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Whistler Snowshoeing Guide February 2017

Rent Snowshoes and Hiking Gear in Whistler

Parkhurst Ghost Town Aerial VideoParkhurst Ghost Town Aerial VideoParkhurst Ghost Town Aerial VideoParkhurst Ghost Town Aerial Video

Top 5 Whistler Best Moderate Snowshoe Trails

Brandywine Falls Winter Aerial ViewPorteau Cove Provincial Park Aerial VideoFlank Trail Tent - Whistler Trails

February Hiking & Snowshoeing in Whistler


February consistently has great snowshoeing conditions in and around Whistler.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold and wintery

Expect several days of -12c and of course much colder in the mountains.  February is a great month for trying some overnight snowshoeing trips.  There are even several huts that are available to use.  Most are free and some have a small cost to cover maintenance.  The Elfin Lakes hut is one of the nicest around, boasting solar powered lights Wedgemount Lake - Whistler Guide Februaryand propane stoves and heating.  It does cost $15/night to stay, but well worth it.  Elfin Lakes snowshoeing is featured in Whistler's Ultimate Hiking Magazine in April, and should hopefully inspire a trip to this spectacular place.. and at least a bit unexpectedly, a spectacular mountain hut as well.  Other huts around, include the Wedgemount Hut at Wedgemount Lake.  This is quite a brutal snowshoeing trip, but the hut at the lake is wonderful.  At the far end of the frozen Garibaldi Lake is yet another beautiful hut.  These are all usable by anyone, but as a courtesy to the people that take the time to maintain them, there is a small charge for the Garibaldi Lake hut and the Elfin Lakes hut. Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are amazing in February, though it is quite a strenuous snowshoe hike as it is consistently uphill most of the way.  But seeing Garibaldi Lake frozen over and surrounded by beautiful, white mountains is just great.  The fact that the trail to Garibaldi Lake is popular in the winter ensures that it is continuously packed down and easy to follow and snowshoe on with the exception of very snowy weeks.  Take a look at the top 5 easy snowshoeing trails in Whistler here... and the top 5 moderate to difficult snowshoeing trails here...

Whistler Snowmobile Tours

The Blueberry Trail is a relatively unknown, though amazing trail that ascends up to a marvellous cliff viewpoint, high Blueberry Park - Whistler Guide Februaryabove Alta Lake.  Geographically, the Blueberry Trail is opposite of Rainbow Park and can be accessed by either the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay (at the end of Crabapple Dr), or at the other end of the trail in Alta Vista (at the end of St Anton Way).  Either trailhead is just a five minute drive from Whistler Village.  It gets its name from the hill that rises above it named Blueberry Hill.  So well hidden that you won't find either trailhead unless you search for them despite being on all the maps in Whistler.  The trailheads do have small trail signs and once you are on the trail it is easy to follow, even in deep snow...

Cheakamus River - Whistler Guide FebruaryCheakamus River is located just 8k south of Whistler Village just off of the Sea to Sky Highway.  This well marked, though beautifully remote feeling snowshoeing trail takes you along both sides of the wildly crashing Cheakamus River.  Snow begins to fall in earnest in the Whistler area in November so the best months for snowshoeing the Cheakamus River are from late November to early April.  The best routes is to walk/snowshoe from your car for about 100 metres following the road to Cheakamus Lake.  At about 100 metres you will see a branching road go to the right and a large, vehicle bridge cross the Cheakamus River.  Cross the bridge and you will immediately see a trail on your left running along the river...

Elfin Lakes - Whistler Guide FebruaryElfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park is an absolutely phenomenal, though long, snowshoeing trail that begins at the Diamond Head area in Squamish.  From Whistler Village, the trailhead is just over an hours drive away, located near the south end of the massive Garibaldi Park.  The Elfin Lakes Trail is very well marked and maintained and leads to the wonderful, Elfin Lakes Hut.  This amazing hut sleeps 33 and is solar powered and propane heated.  There is a charge of $15/person to stay the night there which is a small price to pay for the beautiful comfort after the long, 11 kilometre snowshoe hike to get there.  This area is very popular with skiers as well as snowshoers in the winter and deep snow covers the trail usually from November to June...

Joffre Lakes - Whistler Guide FebruaryJoffre Lakes is yet another amazing snowshoeing trail near (kind of) to Whistler.  About 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Whistler gets you to the Joffre Lakes trailhead.  Located up on the Duffy Lake Road north of Pemberton, Joffre Lakes is well known for its incredibly surreal, turquoise water.  In the winter of course all three of the Joffre Lakes are frozen over but the trail is popular with skier and snowshoers between the months of November and early June (depending on snowfall).  Though the trail is fairly well marked and often snowshoe and ski tracked in the winter it is possible to lose the trail after dark or after or during heavy snowfall.  So caution should be taken on this trail.  Make sure you don't go snowshoeing to Joffre Lakes immediately after heavy snow...

