Sea to Sky Trail - Cheakamus to Whistler Village
On the Sea to Sky Trail signs you will see Athletes Village indicated. Athletes Village was built to house athletes for the 2010 Olympic Games. Since then it is now become the beautiful neighbourhood called Cheakamus Crossing. Cheakamus Crossing is surrounded by some amazing sights in Whistler. The Sea to Sky Trail runs along the huge and crashing Cheakamus River. Across the river is the sight of Whistler's most unique and extraordinary places, the Whistler Train Wreck. This wonderful area of train wreckage has morphed into an amazing work of art and an amazing detour just off the Sea to Sky Trail.
The Cheakamus Lake trailhead is located up the Cheakamus Lake Road about 6.7k from the Sea to Sky Trail. Trails run on either side of the Cheakamus River. There is a beautiful suspension bridge 2k up the river towards Cheakamus Lake. A nice hiking/biking routes is to go along one side of the river, cross the bridge and return from the other side. This is a nice 4k roundtrip detour from the Sea to Sky Trail.
The neighbourhood of Cheakamus Crossing is mainly residential, however, the huge HI Hostel has a nice Coffee Shop with a decent lunch menu. Across the Sea to Sky Highway you will find Whistler's industrial park called Function Junction. There are some local shops and one of Whistler's favourite breakfast and lunch restaurants, the Wildwood Cafe. Excellent prices and great food make this a worthwhile detour while in the area.
The Sea to Sky Trail crosses the beautiful Cheakamus River at Function Junction and continues north on the now paved section of the Sea to Sky Trail that is also the Whistler Valley Trail system. From Function Junction to Creekside (Whistler Creek) is 3.5 kilometres of easy, though ascending hills. The trail runs through the neighbourhood of Spring Creek before descending to cross the Sea to Sky Highway at the lights at Bayshore Drive. Astonishingly, this is the only significant, traffic related stop along the entire 33k route (the next Sea to Sky Highway crossing is via a Sea to Sky/Valley Trail underpass that connects the trail, uninterrupted to Whistler Village).
After crossing the Sea to Sky Highway the Sea to Sky/Valley Trail takes you past Alpha Lake and the beautiful Alpha Lake Park. Then the trail winds its way past the Whistler Train Station in Creekside and along Nita Lake through Eva Lake Park and Lakeside Park on the popular, scenic and historical Alta Lake. After Lakeside Park the trail veers off through the neighbourhood of Alta Vista, leading to the Whistler Golf Course which then leads to the underpass to Whistler Village.
The Sea to Sky mapboard just before the underpass is good to look at as you will be at the junction of the Valley Trail going in three different directions. If you have time to hike/bike around the Whistler Golf Course from here it is just a 5k route that has many nice views of the local mountains. The clear signs on the trail also direct you to Rainbow Park, which is a beautiful, lakeside park on the other side of Alta Lake with very nice views across to Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Once you enter Whistler Village you will find yourself in the midst of a terrific array of restaurants, shops, pubs and clubs. Fortunately, just like on the Sea to Sky Trail you will find frequent signs and mapboards directing you. To continue on the Sea to Sky Trail you have to make your way through the Village and to Lost Lake Park. From Lost Lake Park you can go around the lake on either side as the Sea to Sky Trail extends from just past the lake to rise quickly into the beautiful new section of trail above Green Lake.
Whistler Parks and Beaches Along the Sea to Sky Trail
Wayside Park sits near the bottom end of Alta Lake and at just 3 kilometres from Whistler Village is just an hours walk or 10 minute bike ride away. In the summer months, swimming and relaxing in the sun are the main attractions to Wayside Park. The piers are a fantastic way to view Alta Lake as it stretches north, edged by forest, hills and mountains in the distance...Lost Lake is a tranquil and secluded lake in the forest that extends from Whistler Village. Just a 20 minute, leisurely walk or 5 minute bike ride along the well signed Valley Trail will lead you to this beautiful little lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail turns into a wide and gravel trail as you enter Lost Lake Park. The main trail around the lake is a popular running route from Whistler Village as roundtrip from the Village, around Lost Lake and back to the Village in just 6 kilometres. There are plenty of nice viewpoints along the main trail as well as quite a few short trails that lead to several access points to the lake, some with great places to sit and relax in the sun and take in the view. Lost Lake has a very popular beach at one end and in the height of summer can get busy as it is the most convenient beach from Whistler Village. Blueberry Park is a very scenic and somewhat hidden park on Alta Lake just two kilometres from Whistler Village. If you have been to Rainbow Park you would have noticed three piers across Alta Lake surrounded by forest. These public piers sit at the edge of Blueberry Park, with the Blueberry Trail running from one side of the forest to the other. The park covers most of the hill beyond these piers and stretches between and connects the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay and Alta Vista(see map below). The beautiful, deep forest trail runs from the shores of Alta Lake in Alta Vista, up and across Blueberry Hill and descends again to reach Whistler Cay. Along the trail there are several beautiful viewpoints of Alta Lake in the foreground and the enormous Mount Sproatt beyond. Lakeside Park at Alta Lake in Whistler is a beautiful beach park just a short distance from Whistler Village. Located on the Valley Trail, it is just 2 kilometres or a 30 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride away. Similar to Rainbow Park across the lake, Lakeside has a concession stand for food and drinks, picnic tables, BBQ stands, canoe and kayak rentals a huge grass field, pier, a sandy beach and an elaborate little kids play are. Swimming and relaxing are the main draws to Lakeside Park, but fishing off the piers is a common sight as well. Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village. Located partway along Lake Placid Road just past the Husky and Nita Lake Lodge. This quiet residential street leads to this park that is home to tennis courts, a basketball court, beach volleyball, dog park, a kids play park, a floating dock, a pier and biking/walking/running trails everywhere you look. Alpha Lake Park has a much more local feel to it than other Whistler parks such as the popular Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Lost Lake Park. The abundance of trees and the irregular shoreline make the relatively small size of Alpha Lake seem quite a bit bigger than it is. Trails run around both sides of Alpha Lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail runs along the shore on the near side and a gravel trail runs along the far side. For more walking trails, parks and beaches in Whistler click here..
