Whistler Fall HikingSeptember hiking in Whistler is possibly the best month of all.  The snow has melted far up to the mountain tops, yet the temperatures are still quite high.  And just like that wonderful phenomenon of May and June, there are no annoying bugs.  And with the passing of the first week of September, the summer season officially ends, so the number of hikers dwindles to virtually none by the second week.

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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September is the time to really enjoy the mountains of Whistler before the temperatures plummet and the days shorten.  Whistler Train Wreck is always an impressive hike and in September you get the wonderful fall colours to add to the beautiful paintings and graffiti.  Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park is another bit of paradise in Whistler in September.  If you can manage the time or inclination, take 2, 3, 4 or even 5 days up at Wedgemount Lake.  The seemingly innumerable mountains to climb, glaciers to explore and incomprehensible sunsets to see make this place a phenomenon of the Garibaldi Ranges.  You can even base yourself out of the wonderful and free Wedgemount Lake hut.  Though with the mild evening temperatures and no insects, sleeping under the stars is an appealing option.  Garibaldi Lake, so frequently busy all summer, now quiets down and regains that desolate feel you come to expect when hiking in Garibaldi Park.  A night at Garibaldi Lake, another at Panorama Ridge and a third at Helm Creek via Black Tusk, and exiting via Cheakamus Lake (if you have two cars for each trailhead), is an amazing trip.  There is just so much to see in Garibaldi Park, especially in this little Garibaldi LakeBlack Tusk region, that a few days is far better than one or two days.  Elfin Lakes at the bottom end of Garibaldi Park in Squamish is also fantastic in September, though still busy on weekends throughout the year.  But then it's just that good, and fortunately is expansive enough to accommodate quite a few hikers easily.

Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls

Stawamus Chief Hike in Whistler in SeptemberSquamish also has the Stawamus Chief, the great monolith of rock towering over the Sea to Sky Highway.  The Chief and Shannon Falls are a great half day trip from Whistler any month of the year and both are dog friendly.  Closer to Whistler, there are a few very good dog friendly hiking options.  The Sea to Sky Trail that runs throughout Whistler is very dog friendly and amazingly scenic in September.  Ring Lake and Conflict Lake up in the Callaghan Valley, south of Whistler and very beautiful and amazing in September when all the lingering snow has melted.  Though it is not unusual to find Ring Lake partly frozen in August

Ring Lake Frozen in August!

Ring Lake Still Frozen in August

All of the best hikes in and around Whistler are worth exploring in September.  These include Black Tusk, one of the most incredible hikes in Whistler, and a Whistler icon.  Though a long hike, 15 kilometre roundtrip, the breathtaking and scary final ascent, makes the summit view even more memorable.  You will see Black Tusk as you approach Whistler, about 30 minutes south on the Sea to Sky Highway.  Hard to believe, but you can actually get to the summit of this absurdly vertical rock, and without special equipment or skill.  Black Tusk is the amazing pinnacle of volcanic rock visible for hundreds of kilometres and located near the centre of Garibaldi Park.

Best Whistler Hiking September – Black Tusk

Black Tusk Hike Rating AugustBlack Tusk, along with The Chief in Squamish are the most astoundingly noticeable peaks in the Garibaldi Ranges.  170,000 years ago the Black Tusk was created when a lava dome formed within a million year old, volcanic cinder cone.  The cinder cone is crumbling away, revealing the starkly black, hardened lava dome within.  Looking at the Black Tusk from a distance, two things seem incredible.  First, that such an unusual thing formed, and second that there is a trail that takes you to its peak.  With a little sketchy and dangerous, though non technical climbing, you can get to the top of Black Tusk.  It is a fairly long dayhike as you cover 30k on the roundtrip hike.  There are three very nice campgrounds in the area allowing for a beautiful, multi-day hiking trip to the area.  Helm Creek one one side of Black Tusk and Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campgrounds on the other side provide dozens of beautiful places to put up a tent.  The final ascent of Black Tusk is a bit scary and dangerous so be prepared.  You have to climb a narrow, steep and crumbly chute up about 10 metres to reach the top.  Quite a few people don't climb this last part and instead just take in the extraordinary views from the base.  Either way, Black Tusk is unquestionably one of the best of the best hikes in the Whistler area and in Garibaldi Park.

Black Tusk Hike in Whistler in September

Black Tusk Chute View of Mt Garibaldi

Black Tusk Large Map v20a

More hiking information for hiking Black Tusk in September click here.

