Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: BivouacBivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of natural materials found on site such as leaves and branches or simply sleeping under the stars.  Often used interchangeably with the word camp, however, bivouac implies a shorter, quicker and much more basic and naturally constructed camp setup.  

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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For example, at the Taylor Meadows campground in Garibaldi Park, camping is the appropriately used term to describe sleeping there at night as you have constructed tent platforms and are using a tent.  If instead you plan to sleep on the summit of Black Tusk, bivouacking would be more accurately used to describe what you are doing as you are not using a tent.  In the warm summer months around Whistler you will find people bivouacking under the stars in various places with just a sleeping bag.  Pier bivouacking is the memorable experience of spending the night on one of Whistler’s many piers on lakes such as Alta Lake, Lost Lake, and Alpha Lake.  The wonderful, wooden tent platforms at Wedgemount Lake are also ideal places to bivouac under the stars.  Along the world renowned West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island you will find several very interesting places previous hikers have bivouacked.  From constructed driftwood shelters to idyllic, yet haunting caves, finding a refuge from the harsh west coast weather requires a lot of creativity.  Finding one is always interesting as you feel like you have stumbled upon a hidden world.  Whether in a dark, but inviting cave with a driftwood seats around the remnants of a campfire or a large, yet strangely cozy lean-to driftwood house with a million dollar view.  Entering one of these always fills you with a sense of wonder about who was here before you and curiosity makes you peer into every dark corner. 

Beach Cave Bivouac WCT

Bivouac West Coast Trail

Pier Bivouacking Whistler

Pier Bivouacking Whistler Alta Lake

Twentyone Mile Creek Bivouacking

For the most part bivouacking leaves no trace, but occasionally in Whistler you come across something more lasting.  In the deep, dark, hidden forest trail A River Runs Through It, between Emerald Forest and Rainbow Park you occasionally stumble upon interesting curiosities.  Just a few metres from the beautiful and winding Twentyone Mile Creek a large, fairly elaborate, yet nearly invisible lean to has been long abandoned.  Thin, but long trees, about four metres long lay against a cross beam between two big trees.  With the addition of a tarp over one side, you can imagine it being quite cozy as well as pretty big.  Just a few steps away you have the crashing creek flowing past and a nice, clean rocky shore to make a campfire.  A beautifully picturesque place to camp and an ancient, overgrown dirt road and various old and new trails lead in a few directions and out to civilization unexpectedly quickly. 

Twentyone Mile Creek Bivouac

Winter Bivouacking at Elfin Lakes

In the winter months in Whistler, bivouacking can take the form of a snow cave or quinzee.  People bivouacking in snow caves are pretty common around Whistler and in Garibaldi Park in the winter.  Outside the Eflin Lakes Hut in Garibaldi Park in the winter you will usually find several snow caves dug out of the snowbank outside the hut.  A quinzee is a low-tech version of an igloo that is made from a pile of loose snow.  The pile of snow is shaped into a round, igloo shaped dome, then the inside is dug out.  Because the snow is not terribly compacted on the inside it does not take a huge amount of effort or skill to make.  The name quinzee is a Canadian term for what other parts of the English speaking world would call a snow hut.

Snow Cave Elfin Lakes

Snow Cave Elfin Lakes

When you hike in the alpine in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park, you will often encounter unbelievably hardy and sometimes mangled looking trees.  ...
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Overlord Mountain is the highest peak in the Fitzsimmons Range.  Overlord is surrounded by several mountains that collectively are named the Overlord ...
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The Garibaldi Ranges are a subdivision of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.  Deriving its name from Mount Garibaldi, the Garibaldi Ranges cover ...
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Northair Mine is wonderful, hidden world high up in Callaghan Valley.  It was a gold mine run by the Northair Group from 1976 until was abandoned in 1982 ...
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Western redcedar is a very large tree commonly found in the Pacific Northwest. Frequently growing up to 70 metres and with a trunk diameter of 7 metres, ...
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Back in 2011 Kups, a Whistler local and now professional muralist painted a hauntingly surreal, blue face on the side of this house.  This beautiful ...
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Whistler spruce is a hybrid of the Sitka spruce and the interior Engelmann spruce. Sitka spruce trees thrive in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest ...
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Hoary Marmots are the cute, pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas around Whistler.  ...
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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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April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with overflowing patios and ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Madeley Lake is a gorgeous lake hidden high up in the wilderness of Callaghan Valley.  The Callaghan Valley runs somewhat parallel to Whistler Valley, with the two valleys separated by Mount Sproatt.  Sproatt is ...
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Newt Lake is cute little hidden lake high up on the far side of Cougar Mountain near Ancient Cedars.  Its location is a wonderful mix of unexpected characteristics that combine to make it a gorgeous place to ...
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Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
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