Whistler is an incredible place to hike, unfortunately dogs are not welcome in Garibaldi Park where most of the best hiking is. This is a courtesy to the sensitive animals such as bears and marmots that inhabit 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 walks and hikes in and around Whistler.
Whistler Train Wreck is possibly the nicest, easy hiking trail in Whistler. Less than 5 kilometres roundtrip, the trail has hardly any elevation gain/loss and is easy to follow. Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. The cost to clean up the mess was evidently considered 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 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 Whistler Train Wreck hike is much more than a hike through a beautifully, gnarled train wreckage. It has become a bizarre and beautiful adult playground of sorts. A technically amazing bike park has been built there. You will notice almost immediately on one of the first train wrecks that there is a wooden ramp extending off the top of one and a corresponding ramp, far below. On the other end of the car there is a ramp leading up to the roof of the car. It is stunning to think that this is part of the now, Whistler Train Wreck Bike Park. If you are after an amazing place to have a beer, toast champagne by a campfire in a spectacular and spectacularly odd place, the Whistler Train Wreck is hard to beat. There are even several remarkably beautiful, though unmarked places to put up a tent. The Cheakamus River is also quite and amazing attraction at the Whistler Train Wreck. It is violently loud and churning and there are several fantastic spots, high up on the rocks to watch it. The Whistler Train Wreck, though buried in snow half of the year is accessible year-round. You may have to hike through snow here and there, but it's a minor inconvenience for such an amazing spot. In the fall of 2014 a new suspension bridge will be built, linking the Whistler Train Wreck trail to Trash Trail on the opposite side of Cheakamus River.
Why should you take your dog to see the Whistler Train Wreck?
The Whistler Train Wreck is very convenient to Whistler as it is just off of the Sea to Sky Highway in Function Junction. The train wreckage covers a large area with lots to see. The trails can be hiked as long as 6k or as short as 3k.
Whistler has an absurd number of wonderful and easy hiking trails, however, ranks as one of the most amazing and unusual. The marked trailhead to Parkhurst is tricky to find, but once you find it the trail is well marked and easy to follow. 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 out in the distance to the left and Rainbow Mountain across and beyond the lake. What makes Parkhurst Ghost Town such a great hiking trail and destination is where it is located and the trail to get to it. One route, one of several ways to get to it, runs along the scenic Green River and next to the still active train tracks that run through Whistler. There always seems to be something to see. From the beautiful meadow along the train tracks, to the suddenly deep forest where you have to play a game of finding the next, pink tree marker or risk wandering off the trail. The trail markers are numerous, and though getting lost is inevitable, you can only stray a few metres before, the river or steep terrain push you back onto the marked trail. Once up on the ridge above Green Lake where Parkhurst is located, the forest takes on a spooky feel. Trees are all far apart and with branches only high up give the forest a unnaturally lifeless look. Parkhurst continued as a small logging town until the logging industry slowed down in the 1950's and in the 1966 Parkhurst was finally abandoned. If you have a good look around Parkhurst today, you can find remnants of its past almost everywhere you look. From the old disintegrating truck from the 50's to the absurdly and improbably located car being consumed by the forest.
Why is Parkhurst One of the Best Easy Hikes in Whistler?
Parkhurst Ghost Town is located next to the beautiful and new Sea to Sky Trail that runs high above the very scenic Green Lake just north of Whistler. This allows for including Parkhurst into a longer hike that can begin from Whistler Village, extend through the Lost Lake trails up to the Sea to Sky Trail, then descend to Parkhurst on the shore of Green Lake. Of all the routes to Parkhurst, none are boring and seeing a bit of pre-Whistler history is interesting and a bit surreal at times.
