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 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 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.
Blueberry Park was upgraded in 2013, which previously had been just a simple dirt trail through the forest and a faint trail to the piers. A new pier, gravel trail section, trail widening and new trail signs have been added. For most of the trail, however, it is steep, rocky, wild and natural looking. The forest is deep and dark. Massive tree roots criss-cross the trail and fallen trees and boulders are strewn everywhere. It has a wonderful remote and natural feeling to the forest that make you forget that you are so close to civilization.
Blueberry Park can be reached from both ends of Blueberry Trail. The Whistler Cay end of the trail is a bit tricky to find although it is being improved. There is a Blueberry Trail sign at the trailhead but it is not visible from the end of Crabapple Drive. To find it run all the way to the dead end of Crabapple Drive and you will see an unmarked trail. About 10 metres in you will see the Blueberry Trail sign on your right.
If you are parking at one of the Blueberry Park trailheads always be careful where you park in Whistler in residential areas, especially in the winter months. Look for no parking signs. Often you will see one side of a residential street with no parking signs. This is to allow for snow clearing and you may get towed if you block snowplows. The dead end of Crabapple Drive is currently safe to park, however, take a look before you park in case this has changed.
Blueberry Park is best reached by the Alta Vista side at the end of St Anton Way. As noted above keep an eye out for no parking signs, but at the moment parking is OK at the end of St Anton Way at the trailhead. This side of Blueberry Park is home to the three piers on Alta Lake making it the more scenic way to start the trail.
The Blueberry Park trailhead sign is easy to spot from St Anton Way and the nice, new gravel trail leads to to the three piers just a few dozen metres in. These piers are a great way to escape the crowds that you find in other Whistler parks such as Lost Lake Park, Alpha Lake Park, Wayside Park, Lakeside Park, and Rainbow Park. Rainbow Park is directly across Alta Lake from the piers at Blueberry Park. Where these other parks are beautiful with their grassy fields, beaches, kids play-parks and other amenities, none of them match Blueberry Park's wonderful, wilderness feel.
From the piers you have to backtrack a bit and take the right fork on the trail that you pass just after entering the forest from St Anton Way. This narrow, rocky, winding and steep, uphill trail takes you into the deep forest of Blueberry Hill. From one end to the other, the Blueberry Trail is just 1.4 kilometres long and fairly steep at both ends. You wouldn't want to push a baby stroller up the narrow and rocky path, but you could easily do so along the nice, smooth gravel trail to the three piers at the start of the trail. The trail ascends quickly and arrives at a beautiful viewpoint, high above the lake. Mt Sproatt dominates the view with Alta Lake far below. Out to the right you can see the always snowy Rainbow Mountain.
The trail continues through the forest and several more beautiful viewpoints just off the trail to your left. Finally the trail descends and ends at Crabapple Drive. If you are doing a circle route from Whistler Village you just have to follow Crabapple Dr for almost 1 kilometre and you will cross the Valley Trail just before Lorimer Rd.
Blueberry Trail Map from Whistler Village
Printer, smartphone and tablet friendly. Designed to fit standard printers and copiers. To print: Right click on the map below, save image as, save to desktop, then open the image and print on standard size printer paper. Cell coverage is reliable everywhere in Whistler so you will be able to access the internet if you have a data plan, however saving this map to your smartphone or tablet may be a good idea as Blueberry Park can be tricky to find as you have to find it at the end of St Anton Way.
"Start" indicated on the map is located in Whistler Village at the pedestrian and car underpass off of Whistler Way. If you walk between Buffalo Bills and the Conference Centre you will come to Whistler Way and see this underpass under the Sea to Sky Highway. This is where the Valley Trail in Whistler exits the Village heading south. Walking/biking/running under the underpass you will come to the Whistler Golf Course parking lot and clubhouse with the Valley Trail branching both left and right. On the map below this is where the walking route, shown in red starts and finishes. Here you will find a nice mapboard showing the Valley Trail and the Sea to Sky Trail(both trails follow the same route in this section of Whistler). The Valley Trail is wide, with two lanes divided by a yellow line and with frequent directional signs, so once you are on it it is easy to follow and it is reliably snow plowed in the winter.
