Whistler Train Wreck Whistler Running Routes and Trail Maps
The Whistler Train Wreck is a very convenient and amazingly beautiful trail run. It's convenient as it is just south of Whistler with parking just metres from the Sea to Sky highway. And it's amazingly beautiful as it runs through a wonderfully varied terrain of dense forest, train tracks, sunny clearings overlooking the crashing Cheakamus River and of course the wildly beautiful train wreck itself.
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 trail run. Though somewhat short, running to the end of the train wreck near the train tracks is just under 3k, then retracing your steps makes the run almost 6 kilometres. And of course repeating the run, which allows for some variation within the spider web of trails near the wreck can enjoyably double the run distance to 12k.
It's recent evolution into a manicured bike park has made it into a wonderful trail run as well. It's growing use as a convenient running route from people arriving and departing Whistler on holiday is apparent, though barely. It's still almost always wonderfully serene, and always wonderfully surreal.
The first part of the Train Wreck is not train wreckage, but instead some amazing views of the Cheakamus River. This extraordinarily beautiful river crashes violently through here and various viewpoints can be found along the trail. After a few amazing viewpoints, the Cheakamus River forces you back towards the train tracks. Walk past this bend in the river by keeping well left of, off and away from the train tracks.
The trail picks up again on the left and descends into the forest again. This is the stretch of forest that contains seven train wrecked cars strewn over one kilometre. Some perched at the edge of the Cheakamus River, others mangled against trees. It is amazing to see the impossibility of where they rest.. with huge trees all around. In the decades since they crashed and wrecked here, trees have grown all around.
There trail is easy to follow and well used. There is only one part of the trail that may get you lost. About five minutes into the trail you will exit the forest and walk along a wide, clear gravel area. Keep your eyes out for the trail across the clearing.
Walk through the trees for about 100 metres and you will see and hear the Sea to Sky Highway ahead. You have to turn left here and follow the trail to the river where the highway overpass it. Continue along the trail under the overpass and continue on the trail. At this point you will be walking in a strip of forest about 40 metres wide with the highway to your right and the train tracks about 30 metres to your left. Follow this trail for a couple minutes as it winds past enormous and ancient, giant cedar tree stumps. You will abruptly come to a small creek in your way. This "creek" comes from a giant drainage pipe under the highway.
At the creek look to your left and you will see the trail lead to the train tracks, don't cross the tracks, but rather, just before the tracks turn right, follow the trail at the edge of the tracks past and over the creek and then pick up the trail again as it veers away from the train tracks into the trees again. Just ahead the trail will end at the train tracks and you will have to carefully cross the tracks here (the only train tracks crossing you will need to do). Keep in mind that walking along the train tracks is illegal and potentially dangerous. Fortunately, travelling on the train tracks to access the Whistler Train Wreck is completely unnecessary.
Directions to the Whistler Train Wreck Trailhead (Flank Trail) and Parking:
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.
Trailhead Directions & Trail Map Printer, Smartphone & Tablet Friendly
Printer, smartphone and tablet friendly. Designed to fit standard printers and copiers. To print: Right click on the map below, save image as, save to desktop, then open the image and print on standard size printer paper. Cell coverage is reliable on all of the trail to Whistler Train Wreck so you will be able to access the internet if you have a data plan, however saving this map to your smartphone or tablet may be a good idea.
Other Trails Runs Near Train Wreck Whistler Trail Running
If 5 kilometres is not enough for you, there is an amazing route around Alta Lake that you can run. Once again, you can start in Whistler Village and run along the Whistler Golf Course on the Valley Trail, continue past Blueberry Park, Lakeside Park and Wayside Park. You then round the south end of Alta Lake and head north on the Valley Trail, then along Alta Lake Road for 1.3 kilometres. Alta Lake Road is a fairly quiet road and has some great views of the lake. You then rejoin the Valley Trail at Rainbow Park and continue along the River of Golden Dreams to Lorimer Road... Lost Lake, in the opposite side of Whistler Village is also home to some great trail running and the most straight forward route is the Lost Lake 6k. From Blackcomb Way in the Village, the Valley Trail takes you across Fitzsimmons Creek by way of a picturesque, covered bridge. After the bridge, turn left and follow the Valley Trail through the forest keeping the Fitzsimmons Creek on your left... Past Lost Lake, the Lost Lake trail ends at a beautiful bridge over Fitzsimmons Creek near the Nicholas North Golf Course. If you follow the Valley Trail across the train tracks and past the golf course's club house you will come to the boardwalk at the southern end of Green Lake. The views from here are amazing. On a sunny day, Green Lake is unbelievably green. This bizarre colour, along with the snow capped mountains all around make this a fantastic place to run to. You just have to backtrack a couple hundred metres to the Fitzsimmons Creek again to regain the trail along the river. If you keep the Fitzsimmons Creek on your left, you can follow it quite closely all the way back to the Village and where you started. The Lost Lake - Green Lake 9k is serene, beautiful and wonderfully varied.