Joffre Lakes Aerial Video 2

Nairn Falls - Whistler Guide FebruaryNairn Falls, located just 20 minutes north of Whistler Village is a nice, relaxing hiking/snowshoeing trail to a nicely constructed viewing area in the midst of Nairn Falls.  The popular trail is actually hike-able year-round, so you most likely will not need your snowshoes unless there has been lots of snow just before you go.  The nice trail runs along Green River for 1.2k.  The trail is well marked and doesn't gain any significant elevation, making it a very easy, kid friendly trail.  The viewing area is located within a bend in the falls/river and the churning waters rushes around where you stand, far below.  The water crashes through deep cuts in the rock and rushes into deep, green pools...

Rainbow Falls - Whistler Guide FebruaryRainbow Falls is a fantastic way go get yourself into some deep snow quickly from Whistler Village.  The trailhead is located just a couple hundred metres from Rainbow Park on Alta Lake which is another great place to snowshoe in Whistler.  The Rainbow Falls trailhead is the same as the Rainbow Lake trailhead, located halfway along Alta Lake Road on the far side of Alta Lake.  The Rainbow Falls Trail is short, varied and relatively easy.  This well used trail never goes in a straight line and goes up and down through a beautiful and deep forest.  There are no signs to Rainbow Falls and you will just see signs for Rainbow Lake and Madeley Lake...

Train Wreck - Whistler Guide FebruaryDecades ago a train derailed south of Whistler.  Over the next fifty years this wreckage has evolved into an absolutely amazing place to snowshoe, the Whistler Train Wreck.  The cost to clean up the wreckage was deemed 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 in the summer, and a great place to snowshoe in the winter.  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...

Parkhurst Ghost Town Snowshoeing in Whistler

Parkhurst Ghost Town in Whistler


Parkhurst is an easy adventure into a wonderful ghost town

Sea to Sky Trail Turnoff Near the Start of the Parkhurst TrailWhistler has an absurd number of beautiful and free snowshoeing trails and Parkhurst certainly ranks as one of the best.  Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on the edge of Green Lake way before Whistler was Whistler.  Up on the ridge where Parkhurst lies, the views are sensational. Green lake, a solid, frozen, unblemished surface.  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 snowshoeing 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, snowy meadow along the train tracks, to the snowy forest where you have to play a game of finding the next, pink tree marker or risk Parkhurst Ghost Town Blue Facegetting lost.

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.

Decades ago, logging instead of tourism was the town-supporting industry.  Eventually the logging industry slowed down and in the 50's, Parkhurst was abandoned.  As recent as the late 90's a few houses remained standing, but the merciless winters with crushing snow has collapsed all but one house.  There are a couple half collapsed relics, but for the most part the town has disintegrated.

Parkhurst Ghost Town House in the SnowUnexpectedly, even in the deep snow of winter, stumbling on remnants of the old town are frequent.  Countless half collapsed houses lay in the picturesque forest that has grown since the town was abandoned.  There are several abandoned vehicles in the town.  An old rusty car, an older truck, and an ancient and enormous logging tractor perched as it was decades ago, on the edge of Green Lake.  Quite a marvel to see.  Like a giant museum exhibit.

Just steps from the impressive tractor, if you are lucky and persistent, you can find another piece of abandoned tractor.  This huge and solid piece of steel, left so long ago, has had trees grow in and around it.  A large tree, over 50 years old now grows in a triangle shape through this ancient machinery.  Squeezing into the only shape it could, but bewildering to see.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Tent Above Green LakeIf winter camping or just getting away from the noise of Whistler interests you, Parkhurst is amazing.  With a tent on the edge of the cliff above Green Lake and silence all around, the sunsets are wonderful.

Of the many ways to get to Parkhurst in the winter, this one is the nicest.  You can also reach the town via the new Sea to Sky Trail.  Either from an alternate route from the Wedgemount turnoff or from the Whistler Village side at Lost Lake.  It can be tricky to find the town however as the trails are unmarked and to access the Lost Lake entrance to the Sea to Sky Trail requires paying a trail use fee for Lost Lake.  Another possibility is to walk across the frozen, Green Lake from the opposite, highway side.  If the ice is thick enough and safe to walk on, you can walk from your car to Parkhurst in just 5 minutes.  Just look for the giant tractor, it is easily visible from across the lake.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Aerial View

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