather still hasn't taken hold yet, but Garibaldi Park is covered in a great blanket of snow... Joffre Lakes is an absolutely stunning place to snowshoe in November. You can drive to the partially snowplowed trailhead parking all year-round and Joffre Lakes is so popular with skiers that you can almost always rely on ski tracks in the snow to follow. The trail is fairly well marked with tree markings but having a track in the snow to follow makes the journey much easier. Joffre Lakes is a long, though beautiful 1.2 hour drive north of Whistler. From the trailhead to the first of the three Joffre Lakes is just a few dozen metres so you almost immediately get some stunning views across the lake to distant mountains. The trail then ascends a couple kilometres to the second Joffre Lake which reveals even more amazing views. The third Joffre Lake is at the 5 kilometre mark and you will have gained 400 metres of elevation to get there... Wedgemount Lake is a steep and difficult hike in the summer when there is no snow. It doesn't require technical skill, but it is just exhausting. You gain 1220 metres of elevation in just 7 kilometres and hiking with a backpack takes about 2.5 hours to reach the lake. In the winter, on snowshoes, the Wedgemount Lake trail is considerably harder. In November the trail can be, first, hard to follow, despite the frequent trail markers. Second, on snowshoes, each step on steep ground is one step forward, half a step backward. You plod on slowly and with each step slipping back part way. If you can get past the difficulty of the exhausting winter trek to Wedgemount Lake you will reach an amazing paradise in the mountains. The Wedgemount Lake Hut is an extraordinary oasis of warmth in the middle of the beautiful Wedgemount Lake valley...
Parks & Trails in Whistler
November is a beautiful time of year to wander from the Village to one of Whistler's many parks and beaches. Wayside Park in Whistler is one of several idyllic parks on Alta Lake. Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Blueberry Park are also along the shore of this huge lake that cover much of the valley edged by Whistler Village. These four parks, all on Whistler's beautiful Valley Trail system, ensure that you are never far from one of several amazing vantage points over Alta Lake. Wayside Park sits near the bottom end of Alta Lake and at just 3 kilometres from Whistler Village is just an hours walk or 10 minute bike ride away. The Valley Trail is a huge spider web network of paved walking/biking/running trails that connect Whistler Village to dozens of beautiful parks and sights. Over 40 kilometres of trails throughout Whistler, with directions at every junction make the Valley Trail much more than just a transportation network. It's an interpretive tour of the area, where you can wander on foot or by bike and use the signs at each junction to choose your route. Wayside Park is one of several beautiful beach parks in Whistler on the Valley Trail. You can reach all these parks by car or better yet you set out on foot or by bike from Whistler Village. Lost Lake is a tranquil and secluded lake in the forest that extends from Whistler Village. Just a 20 minute, leisurely walk or 5 minute bike ride along the well signed Valley Trail will lead you to this beautiful little lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail turns into a wide and gravel trail as you enter Lost Lake Park. The main trail around the lake is a popular running route from Whistler Village as roundtrip from the Village, around Lost Lake and back to the Village in just 6 kilometres. There are plenty of nice viewpoints along the main trail as well as quite a few short trails that lead to several access points to the lake, some with great places to sit and relax in the sun and take in the view. Lost Lake has a very popular beach at one end and in the height of summer can get busy as it is the most convenient beach from Whistler Village. Blueberry Park is a very scenic and somewhat hidden park on Alta Lake just two kilometres from Whistler Village. If you have been to Rainbow Park you would have noticed three piers across Alta Lake surrounded by forest. These public piers sit at the edge of Blueberry Park, with the Blueberry Trail running from one side of the forest to the other. The park covers most of the hill beyond these piers and stretches between and connects the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay and Alta Vista(see map below). The beautiful, deep forest trail runs from the shores of Alta Lake in Alta Vista, up and across Blueberry Hill and descends again to reach Whistler Cay. Along the trail there are several beautiful viewpoints of Alta Lake in the foreground and the enormous Mount Sproatt beyond. Lakeside Park at Alta Lake in Whistler is a beautiful beach park just a short distance from Whistler Village. Located on the Valley Trail, it is just 2 kilometres or a 30 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride away. Similar to Rainbow Park across the lake, Lakeside has a concession stand for food and drinks, picnic tables, BBQ stands, canoe and kayak rentals a huge grass field, pier, a sandy beach and an elaborate little kids play are. Swimming and relaxing are the main draws to Lakeside Park, but fishing off the piers is a common sight as well. Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village. Located partway along Lake Placid Road just past the Husky and Nita Lake Lodge. This quiet residential street leads to this park that is home to tennis courts, a basketball court, beach volleyball, dog park, a kids play park, a floating dock, a pier and biking/walking/running trails everywhere you look. Alpha Lake Park has a much more local feel to it than other Whistler parks such as the popular Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Lost Lake Park. The abundance of trees and the irregular shoreline make the relatively small size of Alpha Lake seem quite a bit bigger than it is. Trails run around both sides of Alpha Lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail runs along the shore on the near side and a gravel trail runs along the far side. For more walking trails, parks and beaches in Whistler click here..