Bushwhack WhistlerBushwhack is a term often used in Canada and the United States to refer to hiking off-trail where no trail exists.  Literally means 'bush' and 'whack'.  To make your own trail through the forest by whacking or cutting your way through the bush.  A bushwhacker is a term sometimes used to describe someone who spends a lot of time in the wilderness.  Bushwhacking is also usually needed to plot a new trail through deep forest. 

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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In Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park, some degree of bushwhacking is often needed in the springtime due to fallen trees blocking trails.  These deadfall trees are often so large as to permanently alter trails.  The Cheakamus Lake trail has several enormous deadfall trees that were so big that it was evidently found to be easier to reroute the trail than to chainsaw and move them.  This is especially the case when a huge tree falls in line with a trail and covers the trail for several dozen metres.  The tree would have to be cut in many sections and hauled away.  Adjusting the trail to pass alongside the tree is frequently the easier solution.  Huge trees that fall across a trail can simply have one section cut out unblock the trail.  You see this a lot on the Cheakamus Lake trail as well and because the trees there are quite large, the new deadfall trail adjustments are particularly impressive.  Deadfall is a fairly general term for dead and fallen trees, however there are slightly more specific terms to describe fallen trees based on how they fell.  A tree that falls with it roots is called a blowdown or windthrow.  Even a modest sized tree can pull out an impressive wall of roots, dirt and rocks a couple metres high, and the crater they rip open is similarly huge.

Deadfall Wall Parkhurst Ghost Town

Parkhurst Ghost Town Bushwhacking

Cheakamus Lake Deadfall

The picture shown here below is a massive deadfall tree on the Cheakamus Lake trail that caused the trail to be redirected around it a few years ago.  The Cheakamus Lake trailhead is found at the south end of Whistler 8 kilometres up a bumpy logging road that starts in Cheakamus Crossing.  Cheakamus Lake is one of several beautiful hikes in Garibaldi Park in Whistler.

Cheakamus Lake Map v13

Wedgemount Lake Deadfall

Wedgemount Lake is found at the opposite end of Whistler and also in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The short but steep 7 kilometre trail to Wedgemount Lake is crisscrossed with plenty of deadfall in the spring after winter storms have toppled trees.

Bushwhacking Wedgemount Lake Trail

Wedgemount Lake in Whistler

Dramatically Beautiful Windsnap

Another specific type of deadfall is known as windsnap.  These are trees that break apart somewhere along the trunk and leave the roots and some of the trunk intact.  Seeing these in the forest is always an impressive sight, owing to the tremendous strain that the tree must have been under in order to break along its massive trunk.  In a large diameter tree recently broken, the remaining stump will often have a jagged crown of spears pointing to the sky.  Other examples of windsnap you often see in Whistler will have twisted apart and left a bizarre spiral pattern in the mangled stump.

Windsnap Wedgemount Lake Trail

Wedgemount Lake Map v15

Windsnap on the Parkhurst Trail

This impressive example of windsnap can be found along the Parkhurst Trail and appears to have snapped and fallen back onto its trunk.  Parkhurst Ghost Town is located near the north end of Green Lake in Whistler and several nice trails lead to the old logging town abandoned in 1956.

Windsnap Parkhurst Trail

In the winter months heavy snow can weigh down branches and bushes, drastically narrowing trails.  A normally wide trail can become a narrow corridor hemmed in by heavy snow-laden bushes.  This is the usually wide Parkhurst Trail after just a few centimetres of snow. 

Snowy Parkhurst Trail

Parkhurst Trail Deadfall

Snowy Parkhurst Ridge Trail

Parkhurst Whistler Map v13

Ancient Cedars and Newt Lake Bushwhacking

The Newt Lake trail which extends from Ancient Cedars usually involves a bit of bushwhacking.  The trail is not well known and the wild terrain up on Cougar Mountain means that every winter leaves considerable deadfall along the trail.  The picture shown here is near the start of the Newt Lake trail and is a common sight along this rough, but beautiful hike in Whistler.

