Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZBack in 2011 Kups, a Whistler local and now professional muralist painted a hauntingly surreal, blue face on the side of this house.  This beautiful mural, along with the fact that this is the last fully intact house in Parkhurst makes it the most well known and photographed structure in the old ghost town.  It is difficult to figure out why the Blue Face house outlasted all the others, but it appears to still be quite structurally sound.

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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The old metal roof is very well intact and all the walls are surprisingly solid.  The only significant damage seems to be from visitors yanking curtains down or smashing floor boards and wall panels.  Any windows that may have existed are long gone and there is no longer a door.  A hole in the ceiling has been clawed open to look into the attic which is also somewhat intact with insulation still lining between the two by four ribs.  There is even a cute little chimney poking out of the roof, though of course the stove is long gone.  There was an old rickety metal bed frame covered with a foam mattress, but now that is mangled across the floor.  There was some mention by the Resort Municipality of Whistler when they purchased this land in 2017 to restore this old house.  The long term plan is to make Parkhurst into a park somewhat similar to Rainbow Park in that surviving relics would be cleaned up and interpretive murals set up on front of them.  One tricky feature of Parkhurst that stands in the way of any development is the train tracks running through.  Developing Parkhurst into a park would encourage visitors to an area with multiple railroad crossings and an access bridge that is disintegrating.

Parkhurst Whistler Map v13

Blue Face by Kups

The mural painted on the front of the house dates back to 2011 when local muralist Kups painted it.  Back then the house was a blank canvas, now the inside is mostly covered in colourful murals and graffiti.

Blue Face House Inside

Blue Face House Parkhurst

Kups Blue Face Parkhurst

The Parkhurst Ghost Town Trails

Parkhurst Trails are Dog FriendlyThere are quite a few trails in and around Parkhurst and it can be confusing as you rarely see trail signs and several trails overlap.  For example, the Green Lake Loop is the original trail that ran along the back side of Green Lake and then did a loop through Parkhurst.  Because the more recently built Sea to Sky Trail overlaps much of Green Lake Loop, the two trails are almost interchangeable.  With the Sea to Sky Trail following a newer, more defined route, it tends to overshadow the Green Lake Loop.  Also, half of the loop in the Green Lake Loop has morphed in recent years to be called the Parkhurst Trail, as it is the most direct route to the old ghost town.  There are several ways to get to Parkhurst Ghost Town and they range from alright to amazing.  You can hike from the far end of Green Lake via the Parkhurst Trail (pretty good), the Parkhurst Ridge Trail (amazing), the Green Lake Loop (some of it is nice) or the Sea to Sky Trail(not great) ranging in length from 2.9 kilometres to 3.4 kilometres (one way).  Or you can hike or bike in from the south from Lost Lake near Whistler Village along the Sea to Sky Trail and/or the Green Lake Loop.  Starting from Lost Lake near Whistler Village, you can hike or bike to Parkhurst along the Sea to Sky Trail/Green Lake Loop in 6.2 kilometres.  It is a very nice and wide, gravel trail with a few hills as you ascend up the back of Green Lake.  There are several panoramic vantage points over the lake as you wind through the nice forest in a comparatively quiet corner of Whistler.

Parkhurst Map Complete v14

The Parkhurst Loop Trail

Parkhurst Loop Trail EasyThe Parkhurst Loop Trail is roughly a triangle with each side about 300 metres long.  This trail runs through the now deep forest where most of the houses once stood in Parkhurst.  Part of the loop trail was once an old gravel road which explains how the various wrecked vehicles managed to get there.  Wrecked, old trucks from the 1950’s, an old car from the 1970’s and dozens of collapsed houses lay rotting along this trail.  It is fun to wander through the forest here as you can never tell what you will find around the next bend in the trail.  The triangle shaped loop trail surrounded by deep forest is strangely disorienting.  You find yourself wandering for a while in a direction you are sure is away from Green Lake, only to suddenly emerge from the forest just steps from the water.  Unlike other hiking trails in Whistler where you have a set destination, at Parkhurst you have a non-stop series of curious structures, beautiful sections of forest and endless great lake views.

Parkhurst Loop Trail Map v3

The Parkhurst Sawmill Site

Parkhurst Sawmill Site IconThe old Parkhurst Sawmill was located on the peninsula adjacent to the old Caterpillar tractor.  A little bit of bushwhacking takes you into a surprisingly big clearing in tangle of forest.  The clearing is caused by the collapsed sawmill's metal roof covering the forest floor and preventing big trees from taking root.  You can only see some of the huge metal sheets as most of it lays under a carpet of forest that has settled in over the past 65 years.  The clearing is serene and cut off from the world by a thick perimeter of jungle, making it a sunny paradise on a nice day.

Parkhurst Sawmill Map v5

Venturing into the forest around the clearing you will encounter the huge, old chimney from the sawmill as well as a pile of bricks that once housed the sawmill's furnace that powered everything.  Further into the forest you will find two more logging tractors.  An old Cletrac tractor that dates from the mid 1940's and an unexpectedly impressive Caterpillar buried in the forest with its huge plow being lifted off the ground by several trees.  You will probably find yourself crawling around in amazement, peering under the 4000 kilogram plow, wondering how it is possible. 