The Wedgemount Lake Trail
A challenging and sometimes brutal snowshoe trek to a winter paradise
Wedgemount Lake is a steep and difficult hike in the summer when there is no snow. It doesn't require technical skill, but it is just exhausting. You gain 1220 metres of elevation in just 7 kilometres and hiking with a backpack takes about 2.5 hours to reach the lake. In the winter, on snowshoes, the Wedgemount Lake trail is considerably harder. First, the obscured trail is hard to follow, despite the frequent trail markers. Second, on snowshoes, each step on steep ground is one step forward, half a step backward. You plod on slowly and with each step slipping back part way. If you can get past the difficulty of the exhausting winter trek to
Wedgemount Lake you will reach an amazing paradise in the mountains. The Wedgemount Lake Hut is an extraordinary oasis of warmth in the middle of the beautiful Wedgemount Lake valley. Anyone can use the hut, anytime. It can sleep up to 8 reasonably comfortably and consists of two large tables on the lower level and a small loft that can fit four people. Sporadically used by skiers in the winter, though rarely used by snowshoers due to the difficulty of the trail in the winter. If you do make it up to Wedgemount Lake you will be rewarded with a phenomenally beautiful, snow filled mountain paradise of a valley. The Wedgemount Lake trail is deep with snow from late December to late June most years. If you snowshoe it November to mid December or mid June to early July, you will only need your snowshoes partway up the trail.
Depending on conditions and traffic on the trail, you may get lucky and be able to follow previous tracks in the snow, however this is not reliable. The final kilometre before Wedgemount Lake between the months of November and late June is almost always deep with snow, sometimes as late as mid July. This part is very steep, and even on snowshoes painfully difficult, so consider that if you plan to go. Also, losing the trail is always a consideration worth worrying about and having a GPS with you is a very good idea. At a good pace, when the trail has snow top to bottom, expect to take over 3.5 hours from your car to the hut. Some take as long as 6 hours. You have to add an extra kilometre or two in the winter as well due to having to park 1.5k below the usual trailhead parking as it is inaccessible due to snow December to May.
One of the defining features of Garibaldi Park, and Wedgemount Lake in particular, is the staggering number of branching hikes from the main destination of the lake itself. For many, Wedgemount Lake and the "Wedge" Hut is the base for hikes to Wedge Mountain, Mount Cook, Mount Weart, Mount Moe, Mount James Turner and Mount Currie in Pemberton, crossing glaciers such as Wedgemount Glacier, Weart Glacier, Armchair Glacier, Mystery Glacier and the Needles and Chaos Glacier to name a few. Dozens of unforgettable peaks can be reached from this quiet little hut overlooking this perfect, turquoise lake. In short, if you were to design a paradise in the mountains, Wedgemount Lake would be the standard to which all others would pale.
The sheltered valley, beautiful turquoise lake, wonderfully huge glacier across the valley and brutally jagged mountains all around all contribute to making Wedgemount Lake something special. It's challenging and exhausting to hike to and an absolute paradise to relax in. Down by the lakeside you can actually find two recliner chairs, built out of the rocks by the lake. Such a perfect way to enjoy the sun rising over the not-so-distant glacier across the lake.
The hut at Wedgemount Lake is a wonderful thing. Built by the BC Mountaineering Club in 1970, and since donated to Garibaldi Park, it is free to use by anyone. It's cozy with two large tables and a loft. Often, during busy times you will find the tables used as beds, a couple on the floor and four people up in the loft. The
Wedge Mountain Hut is positioned in a spectacular part of the world. High up overlooking Wedgemount Lake. In the massive shadow of Wedge Mountain, the highest mountain in the entire Garibaldi Range. It's a cozy and compact little house in the middle of the carnage of massive rocks, erratics left over the centuries by glaciers and rock slides. Back in the late 60's the British Columbia Mountaineering Club went forward with building five huts in the Coast Mountains of BC. Two of the five were built in Garibaldi Park, they were The Russet Lake Hut in 1968 and the Wedgemount Lake Hut in 1970. Because structures like these cannot be owned as they are in BC Parks, they are open for use by anyone. More info, details, trail map and directions to Wedgemount Lake, click here..
Parkhurst Ghost Town
Interesting ruins of this abandoned ghost town overlook Green Lake
Parkhurst Ghost Town can be reached by snowshoeing the wonderful new section of the Sea to Sky Trail that runs along the far side of Green Lake. The trail starts at both ends of Green Lake. One end is near Whistler Village close to Lost Lake and the other is north of Green Lake at the turnoff to Wedgemount Lake from the Sea to Sky Highway. In the winter the Lost Lake area has an access trail fee. The far end of the Green Lake section of the Sea to Sky Trail is free to enter and closer to Parkhurst Ghost Town. It is easy to find. Just north of Whistler, past Green Lake you will see the Wedgemount Lake sign on the highway. Turn right and park where you can, just across the bridge from the Highway. If you have a 4x4 vehicle and are confident in driving in snow you may be able to park at the Whistler Paintball parking area about 1k further along. This will save you walking along the somewhat boring first part of the route.