Dog Friendly Whistler Hiking Challenging and Long Trails
Whistler is an incredible place to hike, unfortunately dogs are not welcome in Garibaldi Park, which most of the best hiking is. This is a courtesy to the sensitive animals such as bears and marmots that frequent the park. There are a few great spots outside the park, though less known or a bit of a drive away from Whistler. This is a summary of the best dog friendly hikes around Whistler. These are long and challenging, multi-hour hikes.
Not included here is the wonderful, 40 kilometre Valley Trail that runs in several directions from the Village. Around the Whistler Golf Course, out to Green Lake, Alta Lake, Alpha Lake and Nita Lake as well as the spider web of trails in the Lost Lake area. All the Valley Trails are dog friendly and well laid out and very convenient from the Village.
For less challenging, short and easy hiking trails to take your dog take a look at the top 5 easy and short dog friendly hiking trails here.
Joffre Lakes is one of the most beautiful lakes you are likely to ever see. There are three lakes and they get progressively more beautiful. By the third lake the intense blue is breathtaking. The mighty Matier Glacier rises above the third lake, making the experience even more spectacular. The trail is rough and tricky in some parts, but not terribly difficult.
The trail is 5.5km to the third lake so give yourself 1.5 - 2 hours(one way). Snowshoeing is easy and relaxing to Joffre Lakes. There is no avalanche danger if you keep to the trail and do not continue past the third lake. The only danger is losing the trail (mainly on the way back to your car). You can hardly ever snowshoe Joffre Lakes without seeing an easily visible trail of ski or snowshoe tracks in the snow however, the days are short in the winter and when the light fades the ski/snowshoe tracks you easily followed on the way up become harder to discern.
This is a bit worrying though the contours of the land push you toward the first lake near the parking lot. To be safe you should always have a map or gps and headlight with you in the winter and be extra cautious about leaving early and returning early to get lots of light on the trail.
Why should you take your dog hiking to Joffre Lakes?
The drive to the trailhead is beautiful and you can see some interesting sights on the way from Whistler. Nairn Falls, the cute town of Pemberton, North Arm Farm and great views of Lillooet Lake are all convenient pit stops on the 1.5 hour drive to Joffre Lakes. The lakes are extremely beautiful and accessible for only a moderately difficult, family friendly hike.
#2 Brandywine Meadows Best Challenging Dog Friendly Hikes
Brandywine Meadows is a nice 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 trailhead is tricky to find and involves a fairly long gravel road journey that is passable without a 4x4, but barely. The route is strewn with potholes and some loose rock sections. Brandywine Meadows is used mainly for snowmobiling in the winter months and the bumpy ex-logging road to the trailhead is in poor condition in the summer. The hike takes you to the beautiful Brandywine Meadows stretching into the distance along a cute, meandering river.
The valleys far end leads to Brandywine Mountain. The mountains in the area, including Brandywine are hike-able, though the trails, if any are faint and unmarked. There are no camping facilities in Brandywine Meadows, however, the seemingly endless valley offers plenty of tent sites. If you plan on camping before mid July, you will likely be on snow as the valley is snow filled until mid summer most years.
The meadows are somewhat notorious for mosquitoes so avoiding the area in August is a good way to avoid the swarms. September and even October are possibly the best months to explore Brandywine Meadows. No snow, bugs or hikers to take away from the wonderful solitude of this great spot in the Callaghan Valley. As the Callaghan Valley is outside of Garibaldi Park, dogs a welcome in Brandywine Meadows.
Why should you take your dog hiking to Brandywine Meadows?
Challenging elevation gain, enormous valley to explore, cute river to set your tent up next to. Endless hiking possibilities in many directions from the centre of the meadows. One of the few dog friendly hikes around. Amazing, picturesque valley full of colours.
#3 Ring & Conflict Lakes Best Challenging Dog Friendly Hikes
Ring Lake is a fantastically beautiful and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10k hike takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains. 5k into the hike you come to Conflict Lake with trails running around it.
Signs at various junctions indicate which trail to take to reach Ring Lake, a further 5k from Conflict. The trail from Conflict Lake to Ring Lake passes through a huge valley for a couple kilometres, then abruptly ascends on the right side of the valley. The trail is poorly marked in this section and you have to keep bearing right to avoid descending back into the valley. 3k of, at times very steep, but not technical trail gets you to the magnificent Ring Lake and the imposing Ring Mountain across the emerald green water.
