Whistler Trail Running - Where to Run
The Panorama 30k trail run is a testament to how amazing the view is from Panorama Ridge. The trail from the Rubble Creek trailhead is constantly ascending for almost all of the 15k trailhead to ridge. You gain 1520 metres in this 15k. This run is absolutely amazing though. You can run a partially different route there and back as the trail forks partway in, one way going to Taylor Meadow and the other to Garibaldi Lake. The trails eventually join again nearer to Panorama Ridge. The route is very well marked along the way and very popular all summer. Dogs are not allowed in Garibaldi Park. The winter snow takes a long time to melt this high up in the mountains so Panorama is really only suitable for running from mid July to late October most years. In August and September the valley will be filled with amazing flowers of various colours. On valley will be bright yellow, the next white, the next blue, the next red.. There are dozens of streams along the way which reduces the amount of water you have to bring. The final ascent to Panorama Ridge is up a fairly steep, though short glacier. It is safe, compact snow, that is easy to run/hike on. Previous hikers will have tracked out the route nicely and it will easy to follow to the impressive summit.
Why should you run the Panorama Ridge 30k?
An incredibly challenging distance to a phenomenal viewpoint. The route is amazing and spectacularly beautiful. The long distance takes you through a varied route that takes in glaciers, forest, fields of flowers and several lakes. Despite the huge distance of 30 kilometres roundtrip, the route is, for the most part, fairly flat. Much of the route is through Taylor Meadows and skirting between Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge. The final run up to Panorama Ridge is a relentless ascent, though only a couple kilometres the the magnificent summit.
The Whistler Trail Wreck 6k trail run is a magnificent jog through a surreal world of enormous paintings on and inside the scattered wreckage of a train from the 1950's. The seven mangled cars are distributed through an area about 1 kilometre long and trails have formed connecting them as well as various viewpoints to the Cheakamus River. The train cars, some on their sides, some upside down have been painted with vibrant colours and extraordinary designs, that each one takes you into a different, bizarre world. One unexpected surprise in exploring the Whistler Train Wreck is that the Cheakamus River in the area is amazing. A wide and thunderous waterfall descends into a canyon. Several great rock outcrops jut out above the river allowing tremendous views of the falls and river as it passes. The difficulty in jogging the Whistler Trail Wreck 6k is not finding your way, but not stopping at every amazing viewpoint or to look in every bizarre, wrecked car. The trail follows a small river from Function Junction at the Function trailhead to the Flank Trail, then cuts under the highway to reach the beautiful Cheakamus River some great viewpoints. This trail, after the viewpoints forces you back toward the train tracks further along where you have to run near the train tracks before you can again descend into the forest trails. This time the trails lead you throughout the train wrecked cars and over a couple of beautiful, wooden ramps before eventually leading to a dead end at the end of the trail. At this point you will have covered nearly 3k from your car and by running back, retracing your steps will end up being about 6k. This run is very dog friendly and usually free of snow from April to November. It is fun to snowshoe during the winter months, though considerably more strenuous.
Why should you run the Whistler Train Wreck 6k?
Such a bizarre and amazing place to run. The trails are narrow, treed and never in a straight line which makes the route very fun and interesting. Very convenient to run when driving to or from Whistler as the trailhead parking is just off the Sea to Sky Highway in Function Junction on Alpha Lake Road.
The Alta & Green Lake 17k is a wonderful figure 8 running route that takes you through trails along both of these beautiful Whistler lakes. Conveniently, you can begin and end in the Village and run an amazing 17 kilometres and never the same stretch twice. This is the only run on this list that you will need to have a map for. Even though you stay on the easy to follow and well signed Valley Trail, you come to several forks in the trail and a few street crossings that may cause you to lose the trail. Grab one of the Valley Trail Maps that you see everywhere or print out the small one here... and make sure you pencil in the route or have it in your pocket for the run. The run takes you along a beautiful and varied route along the very nice Whistler Golf Course with great mountain views and then along the Valley Trail that runs around Alta Lake. The trail then ends at Alta Lake road where you run along for almost two kilometres until you can veer back onto the Valley Trail at Rainbow Park. This carries you to the centre of the figure 8 and you then head out towards Green Lake via Meadow Park. After running along Green Lake you skirt the edge of the Lost Lake trails and Whistler Village before running back down the Valley Trail along Lorimer Road again and then back along the Whistler Golf Course to where you began.
You can of course park at the centre of this figure 8, at the end of Lorimer Rd. This is a convenient place to park if you are not staying in the Village or have parking there for free. Dogs are welcome along all of this route and it is entirely pavement so it is stroller friendly as well.
