Wedgemount Lake Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking in July
If you were to search your whole life for an absolutely amazing, astoundingly perfect, alpine hiking paradise, you'd have trouble finding a place as great as Wedgemount Lake. To start with, the lake is breathtaking. Every angle you look at it and every hour of the day it alters its appearance dramatically. From its wonderful turquoise, marble-like appearance reflecting bronze mountains at sunrise and sunset. To its startlingly vivid appearance in the darkness of night. Reflecting stars are as clear looking down on the lake as they are looking up at the sky.
The massive valley that contains Wedgemount Lake is ringed by impressive mountains and the ever-present Wedgemount Glacier that continuously pulls your attention to it. The trail that leads around the lake to the glacier takes only 20-30 minutes and is quite amazing to explore. Wedgemount Glacier, at its edge, has what is called a glacier window. A huge ice cave, created out of the melting underneath this huge, crushing mass of ice. You can get right up close to this impressive ice cave and have a drink of what was just moments before ice left thousands of years ago before Wedgemount Lake was called Wedgemount Lake.
Though glaciers can never really be considered safe to hike on, the Wedgemount Glacier is relatively safe. Hiking up the glacier by bearing left, close to the rocky edge will lead you after about an hours, very strenuous hiking to the top of the glacier into the Wedge-Weart Col. Wedge Mountain is the highest mountain in all of Garibaldi Park at 2891 metres, and Weart is the massive mountain to the left of Wedge if looking from the lake. The col in between them is amazing. The views all around are incredible. But the further you explore around Wedgemount Lake, the more you come to conclude that the entire place is wonderful. Just wonderful.
From the Wedge-Weart Col you can see the distant, very distant, Matterhorn looking, Mount James Turner. Wedge is the setting off point for this spectacular, multi-glacier, three day hike. Of course, seen from the col, your eyes tracing the probable route along the Lord of the Rings sized glacier valleys below. The feasibility of how anyone can find a way to its summit leaves you wide eyed.
Then you turn your eyes to Wedge Mountain right next to you. Nearly anyway. You climbed, breathless for hours to get where you stand at the Wedge Weart Col, and you look at the route (one of many routes) to the summit of Wedge, and your eyes get wider. From the col it is mystifying how the summit could be reached. But it can. Stand here long enough and a couple of determined hikers will trudge past you. Crampons punching into the snow, ice axe fastened to their packs, and more often than not, a leathery complexion that proclaims that Wedge is not their first big summit.
Turning your back on Wedge now you look gradually upward as the snowy col gives way to scree and boulders that lead up to Weart Mountain. This is probably the most climbed mountain in the area. It doesn't require special equipment, ropes, helmets, crampons, etc. Not usually in July anyway. And can be reached via the Wedge-Weart Col or more often down the glacier near the glacier window. About 300 metres past the glacier window, on the way to the col, Weart can be reached by hiking left up the steep scree and boulders along one of the many small, yet very tall waterfalls cascading down the rocks.
Weart gives you the best vantage point for photographing Wedgemount Lake as it stretches out, elongated below you until it disappears over the edge via Wedgemount Falls. Wedgemount Falls is 296 metres tall and can be seen at a distance from the Wedgemount Lake trail about 30 minutes from the end or top of the trail.
Back down at Wedgemount Lake, looking up the the towering Weart Mountain, there is an amazing glacier that connects Weart to yet another mountain, Cook Mountain. Cook Mountain is the easiest of all the peaks around. All other mountains around are very difficult, intermediate hikes requiring some expertise and very good health, whereas Cook is only moderately difficult. You do hike through quite a difficult boulder field much of the way and the trail is easily lost, but if you keep to the trail and a good pace its only about 90 minutes from the hut at the lake.
The Wedgemount Lake hut is located in the midst of the huge boulder field that cascades down from Cook mountain. Built in 1970 it has been well used and well kept as a base for hiking in this area. Despite the area being buried under metres of snow much of the year, the Wedgemount Lake hut is sometimes used in the winter. Wedge Mountain is a popular ski touring destination and can be reached on skis from Blackcomb Mountain, which of course lies next to it, with Whistler Mountain beyond Blackcomb.
The Wedgemount Hut is another aspect of this wonderful place that makes it an amazing place to hike. It is basic, but beautiful. It contains two large tables which are equally used as beds, a small window and a big loft area which could, though crowded, sleep four people. The hut could sleep six quite comfortably and eight a bit crowded. In the winter with snow outside, the Wedge Hut is extraordinarily warm inside. Kept clean by the rarely seen Garibaldi Park wardens, the hut has an outhouse close by that is up steep stairs, at least partly to keep it above the deep snow in the winter, but also to rise above the sewage tank below which is periodically helicoptered out.