Parkhurst RD8 Plow Lifting

The History of Parkhurst

History of ParkhurstThe small logging town called Parkhurst came into being in 1926 when the Barr Brothers Logging Company purchased the land from a recent widow looking to sell.  Mrs. Parkhurst sold the land and a small house which quickly transformed into several small houses, bunkhouses and a steam powered sawmill on the point of land that still conspicuously juts out from the shore.  Soon there were 70 loggers working the mill and living much of the year in the town that was now named after the original owners of the land, Parkhurst.  The Great Depression hit the logging industry hard and unable to sell what they produced and the mill went into receivership.  In 1932 the mill was purchased by another logging company and was back in business under a new name, Northern Mills.  It was to be short lived however, as a fire destroyed the mill in 1938.  It was rebuilt and the town once again grew in size to include a school and a store. Parkhurst continued as a small logging town until the logging industry slowed down in the 1950's and in 1956 Parkhurst was finally abandoned.

Parkhurst in the 1950's

The Famous Toad Hall Poster

When Whistler Mountain opened as a ski resort in the winter of 1965/66 and Highway 99 was constructed thousands of skiers flocked to Whistler.  Transient skiers discovered Parkhurst and lived in some of the remaining houses.  Ski bums inhabited every available space to sleep in Whistler and gave birth to the legendary Toad Hall on Alta LakeToad Hall, a rented house, became a party house that gained a reputation known Canada wide.  In 1969, when the owners discovered what was happening they evicted the residents and demolished the house.  Within months, Toad Hall was resurrected near Parkhurst at the north end of Green Lake.  The Soo Valley Logging Company had recently vacated their logging camp and it was taken over by skiers.  This second incarnation of Toad Hall became the one famously memorialized in the photo of the naked skiers.  The second Toad Hall was scheduled for demolition in the summer of 1973.  That spring, knowing their time there was nearing its end gathered for a photo in their ski gear and nothing else.  Photographer Chris Speedie printed 10000 copies in poster size and sold for two or three dollars each.  Terry “Toulouse” Spence sold copies along the World Cup ski circuit.  Terry “Toulouse” Spence brought a box of the original posters to Whistler Museum.  The museum sold the remaining posters from the original 10000 and was able to proudly boast that the original run of the Toad Hall poster sold out almost 45 years after it was first printed.  Reprints of the original Toad Hall poster are currently available for purchase at the museum.

Soo Valley Became Toad Hall

Toad Hall Then and Now

Below is a picture taken at the same location in 2021.  Where the Soo Valley Logging houses and Toad Hall once stood is now a beautifully serene little corner of Whistler.  With no access from the Parkhurst side of Green River this piece of land is a bit isolated and hard to get to on foot.  You have to walk in from the Sea to Sky Highway and finding parking along the highway is a bit sketchy, especially in snowy months.  Parking is easy to find down the highway at the Cougar Mountain turnoff.

Soo Valley Toad Hall 2021

The Future of Parkhurst

In 2017 the Resort Municipality of Whistler purchased the Parkhurst lands (200acres/81 hectares), including the land where the famous Toad Hall picture was taken.  The intent is to preserve the historic land and remaining features into a park, however it is likely to remain mostly unchanged for the foreseeable future.

Parkhurst Lands Map v3

Trailhead & Parking Directions to Parkhurst

Trailhead Directions Parkhurst WhistlerThere are several ways to get to Parkhurst, but the access from the Wedgemount Lake turnoff on the Sea to Sky Highway is the most direct if arriving on foot or bike.  If you zero your odometer at Village Gate Blvd in Whistler Village and drive north on Highway 99, at 11.9 kilometres you will see the Wedgemount (Garibaldi) turnoff on your right.  Turn here, cross the train tracks and then the bridge over Green River, turn right and follow the gravel road for a few hundred metres.  You will pass Whistler Paintball on your left and then see a yellow gate and a sign for the Sea to Sky Trail.  Park on the clearing across from the yellow gate and walk straight ahead along the old gravel road, passing the yellow gate, road and Sea to Sky Trail on your left. Biking or hiking the 10 kilometres to Parkhurst from Whistler Village is a very nice option as well.  Biking from Whistler Village to Parkhurst takes only about 20-30 minutes and follows the beautiful Sea to Sky Trail up around Green Lake.  Hiking to Parkhurst from the Village will take the average hiker 2-3 hours each way.

Parkhurst Whistler Directions Map v5

 

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

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

Ancient Cedars is a nice, easy/moderate 2.5 kilometre (1.6 mile) hiking trail on the far side of Cougar Mountain, just 13.1 kilometres north of Whistler Village. A small, untouched grove of huge western ...
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Helm Creek is a cute, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek campground, Helm Creek descends further ...
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Meager Hot Springs(aka: Meager Creek Hot Springs) is located 93 kilometres northwest of Whistler, was beautifully developed into gorgeous pools, with a caretaker and usage charge.  At its height of ...
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Panorama Ridge is easily one of the most amazing hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The 15 kilometre(9.3 mile) hike from the trailhead at Rubble Creek to Panorama Ridge takes you through beautiful and deep ...
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