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October Hiking in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park

Average low/high valley temps in Whistler in October range from 3c to 16c (38f/60f)

Hiking in Whistler in October is often fantastic.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall leaves.  On the higher elevations there is often a dusting of snow that makes everything look amazing.  Picking a full moon evening to to hike in a place like Joffre Lakes, Russet Lake or Wedgemount Lake makes for an incredible nWedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Whistleright in the mountains. Wedgemount Lake is a beautiful hike to do in October.  Just 7k to the unbelievable Wedgemount Lake which leads to easy access to the impressive Wedgemount Glacier, and several amazing mountain hikes beyond.  Wedgemount Lake has a beautiful, and free to use little hut if you don't want to tent or sleep under the stars as many do on perfect July nights.  The trail to Wedgemount Lake is very steep as you climb 1220 metres in just 7 kilometres!  The trail is fairly uneventful as you climb through deep forest.  Wedgemount Lake sits in a massive valley surrounded by abrupt and rocky peaks.  The terrain is dominated by the colour grey.  Grey rocks and massive grey erratics are scattered everywhere.  The Wedgemount Hut sits amongst a pile of truck sized erratics, adding to the Russet Lake and Singing Pass Trail in Whistlerbrutal attraction of this wonderful corner of Garibaldi Provincial  Park in Whistler. Russet Lake, in Garibaldi Park is the wonderfully expansive hiking area located just a few spectacular kilometres from Whistler.  Among the various ways to reach Russet Lake, possibly the most impressive are the approaches from either the Musical Bumps Trail or the High Note Trail.  Unfortunately in October the Whistler Gondola stop running so you will have to access Russet Lake via the Singing Pass Trail.  Though Russet Lake is not terribly impressive in terms of size or colour, the valley around it is remarkably beautiful.  The colours change from moment to moment in and extraordinary way.  The distinctive colour of the Fissile and the stark grey of the mountains around contrast amazingly with the blue of the lake and green grass in the valley.  So many different factors fill the place with colour.  In October fall leaves cover much of the Singing Pass trail and though the days are short Cirque Lake hiking trail near Whistler BCand colder, you will likely have the trail and lake to yourselves. Cirque Lake in the Callaghan Valley (30 minutes south of Whistler Village), is a great and remote hike to try in October.  The trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake is reached by canoe.  Located well off the radar in the Callaghan Valley, Cirque is a tough, very steep, though short hike to an extraordinarily beautiful cirque lake, high above Callaghan Lake.  A cirque lake is formed out of a few interesting, alpine occurrences, combining.  To form a cirque lake, a glacier must be a combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northernCallaghan Lake Provincial Park near Whistler BC hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow, protected in this way, grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin. Eventually a magnificently circular lake is formed with steep sloping sides all around.  Cirque Lake is a wonderful example of this interesting glacier formed world in the mountains.  Largely sheltered from the wind, your campsite at Cirque Lake will be spectacularly serene, Ancient Cedars hiking trail in Whistlerand the lake before you, incredible.  Some great places to go hiking in October are places like Ancient Cedars.  Just a short drive from Whistler Village takes you up Cougar Mountain along a bumpy logging road to this 5k roundtrip hike to some of Whistler's most impressive trees.  Ancient Cedars was inadvertently missed by logging years ago and has now become a cherished forest of massive trees.  The whole 5k Ancient Cedars roundtrip should take you less than two hours.  Unlike most other Whistler hiking trails, Ancient Cedars is dog friendly.  Unfortunately snow makes the road undrivable much of the year, so you can only reliably get up there around mid June to early to mid Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler BCNovember. Parkhurst Ghost Town is another great October hike.  Whistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as one of the most unusual, exotic and interesting.  Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on the edge of Green Lake way before Whistler was Whistler.  Up on the ridge where Parkhurst sits, the views are sensational. Green lake far below, a solid unnatural looking mass of green.  Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains Cheakamus Lake hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park Whistlerout in the distance to the left and Rainbow Mountain across and beyond the lake.  Some of the most picturesque hikes of the year can be done in October, but you do have to be prepared to deal with the cold, wet and darkness that comes with fall in Whistler.  Cheakamus Lake and Rainbow Lake are amazing in October as they have such wonderful forests.  Cheakamus Lake is a wonderfully relaxing way to get in the wilderness easily and quickly from Whistler Village.  The trail begins on the far side of Whistler Mountain, 8 kilometres from the Sea to Sky Highway at Cheakamus Crossing and Function Junction.  This 8 kilometre stretch of logging road is fairly bumpy and potholed, but does have the benefit of allowing you to drive the elevation gain instead of hiking it.  You can easily manage this road in a car, however carefully and slowly in parts.  Once you reach the trailhead/parking the entire 7 kilometre trail to Cheakamus Lake has barely any elevation gain.  In fact, this makes it one of the few trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Park that can boast that.  The nearby Garibaldi Lake trail and the Wedgemount Lake trail make you work for the views, however, the Cheakamus Lake trail hardly makes you work at all.  The trail to Cheakamus Lake takes you through an Rainbow Lake hiking in Whistler BCamazing forest of giant cedars that fill the forest with their amazing aroma.  The Rainbow Lake trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village.  It is a consistently uphill and very beautiful trail with several water (bridge) crossings and waterfalls on the way to the picture-perfect lake.  There are a few views of the valley across to Whistler, Blackcomb, and Wedge Mountains.  Few views, though fantastic.  Rainbow lake itself is beautiful and has branching trails that extend further beyond the lake.  There are several highlights along the Rainbow Trail.  Several waterfall and idyllic creek crossings as well as two somewhat elaborate bridges.  Located in such a hostile environment that Shannon Falls in Squamishone of these bridges has to be removed annually before the huge snowfalls come in December.  Have a look at the best places to hike in Whistler here.. and the best easy places to hike in Whistler here.. Just a short drive south of Whistler in Squamish there are some great hiking trips, excellent in October.  Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief are great and relatively easy.  Roundtrip to see both from the same trailhead a Shannon Falls should only take you about 3 hours.  Further south in Vancouver there are some amazing hikes with great views of Howe Sound including, the Lions, St Mark's Summit and many more.  An easy, yet amazing array of hiking trails can be found at Lighthouse Park just a short drive from the Sea to Sky Highway.  If you've not seen this park and are driving to or from Vancouver you should take a look.  The trails run from 2k to 10k and have fantastic ocean views across to Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge.