The Wedgemount Hut is among the beautiful boulder field looking down on the beautiful lake below and the distant Wedgemount Glacier. A short, five minute walk down to the lake leads to some very picturesque and private rock outcrops perfect for diving in. Though even in the heat of July, the water hovers just over freezing. But its mesmerizing colour, brilliant turquoise, is dazzling up close.
Around the Wedgemount Hut there are ten amazingly luxurious, wooden tent platforms. All of them have great views and are beautifully situated to usually be well apart from each other. Having truck sized boulders all around makes them fairly easily separated. Up the hill from the hut, past the outhouse there are more tent platforms. Each, well hidden from below, so you have to follow the visible trails to find them. Despite being hidden they command great views as well and have the benefit of being near a little stream with excellent water.
Standing at the entrance to the Wedge Hut and looking down to the lake you might be able to make out several more tent platforms along the gravel shore of the lake. These are right on the edge of the lake with a stream running behind them. If you want a stunning view of the lake and glacier from your tent, this is the place to be. The glacier and lake fill your view, looking out from your tent and once in a while the soothing sound of the stream behind you is broken by the crashing of a rock slide across the lake. They happen fairly often. About every hour your heart skips a beat as the frightening rumbling sound of fridge sized boulders tumbling down to the lake.
The list of reasons why Wedgemount is amazing is quite long. The list of why is is not is pretty short. The trail is, by necessity, quite steep and very rugged. It has only a handful of highlights. A cute bridge 20 minutes into the trail over the crashing Wedgemount Creek is nice. The trees along the trail are often impressive. There are two massive boulder fields that make you stare for a minute. Some nice views back toward the Sea to Sky Highway from the trail. And the great view, though distant of Wedgemount Falls, crashing loudly 296 metres almost straight down.
The trail is fairly short if compared to other Garibaldi Park trails, at 7k, but it boasts the most elevation gain. Along the trail if you keep a good pace you will pass a few people who look like they are considering turning back. You may even see someone run past you on the trail, as Wedge-Runners, they are locally known, do the seemingly impossible. They can make the lake in about an hour.
A very fast hiking pace will get you to the hut in about 1.5 hours. A moderate pace takes a little over 2 hours. And if you are carrying a pack for staying overnight you may take 3+ hours to reach the hut. Coming down is considerably easier, however, the bashing your knees take from the jarring, downward hiking is for some, more painful than the route up.
The deep snow that accumulates over the long winter around Wedgemount Lake takes until July to melt. So don't be surprised to find a glaze of ice on the lake at the start of July. In 2011 there was ice on the lake until mid July, but that was unusual. There will be patches of snow near the top of the trail, early in July, but not so much inconvenient as it is a curiosity. Walking on snow in 22c heat is always fun. You won't need to bring too much water on the trail or at the top as there are frequent and excellent water sources.
July, August and September are the best months to hike Wedge, however, snow doesn't start accumulating again until November. There are annoying bugs to deal with during July and August. Mosquitoes and huge flies come out pretty strong. By September they have all but vanished, yet the beautiful weather remains. The grapefruit scented mosquito repellent you see for sale at most stores in Whistler seems to repel the mosquitoes surprisingly well.
Wedgemount Lake is an amazing place to sleep without a tent. You will often see people on those beautiful wooden platforms in sleeping bags asleep under the stars. Though the Wedge Hut is quite amazing, it is often empty during the summer as people tend to bring tents in case it is full, then end up using their tents on one of the great tent spots. The drawbacks for the hut are just that it is a bit dark inside and its about a 8 minute walk to reach fresh water. The hut is free to use and there is no reservation system. The parking lot at the trailhead is quite large and also no charge.
Helm Creek Campground Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking in July
Helm Creek is a beautiful, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek Campground it descends further along the Helm Creek Trail, until it joins the Cheakamus River near where it leaves Cheakamus Lake.
The location of Helm Creek Campground has two tremendous advantages. First it is just a great location. About halfway between Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around. Amazing fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk. Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you turn. And the campground area itself is very nice. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek. The area really has no trails except the Helm Creek trail that runs past it, but there are infinitely numerous directions you can wander. Exploring in any direction takes you to more and more pristine, green fields, streams, pocket lakes and mountain views.
