Parkhurst Ghost Town Whistler Snowshoeing
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.
If you you don't have a 4x4 and park near the highway turnoff the route is easy to follow. At the first Sea to Sky Trail sign under the Wedgemount sign, follow the snowy road to the right. This road runs parallel to the train tracks, Green River and Highway which will be to your right. After 1 kilometre you will come to the Whistler Paintball parking area, bear right and continue along the snow buried road. After a couple hundred metres you will see the Sea to Sky Trail branch off of the road to your left past a yellow gate. This route is fairly difficult and at times hard to follow as the deep snow obscures the trail. The better, easier and shorter route is to continue straight (don't go left at the Sea to Sky Trail sign and don't cross the yellow gate). You will now be walking along the wide, snow buried logging road that runs parallel to the Green River and after a few minutes you will cross the Green River and have the train tracks to your right. This is when the trail finally becomes very scenic as you will be snowshoeing through a huge meadow with some nice views. Keep walking with the train tracks on your right and in a few minutes the meadow will narrow and keep your eyes out for the "Green Lake Loop/Parkhurst" trail sign. This trail is very easy to follow as there are frequent yellow trail ribbons in the trees. This trail takes you into the deep forest and gently ascends up to Parkhurst. Once at Parkhurst the yellow ribbons stop and you will run into various Ghost Town sights spread over about a 4 kilometre square area.
It is possible to connect to the Sea to Sky Trail from Parkhurst and continue snowshoeing to Whistler. It can be tricky to find however as the summer trails are unmarked and hard to follow when buried in snow. You can however, quite easily walk in the direction of the Sea to Sky Trail and when you reach the power lines and the clear cut forest underneath, look for the wide path that connects to the Sea to Sky Trail. The blue dotted trail on the map above is one of many possible unmarked routes in the snow you can take.
The town was once a thriving logging community, but when logging stopped here in the 1950's so did life in the town. As recently as a decade ago there were several old houses still standing, however, heavy snow and the wet climate have flattened almost all of them now. Still, it is a wonderful glimpse of the past and remarkably untouched.
Free Snowshoeing Access and Parking to the Trail to Parkhurst
Zero your odometer at Village Gate Boulevard and proceed north on Highway 99. At 11.3km a sign will direct you to turn right to "Wedgemount(Garibaldi) Trailhead". Turn right here and cross the bridge over Green Lake and you will see the sign for Wedgemount Lake and the small Sea to Sky Trail sign attached to it. Park here and snowshoe to the right, following the Sea to Sky Trail signs. Further along you will pass the Whistler Painball parking area which you may be able to reach with a 4x4 vehicle even in the winter months.