Easy, Short to Moderate Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in Whistler
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.
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.
The Sea to Sky Trail Whistler's Best Easy Dog Friendly Hikes
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.The 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
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 trail then runs through Whistler Village and enters the wonderfully sprawling Lost Lake Park network of trails. As you pass by Lost Lake, the Lost Lake Trail leads you to the Sea to Sky Trail. This section of the Sea to Sky Trail quickly ascends up to the ridge along Green Lake and takes you north to WedgeWood Estates at the northern end of this marvellous 33k, Whistler stretch of the Sea to Sky Trail. This is an incredible section of the Sea to Sky Trail. The trail is filled with amazing highlights and viewpoints. There are three convenient places to begin this section of the trail, Brandywine Falls, Calcheak or at Cheakamus Crossing. All have free parking just metres from the trail and all are close to some amazing sights. This description will describe the route south to north as if starting from Brandywine Falls Provincial Park.
From the parking lot (park outside the gates if closed), you will see the large Sea to Sky Trail sign and mapboard indicating where to go. You cross the covered bridge and the first fork in the trail with the Sea to Sky Trail sign pointing right takes you to the Brandywine Falls lookout in 300 metres. Just before the falls lookout there is another sign for the Sea to Sky Trail branching to the left for the Calcheak Suspension Bridge 4k and Cheakamus Bungee Bridge 2.6k. The trail descends and ascends past a few amazing viewpoints until reaching the incredible Cheakamus Bungee Bridge at 2.6k. This huge and very high bridge spans the enormous chasm across the Cheakamus River with breathtaking views all around. Across the bridge the Sea to Sky Trail route continues along the Bungee Bridge access road before again becoming the Sea to Sky Trail. The trail now becomes a narrow, dirt and deeply forested path that runs along the beautiful Cheakamus River and then crosses it at the Calcheak Suspension Bridge.
Once at Cheakamus Crossing the trail continues along a quiet residential road leading to a bridge across the Cheakamus River. There are great trails to the right here along the river and one runs along one side and returns the other side. Each side 2 kilometres long and cross the river via, yet another suspension bridge. This is a great trail if you have the time or energy and is also great to try on snowshoes. Back on the Sea to Sky Trail you will be heading along the Cheakamus Lake Road towards the Sea to Sky Highway. Just before the highway you will see a Sea to Sky Trail sign direct you to the right and the Sea to Sky Trail joins with Whistler's Valley Trail. The Valley Trail system is Whistler is very nice. Wide, paved and with two lanes, the Valley Trail extends throughout Whistler passing through most of the beautiful parks and lakes and leading to Whistler Village.
The Whistler Train Wreck Best Easy Dog Friendly Hikes
It is hard to say enough about the Whistler Train Wreck. It is fantastic for so many reasons. First, its location. Just a short 10 minute drive gets you to the trailhead parking, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway on Alpha Lake Road in Function Junction.
To get to the trailhead for the Whistler Train Wreck, drive 8k south of Whistler Village. At the traffic lights at Function Junction turn right onto Alpha Lake Road, drive across the train tracks and drive for about 200 metres. At the sudden 90 degree right bend in the road you will see Olive's Market on your left. This is an amazing new Organic grocery store. There is a huge parking lot to the left and behind this big building. Take a look in Olives Market, they have amazing coffee and unbelievably good cakes, cookies, etc, as well as organic grocery store items.
From this parking lot you may spot the short cut to the Flank Trail. Immediately you will spot the old sign indicating Flank Trail to the right and Train Wreck straight. If you don't spot this short cut right away, just walk back to Alpha Lake Road, turn right (onto Alpha Lake Road) and you will immediately see the little Flank Trail, trailhead sign and the well used dirt trail descend into the trees along the river.
Graffiti style paint brings the dingy wreckage to life with shockingly beautiful colours. The huge wrecks are enormous up close and mangled. Some on their sides, some upside down. Each one (there are several) is an interesting adventure to explore. A sort of wilderness art exhibit. The wreckage stretches for almost a kilometre and can bring out the kid in anyone.
The area is very kid friendly as the trails are wide and generally flat. There are several extraordinarily surreal places to put up a tent or, as many often do, sleep on the edge of the incredible river or even in a wrecked car. There are indications in all the cars of thousands of past gatherings which gives the place a charm that seems characteristically Whistler. The Train Wreck is a spectacularly beautiful and interesting place, just like Whistler.
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. The train wreckage covers a large area with lots to see. The trails can be hiked/run as long as 5k or as short as 1.5k.
Ancient Cedars Best Easy Dog Friendly Hikes
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 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.
Nairn Falls Whistler's Best Easy Dog Friendly Hikes
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 BC Parks website 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.
#5 Brandywine Falls Whistler's Best Easy Dog Friendly Hikes
Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the way to or from Whistler. The falls drop from a 66 metre, unnaturally abrupt cliff to the valley below. It is such a popular and beautiful sight that it is a Provincial Park complete with a large and elaborate viewing platform directly opposite the falls. Located just 20 minutes south of Whistler, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is just off of the Sea to Sky Highway.
If driving from Vancouver, keep your eyes out for the Brandywine Falls sign on your right about 25 minutes north of Squamish. 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. In the winter you often see people strapping on snowshoes for the short trek to the falls in the snow. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is attached to the wonderful Sea to Sky Trail mentioned at the top of this list, which runs between and beyond Whistler and Squamish. It is a wide, gravel biking and hiking trail that will eventually extend north to Pemberton.
Why should you take your dog to Brandywine Falls?
Brandywine Falls is amazingly beautiful and very easy and quick to hike to. Just a 20 minute pit stop on the drive to or from Whistler allows you to see this amazing falls. Brandywine Falls and Shannon Falls, just south of Squamish are both convenient, quick and beautiful stops on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.