Though most just use it as a base to extend onto Black Tusk, it is a great base for so much more. Helm Peak, Corrie Peak, Cinder Cone, Empetrum Peak as well as the more frequented Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake.
The second great aspect of Helm Creek as a campground is that it is quiet and serene when compared with the other two area campgrounds. Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are very busy all summer long. In fact there is a posting part way up the trail to Garibaldi Lake indicating how crowded it is and if it is full.
The reason that these two campgrounds are so much more busy than Helm Creek is not that they are nicer, but simply that their trailhead is closer to Vancouver where the bulk of the hiking traffic emanates from. The trailheads are only about 30 minutes apart, but that makes all the difference. For the serenity and accompanying beauty, Helm Creek Campground is well worth the extra 30 minute drive.
The trailhead for Helm Creek is the same as for Cheakamus Lake, so a beautiful multi-day hike can easily be done from here. Camping at Cheakamus Lake one day, then Helm Creek another, then Taylor Meadows another as you explore the huge array of spectacular sites in Garibaldi Park. If you are ambitious for a tougher hike you can link several hikes together, and in fact begin your hike at the Whistler Gondola. From there hike the amazing Musical Bumps via the High Note Trail out to Russet Lake. Another gorgeous mountain paradise and has a similar hut to Wedgemount Lake. From Russet you can descend down Singing Creek (rough, not well established trail) for 3k and arrive at the Cheakamus Lake Campground furthest from the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. Then you can hike 9k to Helm Creek.
If you can manage to park cars at Whistler and another at the Garibaldi Lake trailhead at Rubble Creek, you can do this wonderful array of trails linearly and take in a staggering array of stunning sights. Russet Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Helm Creek, Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake are the more well known highlights of an amazing route like this.
If just hiking from the Cheakamus Lake trailhead the trail has little elevation change for the first 1.5k. At 1.5k you will see a sign directing you to the branching trail to Helm Creek. This takes you down to the huge and gorgeous Cheakamus Lake to cross a nice suspension bridge. Then the steadily uphill grind begins, and doesn't end until you reach the Campground. The deep forest of towering Hemlocks and Cedars keeps the views to a minimum on the trail until about 5k after the Cheakamus River crossing where you run closer to the Helm Creek which can be heard crashing near the trail before it comes into sight. The total distance from the Cheakamus Trailhead to the Helm Creek Campground is 9k.
The campground is wonderfully laid out. With 9 well designed and located, wooden tent pads. Most are steps from Helm Creek. If it took you 1.5 to 2 hours to hike to Helm Creek, then it will take you about the same to hike to Panorama Ridge or the summit of Black Tusk. Corrie Lake is another interesting hike from Helm Creek. If you have ever hiked the High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain you will no doubt have noticed the surreal looking lake, well above Cheakamus Lake and looks to be almost hovering in the forest. Though a bushwack from Helm Creek, it is well worth the couple kilometres to reach. If nothing else, to say you stood on the shores of this remarkable lake.
A good idea if hiking to Helm Creek is to grab a topo map of the area then just pick a mountain and go. Every mountain you can point to on the map is a reachable and almost certainly, an amazing potential hike. And with the staggering array of choices, you will likely spot more bears than humans in such an unexpectedly secluded part of Garibaldi Park.
The hike from Helm Creek to Black Tusk is very beautiful. If you do it in one day from the Cheakamus trailhead to the Black Tusk summit you will likely take From the Helm Creek Campground and well worn and well signed trail ascends into the trees and almost directly aims for Black Tusk. Though still about 6k away, it dominates the view from all areas of Helm Creek. In July the snowline will be not too far above Helm Creek, though due to the gradual rise in elevation and weeks of warm temperatures, the snow is hard and easy to walk on without the help of snowshoes.
From Helm Creek to Black Tusk is about 5.5k and takes about two hours and there are a couple options. One of course is to keep to the marked trail as it runs past Black Tusk far to your right and get on to the Black Tusk trail up the conventional, Rubble Creek trailhead way. The better option from Helm Creek is to veer off the trail about 400 metres before reaching Helm Lake, cross the shallow, though wide Helm Creek and follow the obvious route to Black Tusk. This route is faster and absolutely amazing.
The terrain is breathtaking from the moment you leave the established trail until you reach the summit of Black Tusk. Though it looks daunting from the start, near Helm Lake, it is only moderately challenging. No excessive climbs, no ropes needed. The distance from the Helm Creek crossing to the summit is about 2.6k as you follow a relatively straight line. Climbing quickly and reaching the shockingly black rock that has crumbled from the Tusk. To your right you will eventually see the broad sloping side of Black Tusk give way to a massive valley of snow. To your left the valley descends away from you into a breathtaking valley of dead trees, green grassy meadows and the distant river flowing through the mountains.