Best Whistler Hiking September – Cirque Lake

Cirque Lake August Hike RatingCirque Lake in the Callaghan Valley (30 minutes south of Whistler Village) is accessible via a short canoe trip across the Callaghan Lake.  Located well off the radar in the Callaghan ValleyCirque Lake is a tough, very steep, though short hike to an extraordinarily beautiful cirque lake, high above Callaghan Lake.  A cirque lake is formed out of a few interesting, alpine occurrences, combining.  To form a cirque lake, a glacier must be a combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow, protected in this way, grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin. Eventually a magnificently circular lake is formed with steep sloping sides all around.  Cirque Lake is a wonderful example of this interesting glacier formed world in the mountains.  Largely sheltered from the wind, your campsite at Cirque Lake will be spectacularly serene, and the lake before you, incredible.

Cirque Lake - Hike in Whistler in September

Getting to Callaghan Lake and Cirque Lake

Callaghan Lake Hike in Whistler SeptemberCallaghan Lake is accessible via an 8 kilometre weather battered and very potholed forest service road. The entire road is cratered with deep potholes, cut by frequent cross-ditches, and more recently a small section collapsing into the valley below. This logging road begins high up in the Callaghan Valley, which itself is largely overlooked by travellers to Whistler. The Callaghan Valley is home to quite a few natural and man-made attractions. Brandywine Meadows, Alexander Falls, Northair Mine and Mount Sproatt are all found in the valley. Recently, the 2010 Olympic Games produced the largest man-made attraction in Callaghan Valley, Whistler Olympic Park. Though Cirque Lake is tremendously far into the wilderness, the amount of hiking required to reach it is effectively less than two kilometres.  Another two kilometres of canoeing is required to reach the trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake. But for such an enchantingly beautiful, mountain lake, the exertion to reach it is remarkably little.

Cirque Lake Trail View of Callaghan Lake

To reach the very hidden trailhead to Cirque Lake, paddle your canoe towards the waterfall far off in the distance. Not until you are only 50 metres from the shore, nearest the sound of the now hidden waterfall, you will see a small clearing jutting out from the shore, this is the trailhead, despite it not looking like one. Pull your canoe up here and drag into the bushes. Only a few metres into shore you will notice an obvious trail. There are even plenty of tree markers on the way. From here it is only an hour hike to the lake, though even steeper than the Wedgemount Lake trail.

Cirque Lake Boulder Field Hike in Whistler in September

About two thirds of the way up the trail you will come to a massive boulder field. The trail emerges from the forest into this field and cuts across it.  You then hike the precarious boulder field along the right side.  The route zig-zags all the while following several not so obviously placed cairns and orange trail marker ribbons.  At the top of the boulder field you will have to climb up a narrow cliff gap with an impressive array of brutalized krummholz trees.  These boulder mangled trees, bent and twisted by the crushing weight of snow and rockfalls.  From this gap to Cirque Lake is only another 15 minutes of ever more beautiful views.

Cirque Lake is amazing in September, for more info, maps and pictures continue here..

Best Whistler Hiking September – Panorama Ridge

Panorama Ridge August Hike RatingPanorama Ridge, an unbelievable 30 kilometre roundtrip hike that passes the flower filled Taylor Meadows campground, Black Tusk and beautifully turquoise Garibaldi Lake and of course best done via these other sights over 2-4 days.  Panorama Ridge is beautiful and challenging hike and the views from the ridge are unbelievable.  Panorama Ridge is easily one of the most amazing hikes in Garibaldi Park and September is arguably the best month to see it.  No bugs, still warm weather and few other hikers in the park to distract from the tranquility.  The 15 kilometre hike from the trailhead at Rubble Creek to Panorama Ridge takes you through beautiful and deep forests, across countless idyllic streams, through meadows filled with flowers, and past dozens of jaw dropping viewpoints.  The amazing views start once you reach Taylor Meadows and get even more spectacular as the trail progresses.

Panorama Ridge Hike in Whistler in September

Panorama Ridge Profile View of Hiker

Panorama Ridge Map v14

Panorama Ridge is wonderful in September, more info here..

Best Whistler Hiking September – Joffre Lakes

Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes is one of the most beautiful lakes you are likely to ever see.  There are three lakes and they get progressively more beautiful.  By the third lake the intense blue is breathtaking.  The mighty Matier Glacier rises above the third lake, making the experience even more spectacular.  The trail is rough and tricky in some parts, but not terribly difficult.  The trail is 5k to the third lake so give yourself 1.5 - 2 hours(one way).  Lots of trail construction work happened in 2013 and even a new section of trail was built just before the third(Upper Joffre) lake. Upper Joffre Lake ends in a U-shaped valley where you will find the far side of the lake towering with glaciers relentlessly crushing down on the lake.  The sun fills the valley and the silence is wonderful.  September marks the end of the busy, summer hiking season and after the 8th of September it becomes a rarity to see other hikers on the trail.  September is also amazing in Joffre Lakes as annoying mosquitoes and flies have long disappeared for the year and nothing but the hilarious swooping birds to break the silence.  **Unfortunately, Joffre Lakes was closed by Bob Austad the Executive Director of BC Parks in the spring of 2020.  The reason given was to protect the public from Covid, however Joffre Lakes remained closed long after other parks reopened.  The closure remains intact well into fall as Austad has evidently concluded that a decade of rapidly increasing popularity of Joffre Lakes and no attempts to accommodate all the new hikers may have been irresponsible.  His solution to just keep it closed, blame it on Covid, and hope the problem goes away is at least consistent with previous years of inaction.**