Sea to Sky Trail - Brandywine Falls to Cheakamus
This is an incredible section of the Sea to Sky Trail. The trail is filled with amazing highlights and viewpoints. There are three convenient places to begin this section of the trail, Brandywine Falls, Calcheak or at Cheakamus Crossing. All have free parking just metres from the trail and all are close to some amazing sights. This description will describe the route south to north as if starting from Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. From the parking lot (park outside the gates if closed), you will see the large Sea to Sky Trail sign and mapboard indicating where to go. You cross the covered bridge and the first fork in the trail with the Sea to Sky Trail sign pointing right takes you to the Brandywine Falls lookout in 300 metres. Just before the falls lookout there is another sign for the Sea to Sky Trail branching to the left for the Calcheak Suspension Bridge 4k and Cheakamus Bungee Bridge 2.6k. The trail descends and ascends past a few amazing viewpoints until reaching the incredible Cheakamus Bungee Bridge at 2.6k. This huge and very high bridge spans the enormous chasm across the Cheakamus River with breathtaking views all around. Across the bridge the Sea to Sky Trail route continues along the Bungee Bridge access road before again becoming the Sea to Sky Trail. The trail now becomes a narrow, dirt and deeply forested path that runs along the beautiful Cheakamus River and then crosses it at the Calcheak Suspension Bridge. Once at Cheakamus Crossing the trail continues along a quiet residential road leading to a bridge across the Cheakamus River. There are great trails to the right here along the river and one runs along one side and returns the other side. Each side 2 kilometres long and cross the river via, yet another suspension bridge. This is a great trail if you have the time or energy and is also great to try on snowshoes. Back on the Sea to Sky Trail you will be heading along the Cheakamus Lake Road towards the Sea to Sky Highway. Just before the highway you will see a Sea to Sky Trail sign direct you to the right and the Sea to Sky Trail joins with Whistler's Valley Trail. The Valley Trail system is Whistler is very nice. Wide, paved and with two lanes, the Valley Trail extends throughout Whistler passing through most of the beautiful parks and lakes and leading to Whistler Village.
Sea to Sky Trail - Lost Lake to Green River
Once the Sea to Sky Trail reaches Whistler Village the route to follow becomes a little confused. You have to pass through the heart of Whistler's wonderful Village. If you are on your bike you have to walk it as it is pedestrian only. If you don't want to walk you can easily plot a bike friendly route through the edge of the Village. If you would rather walk through all the action of the Village the most direct route takes you through Village Square and the heart of the Village.
The Sea to Sky Trail continues out the far side of the Village, first past Lost Lake, via Lost Lake Park. Lost Lake is a tranquil and secluded lake that hides in the forest extending from Whistler Village. Just a 20 minute, leisurely walk or 5 minute bike ride along the well signed Valley Trail will lead you to this beautiful little lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail turns into a wide and gravel trail as you enter Lost Lake Park. The main trail around the lake is a popular running route from Whistler Village as roundtrip from the Village, around Lost Lake and back to the Village is just 6 kilometres. There are plenty of nice viewpoints along the main trail as well as quite a few short trails that lead to several access points to the lake, some with great places to sit and relax in the sun and take in the view.
Lost Lake has a very popular beach at one end and in the height of summer can get busy as it is the most convenient beach from Whistler Village. There are several swimming platforms out in the lake as well as a wonderful and huge pier along the right hand side of the lake. An amazing place to catch the sunsets over Whistler Mountain. In the winter months when there is snow in Whistler, Lost Lake becomes a cross country and snowshoeing area and there is a charge to access the main trails around the lake. Usually from mid December to early April.
As you continue past Lost Lake you will see a small Sea to Sky Trail sign pointing to the right and directing you up into the beautiful trail above Green Lake that leads you up past Green Lake and comes out near the turnoff to Wedgemount Lake. This section of the Sea to Sky Trail above Green Lake is wide, gravel and somewhat steep. Lots of steep switchbacks get you ascending quickly above Green Lake. This section of the trail is remarkably windy which makes it quite fun as your view constantly changes.
This highlight of this stretch of the trail, apart from the beautiful views of Green Lake, is Parkhurst Ghost Town. Shortly after you begin your steep descent on the far side of Green Lake you will see an unmarked trail on your left. This leads you to this amazing relic of pre-Whistler history. Parkhurst was a small logging town several decades ago that was abandoned. Despite the harsh winters with crushing snow, one resilient house still stands. It has been adorned with an amazing and haunting mural of a blue face. Elsewhere in the area you find strange artifacts. An abandoned 1950's Corvette. An ancient truck. And down on the shore of Green Lake an extraordinary and enormous log mover(tractor) is perched on the shore as if waiting for the next batch of logs to move.