Sea to Sky Trail is a 180 kilometre multi-use trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. The trail is still under construction in many parts, however, the amazing route through Whistler is finally in place. The Whistler section of the Sea to Sky Trail is 33 kilometres long between Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and WedgeWoods Estates just north of Green Lake (north of Whistler Village). The 33k Whistler section of the Sea to Sky Trail is either paved, dirt or crushed rock and often very wide. Much of the trail just north and south of Whistler Village is wide, two lanes and paved with plenty of signs and occasional mapboards. North of Whistler Village the trail can be challenging with several hills as it rises above and beyond Parkhurst Ghost Town. South of Whistler, the paved trail ends at Cheakamus Crossing and becomes a narrow at times dirt trail with some wider sections of crushed rock. This beautiful section follows the Cheakamus River making four dramatically beautiful river crossings. The Cal-Cheak area south of Cheakamus Crossing is more challenging and sometimes narrow and hilly, dirt trails. South of Cal-Cheak the forest opens up and the trail widens to the luxurious feeling, wide and hard packed gravel all the way to Brandywine Falls where the trail joins with the Sea to Sky Highway. The Whistler section of the Sea to Sky trail passes near and through an amazing array of whistler sights. The always impressive Brandywine Provincial Park at the southern end of the 33 kilometre area shown here. Heading north from Brandywine Falls you cross the huge bungee jumping bridge that spans the enormous chasm over the Cheakamus River. Soon after you cross the suspension Bridge at the Cal-Cheak Recreation area. At Cheakamus Crossing there are some amazing viewpoints of Cheakamus River and a short detour takes you to the amazing Whistler Train Wreck. Back on the Sea to Sky Trail heading towards Whistler Village you pass by three of Whistler's beautiful Lakes each with nice parks. Alpha Lake Park, Nita Lake Park and then on Alta Lake you pass Wayside Park and Lakeside Park.The
Why should you walk your dog along the Sea to Sky Trail?
The Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler is an amazing trail that stretches throughout Whistler, well into the wilderness. Your dog will be extatic at all the sights to see and for the most part, you will never see a car or road. There are trail signs everywhere you look and the Sea to Sky Trail passes just about every amazing sight in Whistler. Incredible!
Cheakamus River is the beautiful, crashing and turquoise coloured river that flows from Cheakamus Lake, through the Cheakamus Valley to Daisy Lake. Also a popular kayaking route, the main attraction to Cheakamus River is the wonderful and quite extensive network of hiking and biking trails that run along either side of it. Several trails run throughout the forest around the enormous 70 kilometre length of Cheakamus River including the Cheakamus Lake trail, the Whistler Train Wreck trail and the Sea to Sky Trail. For the most part, however, if you are talking about the Cheakamus River trails you are likely talking about the Farside and Riverside trails in Whistler's Interpretive Forest. Eight kilometres south of Whistler Village and surrounding the recently constructed neighbourhood of Cheakamus Crossing is Whistler Interpretive Forest. This beautiful forest surrounds the Cheakamus River and has been cut and replanted in several areas in the past decades. Hiking and biking trails have sprung up over the years making the area a wonderful place to explore. The main highlights of the Interpretive Forest are the beautiful Cheakamus River and the extraordinary Logger's Lake.
Why should you walk your dog along Cheakamus River?
Right from the first glimpse of Cheakamus River you will be amazed. The turquoise and white foaming water crashes through the rocky and often abrupt cliffs on either side of the river. Both the Farside and Riverside trails in Whistler Interpretive Forest take you to one breathtaking viewpoint after the next. The location of Cheakamus River is quite good as well. At 8 kilometres south of Whistler Village, the Cheakamus Valley hiking trails are considerably quieter than the hectic trails around the Village and you get a much more of a wilderness feel to while hiking.
Logger's Lake is an amazing little lake hidden up in the deep forest above the more well known Cheakamus River. The lake, almost unbelievably exists in a long extinct volcano. However, as soon as you see the lake up close, you quickly come to believe it. The lake sits in an almost cartoonish looking, volcano-shaped bowl, with one side of the bowl a crumbling array of truck sized boulders leading down to the lake. The crater that Logger's Lake sits in was a volcano that pushed through the glacial ice in this valley about 10000 years ago. As the lava cooled it formed the wonderful basalt ridge that is crumbling into valley. As Logger's Lake sits deep in this ancient volcano's vent, it is sheltered from the wind and soaks up the suns rays into the dark boulders all around. As a result makes it the warmest lake in Whistler, though most other lakes around are glacier fed(via rivers and creeks), so the comparison is not entirely fair. The surrounding cliffs and forest also add to the tranquility of the lake. Located a bit off the radar for most and requiring a short logging road drive and then a very steep, but short hike to get to also contributes to its serenity. Another, though unexpected draw to Logger's Lake, is its good fishing. Occasionally the lake is stocked with rainbow trout and because of the steep shorleline, casting from almost anywhere along the shore is easy and effective. There is also an ancient and disintegrating log that is a pier of sorts that leads to a tiny wooden platform out in the lake. A good spot to cast from as well, though you will be standing in a centimetre of water as the platform partially sinks under your weight. Logger's Lake has a surprisingly large network of hiking trails around it. This is a aerial video showing the unmistakable caldera of Logger's Lake. As the area was logged quite extensively in past decades, you often hike along trails near the lake that are in fact overgrown logging roads. The ridge directly behind you, if you are facing Logger's Lake and the log pier is an excellent place to hike. Appropriately named the Crater Rim Trail, this trail takes you quickly up to a tremendous vantage point over the lake.