Why should you run the Alta & Green Lake 17k?
Running this beautiful route takes you past two amazing lakes with one amazing view after another. The 17k fly by as you take in all the sights. It is a challenging distance with lots of gradual hills. Despite its long distance, you only run a couple kilometres on roads and Alta Lake Road is a very quiet road. You see a considerable amount of Whistler in just one run.
The Wedgemount Lake 14k trail run is far beyond challenging. It is certainly the Whistler answer to the Grouse Grind. The trail to Wedgemount Lake is relentlessly steep as you gain 1220 metres in just 7k. By way of comparison, the popular hike to Garibaldi Lake, you gain just 900 metres in 9k. This challenging trail is wonderfully rewarded by the varied and rugged terrain that makes every step a concern. Several boulder fields, constant tree root avoiding and countless sections you have to scramble up on all fours. The destination is amazing though. Wedgemount Lake is a huge, turquoise alpine lake ringed with hostile cliffs and scree fields. But also, waterfalls, a massive glacier, and sometimes bright orange flowers growing out of the harsh terrain. The boulder field that the Wedgemount Hut lays in leads down to the rocky shore of the lake and there are a few amazing places to dive into the surreal water. Though you have to brace yourself, not just for the 5 metre jump, but the just over freezing temperature of the water. Wedgemount Lake is not for everyone. A brutal 7k up and a terrific, knee shredding descent. But it is amazing to run. Good to run from mid July until November most years.
Why should you run the Wedgemount Lake 14k?
It is incredibly challenging. Convenient to Whistler Village. Wonderfully varied trail keeps you interested. Amazing sights at the lake. Trail running to a glacier is amazing.
The Singing Pass 22k trail run begins on Whistler Mountain from either the Roundhouse Lodge or from the top of the Peak Chair. You can take a couple different routes and both are spectacular. Though you have to buy a summer sightseeing lift pass to access this one, the cost is well worth it. You ride in luxury up to the top of Whistler then run along ridges and valleys with constantly amazing views. You make your way along Musical Bumps which are the names of several mini mountains that extend from Whistler. Oboe, Flute, etc. This makes for a very challenging trail as you are constantly either descending, steeply into a valley or running uphill quickly. Mercifully, the gondola ride up avoided much of the elevation to start with, however you also have to deal with the relentless 12k, almost straight downhill slog to reach the village. This is very tough on the knees and feet, so if you have problems with these, beware. The difficultly of this amazing 22k running route is easily overshadowed by the amazing views you get. Distant glaciers, waterfalls, meadows, Lord of the Rings looking valleys. Much of the trail is just amazing. If you are tough enough, the route can be run in reverse for free. By starting at the Singing Pass trailhead in Whistler Village you can make that 12k, gradual uphill run and then take in the astonishingly beautiful next 12k and ride the gondola down for free. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on this trail as Singing Pass is in Garibaldi Park. Also, the gondola is open seasonally and may not be open when you want to go. Snow covers the trail usually from November to June every year.
Why should you run the Singing Pass 22k?
Singing Pass is an all-round spectacular trail run. Challenging and amazingly beautiful. Beginning at the Roundhouse and running out via Singing Pass makes the monster 22k run and little less daunting as you are descending for much of the last 12k.
The Rubble Creek Classic is a yearly trail run that takes place every year in September. This incredible run begins at the Cheakamus Lake trailhead and finishes at the Garibaldi Lake trailhead at Rubble Creek. This phenomenal run takes you along the beautiful Cheakamus Lake trail then steeply up to Helm Creek, then past Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge, through Taylor Meadows and then descends quickly to Rubble Creek. The distance is 25k and the linear route ensures that you don't run the same section twice making this run incredible. You of course need some pre-planning and a car at both ends. Also, the short summer season makes it only feasible between July and October as the snow in Garibaldi Park is considerable. There are excellent sign posts along the way directing you within Garibaldi Park. So, at first you need to follow the signs for Helm Creek, then at Helm Creek aim for Black Tusk or Garibaldi Lake. Once you near the Black Tusk area you will see signs indicate Taylor Meadows and the Rubble Creek trailhead. So as long as you know this you should be fine finding your way without a map. The trails are well worn and marked, and this area is very popular in the summer.
Why should you run the Rubble Creek Classic 25k?
Amazingly challenging and varied. The amazing things you will see in such a short amount of time. The race record is one hour, fifty minutes, 51 seconds.