This route joins with the normal Black Tusk trail route near the base of Black Tusk. From this point you walk the black bridge-like ridge of rock to touch Black Tusk itself. Then you walk the trail that runs at the top of the scree around the left side to reach the perilous looking chute up to the summit. This resting area has incredible views of the valley below and the amazingly blue Garibaldi Lake contrasting with the black rock all around and the pure white snow more distant.
This final chute turns back quite a few people at this point as it looks extremely dangerous. Chunks of rock tumble down it from people above. Handholds routinely crumble in your hands. And looking down reveals the distinctly real possibility of tumbling down a brutal scree slope for several hundred metres. There have been some injuries here requiring emergency airlifts out, however they are remarkably few.
If you have the courage to make this final ascent, you quickly realize that it is much easier than you thought. There are plenty of good hand and footholds along the way and the gentle slope ensures a comforting feeling of safety. This chute is just a dozen metres until it slopes to a crawling scramble and finally walking on top of the world with absolutely phenomenal views all around.
Whistler has a tremendous number of incredible hiking trails to mountains, lakes, waterfalls and massive forests. Here is a list of the best of the best starting with five of the best difficult, strenuous and long hikes. Though these first five can, and often are hiked in a day, they are possibly best done as overnight hikes to fully explore as well as enjoy, the phenomenal sunsets and sunrises that make them unforgettable.
Black Tusk is an amazing hike that takes you through forests of massive trees to amazing views of Garibaldi Lake, into fields of flowers in Taylor Meadows. Then into the alpine where you ascend rapidly up the pure black slopes to the base of Black Tusk. The final climb is steep and dangerous as you look back on a considerably painful fall of several hundreds of metres if you were to lose your footing.
But on reaching the summit the starkly contrasting colours of blue sky, black rock, turquoise lakes, green forests and white snow leave you more breathless than the 15k hike that brought you here. Then you stand on this Whistler icon and notice the curvature of the Earth and you spin around 360 degrees, looking over snow covered mountains in all directions.
Black Tusk is absolutely amazing and certainly one of the greatest hikes around Whistler. The trailhead is just 30 minutes south of Whistler. Black Tusk is located in the middle of Garibaldi Park, south of Whistler. It can be reached by two main trailheads. Either the Rubble Creek trailhead which takes you past Garibaldi Lake or Taylor Meadows and is 30k roundtrip. Or via the Cheakamus Lake trailhead taking you through the Helm Creek campground. This route is also 30k roundtrip.
Wedgemount Lake is a very different hike to Black Tusk. The hike is much steeper, but also much shorter at only 7k to the lake. And on the summit of Black Tusk you are not likely to camp, at Wedgemount Lake you are in the midst of a camping paradise. There is the beautifully cute Wedge Hut to save you carrying a tent. There are trails that emanate from the Wedge Hut in several directions leading to several mountain peaks, glaciers and even more lakes.
If you just want to relax by the lake there are endless, beautifully hidden spots near waterfalls, cliffs overlooking the lake, hilltops, glacier walks and of course plenty of sun warmed, truck sized rocks at the waters edge to lounge on. Within minutes of sitting down by the lake you will be visited by the local and very friendly marmots that live among the massive boulders that litter the valley. They whistle away and lurk in between the rocks waiting to steal some food.
Like Black Tusk, the Wedgemount Lake hike is difficult, and constantly uphill. Though you don't need ropes or special equipment, the trail is almost entirely steep and gains 1220 metres in only 7k. If you have a heavy pack, expect to take 3 hours to make it to the lake. If you are just carrying a day pack it should only take you 2 hours. The trailhead is just 10 minutes north of Whistler.
Russet Lake is a wonderfully spectacular and varied destination. For a start it can be accessed by trail or by gondola. By the Whistler gondola, it’s an unbelievable, yet arduous trek along the High Note Trail. The 22 minute gondola ride with its wonderful views of Whistler Village in the summertime, then from the top of the gondola, a wonderful walk to the Peak chair where the best is yet to come.