Newt Lake Deadfall

The Newt Lake trail from the end of the Ancient Cedars trail to Newt Lake is just 2.4 kilometres long, though much more challenging than the Ancient Cedars trail.  It winds through the weather battered and mangled rainforest up towards Cougar Mountain.  It is a constantly ascending and often very steep trail, though due to its short length most hikers should make it to the lake in just over an hour.  Starting from the Ancient Cedars trailhead/parking it is about a 2 hour hike one way.  Though it is steep and sometimes hard to follow, it is not so much difficult as it is exhausting.  The trail is extremely well marked, which is very helpful as the route zigzags constantly and the forest is scattered with deadfall.  This chaotic landscape makes the trail interesting and surprisingly enjoyable as your eyes dart from one interesting thing to another.  From deadfall craning menacingly over your head, to trees grasping enormous boulders with their roots, you find yourself often having to backtrack because you miss a tree marker and wandered off the trail to get a look at something wonderfully strange.

Newt Lake Lithophyte

After hiking the erratic trail though chaotic forest you come to Newt Lake, a perfectly serene mountain lake well hidden along the west flank of Cougar Mountain.  The wild forest trail fades away as you reach the shore of the lake.  On the right, you can cross a swampy area and climb up to a beautiful rock outcrop overlooking the lake.  The left side of the lake is far more interesting and scenic, though you do have to scramble over a massive boulder field.

Amazing Newt Lake

You have to be a little brave to crawl over the fridge sized morass of boulders that have crumbled from the steep cliffs above.  For the most part you can navigate a reasonably safe route, but occasionally you wonder if the next boulder you jump to will shift and cause the truck sized one next to it to tip over and flatten you.

Newt Lake's Wonderful Boulders

Ancient Cedars Map Large v10

Garibaldi Park Wildlife & History

Plants of the Whistler RegionA Passion for MountainsPlants of the Whistler Region is an excellent book that includes great pictures and descriptions of most trees you will find in Whistler. Small enough to fit in your pocket and comprehensive enough to identify most things you will encounter growing in the forests of Whistler. Along with conifer trees and broadleaf trees the book has chapters on flowers, berries, ferns and shrubs. You can find Plants of the Whistler Region on Amazon, the Whistler Library and at Armchair Books in Whistler Village. The author Collin Varner has a wonderful series of Plants of.. books on various regions beyond Whistler. Plants of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Plants of the Gulf and San Juan Islands and Southern Vancouver Island, and Plants of the West Coast Trail. In the last couple years he has started a new series of books. The Flora and Fauna of Coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest and Edible and Medicinal Flora of the West Coast: British Columbia and the Pacific NorthwestA Passion for Mountains by Kathryn Bridge is a fascinating look at Don and Phyllis Munday's prolific exploration of the mountains in BC.  Based out of Vancouver, they were dominant figures of the climbing community in the early 1900's.  In 1923 they visited their friend Neal Carter in Alta Lake(Whistler) and explored the mountains around the valley.. many for the first time!

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December hiking in Whistler is mainly done on snowshoes, though if it hasn't snowed for a few days, trails to Whistler Train Wreck and Rainbow Falls can ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
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In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

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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Cirque Lake is a wild and beautiful lake that hides high above and beyond Callaghan Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  What makes Cirque Lake special among the other sensationally beautiful lakes in the ...
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Sloquet Hot Springs is a wonderfully wild set of shallow, man-made pools fed by a small, all natural, and very hot, waterfall. The pools stretch from the waterfall to the large and crashing Sloquet River. The ...
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The short, winding, and ever-changing hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is the same as the much more popular trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail, and the trail quickly ...
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Russet Lake is a surreal little paradise that lays at the base of The Fissile, in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Fissile is the strikingly bronze mountain visible from Whistler Village.  From the Village ...
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