Why should you take your dog to Logger's Lake?
Walking along the crater rim of an extinct volcano that now contains a serene lake is something special. Grab a $15 inflatable boat from the hardware store in Whistler Village, go to Logger's Lake on a beautiful day. Float out to the middle of the lake, stare at the sky and remind yourself that this was an active volcano, not such a long time ago!
More Easy, Dog Friendly Trails in Whistler
Ancient Cedars often gets overlooked by hikers in Whistler. Certainly the large numbers of centuries old, massive cedars found in much of the other Whistler area hikes makes looking for them on a specific hike less of a priority. For example, hike the short 3k trail to Cheakamus Lake and you will marvel at the size, frequency and wonderful aroma of these massive and numerous giant cedars. The Wedgemount Lake trail also has some majestic cedars along the hike. You can even walk through an impressive grove of huge cedars on the Valley Trail at the end of the Whistler Golf Club. None of them compare, however, to the Ancient Cedars Trail. They are extraordinarily huge and some are estimated to be a thousand years old. The trailhead to Ancient Cedars is just a short drive north of Whistler. Just past Green Lake on Highway 99, you turn left on Cougar Mountain Rd and drive 4.5k up a bumpy logging road. As logging roads go it is not bad. If you are driving a car you should be OK as long as you take it slow. The Ancient Cedars trail is well marked and well worn and only gradually uphill for the 2.5k hike, trailhead to ancient forest. At the Ancient Cedars forest there is a short circle trail that takes you throughout the giants then leads you back to the main trail for the return journey. 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 July to October. Depending on the snowfall June and November are often possible as well.
Why should you hike to the dog friendly, Ancient Cedars?
The most impressive cedars in Whistler and a nice, easy and relaxing hike. Can be combined with a scenic drive north of Whistler to see the Green Lake viewpoint. With Garibaldi Park being notoriously unfriendly to dogs, Ancient Cedars is a welcoming forest paradise.
Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above. The beautiful, green water rushes through the deep and angular channels of rock. Though the describes Nairn Falls as 60 metres high, the description is misleading. The falls crash through various narrow and wide areas, and though the cumulative drop is 60 metres, what you see is a series of 10 to 20 metre falls. There are a nicely constructed railing, fence and viewing area and walkway that guides you to the best views. With such abruptly steep rock all around, the area would be potentially dangerous. Evidently there have been deaths here before. A cross, reverently placed across the chasm from the viewing platform, indicates of some tragic event. Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located just a short 20 minute drive north of Whistler. From the large parking lot the well marked trail runs along the Green River for 1.2k to Nairn Falls. The trail is very easy and is hike-able year-round. Though considerable snow falls in the winter months here, the trail remains passable...
Why should you take your dog to Nairn Falls?
Nairn Falls is a short and easy, family friendly hike to a very impressive waterfall. Perfect for an afternoon drive/hike/picnic from Whistler. A relaxing and family friendly hike.
More Dog Friendly Whistler - Beaches & Parks
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. What is included is the massive, beautiful and mostly new, Sea to Sky Trail which extends from an overlaps much of the Valley Trail system. It is a continuous trail that extends south of Whistler all the way to Brandywine Falls, then continues to Squamish via some Sea to Sky Highway sections. The Sea to Sky Trail also extends north from Whistler Village from the very dog friendly Lost Lake trail system that runs in a seemingly infinite web of trails throughout the deep forest around Lost Lake. From Lost Lake the Sea to Sky Trail climbs above Green Lake via the newly built section of trail that seems almost luxurious as it meanders through the forest along a wide gravel path from one gorgeous viewpoint to the next. Very easy to follow, with frequent direction signs and very scenic. Easily the best dog friendly trail in Whistler for its convenience, beauty and staggering length. It effectively runs for 33 kilometres (this number seems to grow by the month) throughout Whistler and almost entirely through secluded and wild forest trails. If you and your dog want to get out into the wilderness to some of Whistler's hiking trails then these are some good bets. These dog friendly hikes are short and easy. For moderate, long and even difficult trails try here.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 the also popular 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. Rainbow Park is one of Whistler's most popular swimming beaches and for good reason. The beach is south facing so every morning the sun rises from behind Wedge Mountain and the whole park seems to glow. From the dazzling reflecting from the snow off of Wedge, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, to the amazing blue glow from Alta Lake. All this framed in the dazzling green of the forest all around. Though there are many great places to watch the sun rise in Whistler, Rainbow Park is one of the best. Blueberry Park is a very scenic park on Alta Lake that most Whistler locals don't even know about. 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 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.