See Some of the Amazing Waterfalls Around Whistler
Most accessible year-round and just a short drive from Whistler Village
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.
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. 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.
Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141foot waterfall just 30 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several of the 2010 Olympic events were held. There is a nice viewing platform on the edge of the cliff across from the falls which crash fantastically into the valley below. The parking area and viewing platform at Alexander Falls is one big area just 40 metres from the main road (to Whistler Olympic Park).
The beautiful and accessible Rainbow Falls are located just a short, half kilometre from the Rainbow Lake Trailhead. The trailhead is a short 15 minute drive from Whistler Village. There is parking at Rainbow Park as well as a few spots at the Rainbow Lake Trailhead.
Visit the North Arm Farm in Nearby Pemberton
Beautiful, scenic farm in a valley surrounded by mountains
The North Arm Farm in Pemberton, just a 30 minute drive north of Whistler, is one of these secret spots. It's startlingly beautiful in a wonderfully charming and unexpected way. And even more unexpectedly... it's free.
Free to wander through the fields of strikingly colourful and organized crops laying seemingly at the foot of the wildly spectacular Mount Currie.
Along with the beautiful setting and views there is an area surrounded by animals. Chickens, pigs and geese crowd around you hoping for scraps from the farm shop.
The Farm Shop and Cafe are fantastic as well. A surprising variety of bakery and lunch items crowd the counters. Along with shelves and bins of farm fresh produce.
You suddenly realize that you just came through what could be called Pemberton Farm Experience. All for free, except of course for all the amazing food you are inevitably going buy before leaving.
It is open year-round. Everyday during the growing seasons and weekends only during the winter and spring.
Go See the Whistler Train Wreck
Amazing and surreal train wreckage along the beautiful Cheakamus River
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 in Function Junction on Alpha Lake Road. The hike begins at the Function Junction, Flank Trail trailhead (on Alpha Lake Road).
They are amazing. 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.
Walk the Valley and Sea to Sky Trails
Beautiful, accessible and extensive, trails are everywhere in Whistler
Whistler has an extraordinary network of trails starting with the paved Valley Trails that run in all directions from Whistler Village. These beautiful, wide and paved, two lane trails emanate from the Village to all the great places you want to see in Whistler. Rainbow Park, Lost Lake Park, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake and all the parks in between. Some of the Valley Trail is snow plowed in the winter as well making for convenient and easy ways to get around when there is snow.
The Lost Lake network of trails extend from the Valley Trail next to Whistler Village. These trails run like a massive spider web in and around the beautiful Lost Lake Park. In the summer Lost Lake is alive with people swimming, running, walking, hiking and lounging by the lake. In the winter the area comes alive with snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
A more recent addition to Whistler's massive inventory of trails is the marvellous Sea to Sky Trail. This monster, 180 kilometre trail sneaks through Whistler Village mostly unnoticed. It extends south to Squamish and north to D'Arcy and the Whistler section was carved out of hillsides and into life 2012. It technically runs through Whistler Village, though over existing Valley Trail and Lost Lake Trail sections so the new and impressive sections are north and south of the Village.
The most recent section extends north from Lost Lake Park and around the massively beautiful, Green Lake. Passing the previously hard to access, Parkhurst Ghost Town along the way. The views along the trail are amazing as the wide, gravel and unexpectedly gradual in elevation gain/loss. If you keep following the trail north around Green Lake for 6.9 kilometres, you will circle around to the Sea to Sky Highway at the turnoff to Wedgemount Lake. The Sea to Sky trail continues north through to the new neighbourhood of WedgeWoods where it joins with the Sea to Sky Highway. It descends back into the wilderness once again north at Nairn Falls.
Visit One of the Hot Springs Near (Kind Of) To Whistler
Four amazing hot springs lay north of Whistler, two are free to use
Skookumchuck Hot Springs, located two hours north of Whistler along the edge of the huge Lillooet River. The tubs are a clumsy collection of odd looking tubs, which at first sight make you chuckle. But, after a few minutes, the extraordinary charm of the place takes over and Skookumchuck becomes oddly beautiful and wonderful.
Skookumchuck Hot Springs is the only, properly maintained and supervised hot springs of the four mentioned here. As a result there is a small and well worth it, charge to use them. Also, the campground is first class. Beautiful, secluded forest setting on the gorgeous Lillooet River. Firewood is even provided at each tent spot. The wild and beautiful Sloquet Hot Springs is just one hour past Skookumchuck and so Skookumchuck makes a great pit stop on the way to and from Sloquet. Skookumchuck has a day use charge, however the other hot springs mentioned here are free. (Sloquet sometimes has fee collectors come through, but usually only busy summer weekends).
The drive to Sloquet Hot Springs is a bit long and three plus hours north of Whistler. It is very beautiful though as the gravel road runs along the huge Lillooet Lake. The drive also takes you past Skookumchuck Hot Springs, which is an ideal pit stop as it is two thirds of the way to Sloquet. The last 8k to Sloquet is on an unmaintained logging road so can get a bit sketchy. You do see cars at Sloquet, but the rough, last 8k must take a toll on them. In the winter months this 8k is not plowed of snow, so you must hike in. But of course you will almost certainly have them to yourselves from December to mid May.
Sometimes called Pebble Creek Hot Springs, Keyhole Hot Springs is a very beautiful hot springs. All natural, except for some cementing modifications to create two beautiful spring filled tubs on the edge of the loud, crashing, and wonderfully beautiful, Upper Lillooet River. Located just 7k past the old, and now destroyed Meager Creek Hot Springs turnoff and bridge, Keyhole Hot Springs is the only realistically viable hot springs for over 100k. The next closest, nice, well known, and easily accessible hot springs are back past Pemberton and up along and past the huge Lillooet Lake. Which of course is where the Upper Lillooet River flows into.