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park Hike in Whistler in September

Joffre Lakes Map v14

Best Whistler Hiking September – Brandywine Meadows

Brandywine Meadows Hike in Whistler in SeptemberBrandywine Meadows is a great hike in September as well.  Dog friendly and though a muddy trail much of the summer, comparatively dry in September and still alive with beautiful flowers.  Brew Lake is another dog friendly, though fairly tough hike, with beautiful views down to Daisy Lake from the trail.  Brew Lake is another lake often frozen as late as July still, so September makes it a great one to try.  The trailhead, a bit surprisingly, is not far from Brandywine Falls.  If driving from Whistler Village, the Brew Main FSR is just before Brandywine Falls on your right.  Don't expect any facilities on any of these three beautiful hiking destinations.  They are well off the beaten track, not in Garibaldi Park, and wild, desolate and beautiful.  Brandywine Meadows is a nice hike in a massive flower filled valley high up in the Callaghan Valley.  Located 40 minutes south of Whistler, this tough and sometimes muddy trail gains a huge 550 metres of elevation in just 3k (trailhead to valley).  The trailhead is tricky to find and involves a fairly long gravel road journey that is passable without a 4x4, but barely.  Not that the road is potholed, which it is, but that it is at times very steep and strewn with loose boulders.  Brandywine Meadows is used mainly for snowmobiling in the winter months and the bumpy ex-logging road to the trailhead is in poor condition in the summer.  The hike is consistently very steep for the first two kilometres.  It is at times scenic though, despite being in very deep forest.  The trail runs parallel to Brandywine Creek, which is steeply flowing, very loud and quite beautiful at various vantage points.  After two kilometres on the Brandywine Meadows trail, the elevation gain levels off and you catch several alpine mountain peaks through the trees.  And finally reaching the meadows, the amazing valley stretches into the distance, ending at the formidable mountains.  This hike is best done in early July as you tend to avoid the onslaught of mosquitoes that the area is rife with later in the summer months.  Early July and September keep you relatively safe from the swarms, though not entirely!

Brandywine Meadows Paradise on an Erratic

Brandywine Meadows Hike in Whistler September

Brandywine Meadows Map v8

Best Whistler Hiking September – Brew Lake

Brew Lake Hike in Whistler SeptemberBrew Lake is beautiful mountain lake just a short drive south of Whistler and is relatively unknown and seldom hiked.  In July you will find patches of snow on the trail and often lots of snow at the lake.  In September you should find Brew Lake a wonderfully warm place to visit.  The lake lays in a massive alpine valley of enormous erratics scattered around and in the lake.  On first seeing Brew Lake it looks serene, yet wild and hostile.  The lake is surrounded on one side by idyllic tree covered hills and lakeside cliffs and on the other side a brutal looking wasteland of huge boulders sloping up from the lake to the skyline.  Hiking into this wasteland of erratics reveals an amazing paradise of small, island forests, cute streams and endless worlds within worlds to explore.  You find yourself wandering along like a kid mesmerized at what you will find next.  Brew Lake itself doesn't come close in wow factor to the postcard-perfect alpine lakes such as Wedgemount Lake, Joffre LakesCheakamus Lake or Garibaldi Lake, but I does beat these lakes in other aspects.  Because Brew Lake is outside of Garibaldi Park few people have heard of it.  More often than not you will have both the lake and entire valley to yourself.  An increasingly rare occurrence elsewhere that gives the place a quiet calm and that strange and satisfying feeling that there are no other humans for quite some distance.  You have that exhilarating wilderness feeling that sometimes gets lost on other Whistler area hikes when you start the trail from a parking lot packed with cars.  The fact that the Brew Lake trail doesn't have a parking lot or proper trailhead actually makes it more mysterious, adventurous and in some way.

Brew Lake Trail view of Black Tusk

Brew Lake Hike in Whistler in September

Brew Lake Map v18

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Tom Fyles (27 June 1887 - 27 March 1979) was an astoundingly skilled climber that figured prominently in the climbing community of Vancouver for more than two ...
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Bivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

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Ring Lake is a fantastically serene and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake, but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre(6.2 mile) hike takes you through a rarely hiked forest, ...
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