Any time of year the Peak Chair is like a carnival ride, exhilarating, and wonderful, but in the summer, it’s surreal as well. Great walls of snow pass under you far below, as you glide upward at times at a shocking degree. The incline of the ride is extreme, so steep as the breathtaking scenery cannot even distract fully from the nervousness you will surely feel as you glance down, 20 metres to the boulder field below. Then you arrive, the peak of Whistler, what a magnificent way to start a hike. You are still four hours from Russet Lake, but the adventure is well underway.
Cirque Lake in the Callaghan Valley, just 30 minutes from Whistler Village is a phenomenal and little known hike far above Callaghan Lake. It is very short at just 2k from the trailhead to the lake, but quite an elevation gain. 300 metres in such a short distance leaves you clinging to tree roots, grasping your way up the steep trail. One aspect of this hike that makes it remarkable when compared to most others is that you have to access the trail by boat. And the trailhead, though marked, is tricky to find.
As you canoe across the length of Callaghan Lake to the Cirque Lake trailhead, keep aiming toward the waterfall in the distance. The closer you get, the less likely it will seem to be the correct way. To the right the valley slopes away in a much more inviting angle. Keep toward the waterfall though and get ready for the next hour of clinging to the scarcely visible, though well flagged trail that snakes upward, often at a 50 degree incline, astonishingly close to that majestic waterfall. Your destination is one of those fantastic forces of nature, a cirque lake.
A perfectly arranged glacier is required to form a Cirque Lake. A magical combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow protected in this way grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin. Over a thousand winters you are left with a magnificently circular lake with steep slopes all around.
If you arrive at Cirque Lake, near Whistler, BC on a favourably sunny, summer day, you will almost certainly fall silent, gaze in wonder at this spectacular place, and feel in that moment that this place is as perfect as it is possible for a place to be.
Panorama Ridge is absolutely amazing. It lies so beautifully near the end of the massive Garibaldi Lake. With its unbelievable blue colour filling your view and the endless snowy mountains, the reasons for this destinations popularity are obvious. Despite the long distance, 29km round trip, which is exhausting, the views are magical. Often cited as the one hike to do, if you can only do one in Whistler.
Because of the long distance the elevation gain is gradual, at least more gradual than the hike to Cirque Lake or Wedgemount Lake. Another great feature is a little variation in the route between Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake.
Even though it is starts and finishes at the Rubble Creek trailhead, the trail splits part way up, branching into a trail to Taylor Meadows and another to Garibaldi Lake allowing for one route up and the other down. And another bonus is passing Garibaldi Lake which allows for a detour to a beautiful swim.
Give yourself 8-10 hours if you do this hike in a day.
The next five hikes are easy and/or short hikes that are relaxing, yet still beautiful. Much more suited for family outings instead of hard, multi-day hiking. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are far and away the #1 picks for easy hiking. The convenient, comfortable and relatively inexpensive gondola from Whistler Village, and chairlift from Blackcomb take you up to spectacular trails on the top of the world. Add to that the Peak to Peak Gondola and some great restaurants and in short, easy hiking doesn't get much better.
The High Note Trail, the longest trail at 5.1k is a wonderful hike, all million dollar views without the effort. The start and finish are at the top of the Peak chair on Whistler mountain, where you are carried in comfort to the breathtaking views ahead. Deep in the valley below you will see the impossibly blue Cheakamus Lakecontrasting with the incredible greens along the trail. Though the trail doesn't gain or lose very much elevation, it is still a fair hike at 5.1k.
If the trail gets too tiring, there is a shortcut home, the aptly named Half Note trail. This is certainly a must see trail and when combined with the Peak to Peak Gondola across to Blackcomb for dinner. Christine's, restaurant's fine dining on the edge of the world. A wonderful way to spend a day.
Cheakamus Lake is a locals favourite hike in Whistler. It is beautiful and remote feeling, yet only a short, easy and beautiful hike. Just 3k from the trailhead gets you to this massive, glacier fed lake. The trees in the forest are enormous, the bear sightings are frequent and the fishing amazing. The beautiful trail continues for about 7k in total then fades into an unmaintained trail that leads to an endless array of hidden, pocket beaches. Small enough to stay hidden from the world but large enough to accommodate a few people and a few tents.
Much of the trail to Cheakamus Lake runs next to the beautiful Cheakamus River so you are either enthralled by the huge trees or the beautiful river. But either way you will have a difficult time not loving everything about this hike.
The trailhead to Cheakamus Lake is just 25 minutes south of Whistler at the end of an 8k gravel road.
Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. The cost to clean up the mess 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, 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. A locals favourite spot for a surreal and amazing night out, or just a quiet campfire on the river.
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.
