June Hiking Trails Guide in Whistler
June in Whistler is the first month of the year where you feel proper summer weather. And much like in May, Whistler hiking trails are frequently empty
This is of course due largely to the deep, lingering snow that makes the trails difficult and some requiring snowshoes to access. All the lower elevation hikes will be free of snow such as Cheakamus Lake, Ancient Cedars, Alexander Falls, Brandywine Falls, Nairn Falls, Train Wreck and much of the trails to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake. The hike to Russet Lake via Singing Pass is a good option in June. The trail is not too steep, though long. The trailhead is just a few hundred metres from the Whistler Gondola and runs in between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains on the Whistler side. After 3k you walk directly under the Peak to Peak gondola, as it passes far overhead. The trail continues steadily uphill through the deep forest, though very well marked trail which is used continuously in the winter by skiers doing the Spearhead Traverse. Snow will be encountered in June around half way up the trail so having snowshoes might be handy to avoid post holing at times. At 11k you reach the junction where you can turn right to hike Musical Bumps on Whistler (another 4k to the amazing summit), or turn left and reach Russet Lake and the beautiful little hut there (another 3k). You could easily argue that late June is the best time of year to hike in Whistler. No crowds, not that there really ever is in Whistler, with the exception of the Garibaldi Lake area in the summer and on other Whistler trails the odd weekends. In June there are no bugs. An extraordinarily wonderful thing, as you will appreciate if you can contrast the lack of bugs in June with the swarms of flies and mosquitoes you can encounter in July and August. Not that the Whistler area trails are notorious for bugs. But once you hike in June and suddenly realize you've not seen one single irritating insect. Hiking in July and August take on a previously unnoticed annoyance with bugs. The third great reason June is great for hiking is the occasion to camp on snow, and yet not feel cold. As the snow in many places you will find to camp would have reached 5 metres deep in the winter, it takes considerable days of hot weather to melt it by July, so in late June you may still be putting up your tent on snow, though be hot enough to walk around shirtless and shoeless. What a great time of year to be outside in Whistler. The difficult answer in June is when will the snow have melted enough to hike comfortably without snowshoes in the higher elevations. The simple answer is usually late June, but in 2011 and 2013 that date was well into July due to the extraordinarily late accumulation of snow. The BC Parks website has fantastic and frequent trail updates with regards to snow levels. So your best bet is to check before you go and remember that if there is a metre of snow you may find yourself knee deep at some parts without snowshoes. Likely though, many trails will be packed down by previous hikers, but you just never know how hard or soft, or muddy and wet a trail is. So if you have gaiters and snowshoes, they may save you some grief in June. On the bright side for June, if you are motivated enough for a little extra exertion that hiking in the snow requires, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable hiking experience. Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk, Wedge Mountain are examples of these incredible places to try in June. A sunny day, blue sky and pure white mountains have a majestic beauty that you just don't find in the summer. is one of the best hikes in June as it's reliably free of snow. Also, the snow you encounter has been well padded down by other hikers so even in May you can walk around on it effortlessly. To hike Joffre Lakes in June you just need good warm clothes, good waterproof shoes for the mud and snow patches and the foresight or luck to go on a sunny day. The lake is amazing in good weather so try your best to go on nice days. The various hot springs around Whistler are great in June as the roads are all free of snow leading to them. Skookumchuck Hot Springs and Sloquet Hot Springs can be done on one trip as they are on the same road (2hrs for Skookumchuck and 3hrs for Sloquet from Whistler). Both have excellent campsites. Meager Creek Hot Springs is still technically closed due to the massive slide in 2010 but can be accessed by the adventurous by wading through the river. Keyhole Hot Springs is also for the adventurous as it's tricky to get to, but well worth the 1.5-2 hour drive from Whistler.
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park in June
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is one of the best, moderately easy hikes around. Almost free of snow by late May 2016, the Joffre Lakes trail is ready to hike! The trail is well worn and easy to follow, doesn't climb too quickly, and is fairly short at just 5.5k to the end of the trail at the third lake. The third lake is the final destination for most hikers to Joffre Lakes Park but there are routes that continue much farther into the wilderness from the third lake.
There are three Joffre lakes. The first Joffre Lake is seen almost immediately from the trailhead and is a picturesque mountain lake with distant, snow capped mountains all around. The trail continues along the right side of this lake a few dozen metres from its shore. The second Joffre lake is about 45 minutes into the hike and is very beautiful. The bright, unnatural looking turquoise colour is breathtaking. This is a great place to stop for a rest and take in the view.
The resident birds immediately swoop on you if you have any food and will even land on your arm if invited. You should be able to reach the third and incredibly turquoise third Joffre lake in about 1.5 to 2 hours (from the trailhead). The third lake has several nice, though very rugged places to put up a tent. Most tend to set up camp in between the beautiful third Joffre lake and the monstrously beautiful Matier Glacier. A beautiful waterfall descends from the steep rocks above the lake. There is a prominent helicopter pad near the third lake as a sobering reminder of how dangerous the area can be.
If you are adventurous, skilled and knowledgeable about scrambling and climbing on and around glaciers there is a bonanza waiting for you in Joffre Lakes Park. There are four named glaciers close to the third Joffre lake. Matier Glacier, Anniversary Glacier, Stonecrop Galcier and Tszil Glacier. Beyond Mount Matier there are two more, Twin One and Hartzell.