Parks and Walking Trails in Whistler                         Whistler Hiking in October

Wayside Park on Alta Lake in WhistlerWayside 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 Rainbow Park on Alta Lake in Whistler BCtrails 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 Lost Lake Park and Beach in Whistlerextends 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 Blueberry Park in Whistlerthe 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 Lakeside Park on the Valley Trail in Whistlerforest 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 Alpha Lake Parkon the Valley Trail in Whistlergrass 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...

Driving Destinations From Whistler                            Whistler Hiking in October

Lighthouse Park SittingLighthouse Park is an extraordinarily little know piece of paradise, so close to to Vancouver as to see its tall buildings, yet immersed into a dramatically beautiful coastal rainforest.  A wonderful network of trails winds throughout massive Douglas-fir trees and Western Red Cedars as well as golden Arbutus trees stretching toward the ocean.  It is surprisingly convenient on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.  The detour will only add an hour to your trip but the drive alone is well worth doing. Marine Drive runs parallel to the Sea to Sky Highway to or from Whistler, and is a wonderfully beautiful ocean hugging road Porteau Cove on the Sea to Sky Highwaythat is alive with the beauty of Vancouver.  Porteau Cove is a beautiful little stop on the way to or from Whistler.  You will notice the lack of washroom stops on the way to or from Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway, and if nothing else, makes Porteau Cove a perfect rest stop.  Aside from washrooms there is a wonderful pier with viewing platforms that hover high above the ocean of this majestic and enormous Canadian fjord - the most southerly fjord in North America.  There is a nice campground that extends down the shore towards Vancouver.  Brandywine Falls is a beautiful Brandywine Falls Provincial Park near Whistlerstop on the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler.  It's about 11 kilometres south of Whistler.  The hike from the parking lot to the falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail.  Of all the waterfalls around Whistler, Brandywine is the most impressive.  There is a wonderful viewing platform across from the waterfalls that juts out over the edge of the enormous chasm the falls empty into.  Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC.  The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old growth forest to get to the base of the falls.  From your car to the viewpoint takes only about four minutes, however the trail continues a bit further to a higher viewpoint (five minutes higher).  You can even continue along the trail and join with the Stawamus Chief Trail which goes to the three summits of the Chief.

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October Guide to Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking

 

Whistler Garibaldi Park Hiking Topo Map Guide

 

Whistler running trail maps and run detailsDriving Destinations around WhistlerWhistler and Garibaldi Park hiking maps and trail info