Nairn Falls, like Brandywine Falls is an easily accessible, yet wonderful, short hike to a spectacular waterfall. Where Brandywine Falls is majestically grand to view, as you must from a distance. Nairn Falls almost engulfs you as it wraps around you from your vantage point. They are opposites in every way, and because of this you should try to see both on a visit to Whistler.
There is quite a large and popular camping area at Nairn Falls that is popular with motor homes and tenters throughout the summer. Its location in between Pemberton and Whistler makes is a great pit stop on the way to and from Whistler.
Nairn Falls is located just 20 minutes north of Whistler on Highway 99. Just keep your eyes out for the huge sign on your right that says, "Nairn Falls Provincial Park". You can't miss the large parking lot on your right. From the parking lot the falls are only about 15 minutes away along the beautiful Lillooet River.
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is a must see on a visit to Whistler, due to it being so beautiful, and so quick and easy to get to. It is just 11km south of Whistler Village next to the Sea to Sky Highway. The Hike is very easy at just under a kilometre to the falls.
There is a beautiful viewing platform to see the falls from. They crash down impressively almost 70 metres into the valley below and then flow into Daisy Lake.
Brandywine Falls is located next to the recently built Sea to Sky Trail that connects Squamish and Whistler by hiking and biking trails. If you enjoy beautiful biking trails with lots of scenery this is a great place to go for a ride.
There are no camping facilities here and the parking lot gate is locked 11pm-7am daily. There was camping here in the past, but it no longer exists. There is no charge for parking. There are pit toilets at the parking lot. Several picnic tables lay at the edge of the parking lot is quite a beautiful, sunny setting.
The Brandywine Falls parking lot is also the trailhead to the beautiful hike to Brew Lake, 8.5k far up into the mountains above. Unfortunately, if overnighting at Brew Lake you must park your vehicle across the highway at a small clearing at the edge.
For a comprehensive listing of the various amazing waterfalls in and around Whistler go here..
Diary of a Hiking Guide: Part 1
Wedgemount Lake is incomprehensible. It is located so high up in the mountains as to take your breath away. It's turquoise, very turquoise. Unless you are one of the few that has seen it in the other half of the year where it is frozen over, then it is white. Kind of white. Clear really. If you see it in this way then you are tough. Tougher than the most. Hiking a tough hike through snow reveals a strength in you. You can die happy on a day like this.
Not a lot of people in the world have seen this lake. Any lake really. Frozen in the midst of towering mountains. In July.
July 18th. The middle of summer. Climate change. Global warming. You lose your grasp on words as you shiver in the July sunshine. Not cold. But looking on the frozen, jagged water you are about to jump into. The seven of you met only hours ago to climb this incredible trail.
Looking on the Saran Wrap of ice, you wonder how thick it is. If you can jump through it. Will it be thick? Will you break through? Why the fuck is there ice on a lake in July when it's hot, summer hot?
We ran there. Well, ran in a way. The Wedgemount trail is steep. So the Wedgemount trail run is a lot of walking. We walked for a lot of it. Ran some. But mostly walked. Hiked really.
There was the running obsessed Anita. 42, recently divorced and alive with strength and excitement. And an air of hatred and resentment that made us all step back. The two swedes. They ran together. Graceful and contented, happy and eager in their excitement about Canada. There were seven in the group. But they faded into the boredom that was forgotten as it started.
We all stood at the shore. Remembering that I was the guide and there was the script. I couldn't say the words out loud. Then I did. I couldn't stop myself. "Wedgemount glacier has receded 18 metres in 17 years. As you see it now. You can see the effects of global warming. The glacier before you is an example of how human profligacy is warming our world and killing us all."
As I read out loud the script I had read so many times. I didn't laugh. It was sad. Too sad. I felt a foreboding. What I said didn't make sense, standing in two feet of snow and shivering in the July heat. It didn't make sense in a world that was so sure that this snow should not be here. I didn't laugh because I felt for the first time the machine like way I read it. It looked true the other times I read it. This time it didn't. It really didn't. For fuck sakes. I was knee deep in snow and the goddamned lake was frozen. It was July. The fact that the impossibly blue water was impossibly frozen, was, in a word. Impossible.
It was then that I lost for a moment what was impossible.
The lake was frozen.
I was tired.
I was the first to break the ice.
Wedgemount Lake is one of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park. Though it’s a relentlessly exhausting, steep hike, it is mercifully short at only 7km. The Lake itself is a magnificent destination for a day hike or spectacular overnight among the dazzling mountain peaks and stars.