The trailhead to Ring and Conflict Lakes is very close to the Callaghan Lake Provincial Park campsite. From the campsite, drive a couple hundred metres as if returning to Whistler and you will see a clearing on the right and a very well worn trail. From this trail you will see plenty of signs to guide you first to Conflict Lake in 5k, then Ring Lake, another 5k past Conflict. The 5k hike to Conflict Lake is quite relaxed and easy as you don't gain any significant elevation. The 5k from Conflict to Ring Lake is very steep, and though marked well with flagging tape and cairns, very difficult to follow.
Why should you take your dog hiking to Ring Lake & Conflict Lake?
Very wild and backcountry feeling. In Garibaldi Park you always know you are in a park, in the Callaghan Valley on the Ring Lake Trail, you feel far removed from civilization. If you dislike frequent signs and manicured campsites, you will find few here. The campsite is non-existent, which is fun in a way. You arrive a Ring Lake exhausted and see few flat areas suitable for a tent. Just wild and beautiful terrain that you don't put a tent on, but rather have the landscape consume into the surroundings. In short, Ring Lake i
#4 Madeley Lake to Hanging Lake Best Challenging Dog Friendly Hikes
Madeley Lake(mis-labelled "Powell Lake" on Google Maps) is a well hidden, though easily drivable lake in the beautiful Callaghan Valley. Unlike the terrible gravel road (4x4 recommended) to Callaghan Lake, the relatively smooth gravel road to Madeley Lake is drivable by car (relatively easily and safely).
Just a 10 minute drive from the main, paved road to Whistler Olympic Park, Madeley makes a great side-trip on the way to or from the very popular 2010 Olympic attraction. Just metres past the turnoff to Alexander Falls, turn left at the sign for . Cross the bridge and follow the terrible logging road for about three minutes, turn right at the first logging road that branches off to the right. Follow this logging road for about 10 minutes until Madeley Lake appears on your right. There is a large map board at the trailhead to Hanging Lake, Provincial ParkRainbow Lake and Sproatt Mountain. You can park here or continue past this and drive to the end of the lake and small campsite area. This is an unmaintained area and there are no facilities. This is an amazing place to camp.
If looking for solitude at a paradise, mountain lake, Madeley Lake is hard to beat. Though somewhat popular with fishing, you are still likely to rarely see anyone at the lake in the summer and never in the fall. Once in a while you will see a car or two at the trailhead to Hanging Lake. If you have a canoe, Madeley is a great place to paddle around.
Why should you take your dog to the Madeley to Hanging Lake Trail?
Madeley Lake is a well hidden, easily accessible mountain lake. You can camp on the beautiful shores of the lake for free and often have the lake to yourselves. Good fishing and wonderful scenery. One of the few nice and challenging, dog friendly trails around Whistler
#5 Brew Lake Best Challenging Dog Friendly Hikes
Brew Lake and Brew Mountain are seldom hiked as the trail is fairly difficult and long. Both Brew Lake and Brew Mountain can be accessed in the summer via the Brew Creek Trail. The trail is well marked with orange tape, orange tree markers and rock cairns almost every dozen metres. This is well needed though as the trail is at times extremely steep, often overgrown and never in a straight line.
Despite the frequency of trail markings, it is very easy to get lost, and this is a very dangerous trail to get lost on. Much of it traverses through mighty boulder fields with precarious truck sized rocks around and above you. Unfortunately a lot of hiking time is wasted squinting into the trees for route markers.
If you do weather the difficult hike you will arrive at a beautiful, secluded backcountry paradise. Beautiful alpine hills and green meadows everywhere you look. There is even a hut available to use further up toward Brew Mountain that is usable by anyone.
Park at the Brandywine Falls parking lot, and walk toward the falls. Just before the Brandywine Falls, turn right and follow the train tracks. After only a few metres you will cross a bridge over the falls, and after about 11 minutes you will pass under Highway 99. Follow the tracks from a 90 degree bend right, then a 90 degree bend to the left. The trail starts near then end of this left bend, about 2.5k south of Brandywine Falls (30-35 minutes from the parking lot). You will see flagging tape on the right side of the tracks and the Brew Lake Trail disappear steeply up into the trees. Overnight parking is not allowed at Brandywine Falls so if overnighting at Brew Lake you must park outside the gate along the Sea to Sky Highway.
Why should you take your dog to Brew Lake?
The Brew Lake trail is challenging hike with considerable elevation gain of over 1000 metres in 5k. The trail is 8.5k, however, the first 2.5k you gain no elevation. Rarely used trail that your dog will love.