Whistler's amazing selection of moderately difficult hiking trails is endless. The High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain doesn't top this list as it requires a costly lift pass to access it. Cheakamus Lake is possibly the best moderate trail in Whistler as it has it all. Enormous trees, beautiful forest, emerald green lake, gorgeous river and lots of bear sightings. Lots of beautiful trails to choose from in Whistler and these are just some of the best of the best.
Cheakamus Lake is an amazing trail to hike, run or bike in Whistler. A wonderfully relaxing way to get in the wilderness easily and quickly from . The first three kilometres of the 7 kilometre long Cheakamus Lake trail takes you parallel to the beautiful Cheakamus River. This large, fast and always crashing river can be seen and heard occasionally through the massive forest and up close as you near Cheakamus Lake. There is a trail sign, 1.5 kilometres from the trailhead, indicating that the trail descending to the Cheakamus River eventually leads to the Helm Creek campground and much further to Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake. There is a beautiful bridge across the Cheakamus River that is just a two minute hike from this sign and well worth it. You can see below your feet through the floor of the bridge the swirling and fast moving river under you. Back on the Cheakamus Lake trail, at 3 kilometres you arrive at Cheakamus Lake. The trail continues along the left side of the lake, passing some wonderfully located campsites, and very small beaches. There are 10 very nice and hidden tent areas in this area, excellent water sources from several creeks, a bear proof food hang as well as tidy outhouses here. The next 4 kilometres of the Cheakamus Lake trail reveal viewpoints progressively more amazing. The trail hugs the edge of the lake, with frequent views of its amazing, turquoise colour, distant snow capped mountains and occasional bear sightings. With so much to see and such an enjoyable trail, Cheakamus Lake one of Whistler's best and most family friendly hikes around. The trail is never strenuous and constantly beautiful with the wonderful smells that come with an old growth cedar forest are incredible.
Why is Cheakamus Lake One of the Best Trails in Whistler?
Beautiful, huge tree forest, easy kid friendly trail, pristine Garibaldi Park wilderness and a spectacular and huge lake. Excellent campsites and numerous hidden beaches and wonderful, though very cold, swimming. Known for great fishing.
The Whistler and Blackcomb, lift accessed hiking trails are beautiful. The convenient, comfortable and relatively inexpensive gondola from Whistler, and chairlift from Blackcomb take you up to spectacular trails on the top of the world. Add to that the Peak to Peak Gondola and some great restaurants and in short, easy hiking doesn't get much better. There are 18 different named trails up on Blackcomb and Whistler that are amazing to hike. Many of the easier trails are on the Blackcomb side. There are several interpretive trails that have incredible views all around. The Whistler Mountain trails range from easy and short to the beautiful, challenging, and amazingly beautiful, High Note Trail. The High Note Trail begins high up on Whistler Mountain at the top of the Peak Chair. To get there you must buy a lift pass and ride the Whistler Gondola for 22 minutes up to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain, then hike for about 8 minutes to the Peak Chair. Ride this beautiful and alarmingly steep chairlift up to Whistler's Peak where the High Note Trail begins. The trail begins with some narrow, rocky and fairly steep ups and downs as you hike out to the edge of a rock outcrop with amazing views to the valley and Whistler below. Though there are two small chain-assist sections, most should have no difficulty. Even if you are bringing your kids along, you will have no problem or worry at these parts or any other along the trail. After this short up and down section at the beginning of the High Note Trail, the route evens out and runs along the edge of the ridge parallel to the amazing Cheakamus Lake far down the valley below. There are signs at a couple spots along the way directing you very clearly. The High Note Trail is 9.5k roundtrip and should take about 3 hours.
Why is the High Note Trail One of the Best Trails in Whistler?
From beginning to end this trail is amazing. The gondola and chairlift rides are fantastic as well. The trail has constant views and you don't have to hike an uneventful trail to reach the sites like almost all other hiking trails. There are restaurants at both ends of the Peak to Peak Gondola which your lift pass includes access to. The combination of gondola rides, restaurants and hiking make this the ultimate, family friendly outing in Whistler that is hard to beat. The only downside is the hefty price to access this trail.
Garibaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in Garibaldi Park. The Garibaldi Lake campsite is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly undisturbed mountain lake. There are no trails around the perimeter of the lake with the exception of the small section leading to the campsite, so your view of the lake is a sea of unnaturally coloured water ringed by swaths of forest and a magnificent glacier towering in the distance. The water is painfully cold, though plenty of brave hikers swim here as well as camp. The camping area is well laid out and stretches deep into the forest with 50 tent clearings. You can, except for the busiest of days, put your tent out of earshot and sight of others. The trail to Garibaldi Lake from the Rubble Creek trailhead, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway takes about two hours. You gain a fair amount of elevation, 900 metres in just 9k, trailhead to lake. Partway along the trail to Garibaldi Lake the trail forks. Right to Garibaldi Lake and left goes to another beautiful campground, Taylor Meadows. Past Taylor Meadows you can link back to Garibaldi Lake by yet another linking trail. At every trail for there are nice and clear signs and sometimes maps, showing where and how far everything is...
Why is Garibaldi Lake One of the Best Trails in Whistler?
Garibaldi Lake is captivating with its huge size and unbelievable colour. The lake and sky seem at times to be the same colour with the amazing glaciers and mountains in the distance separating them. The trails are scenic, well signed and laid out in the very organized . The trails are relatively easy and there is quite a lot to see. Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows and Panorama Ridge are all within hiking distance and some of the most amazing hikes around. The only slight downside to Garibaldi Lake is the somewhat uneventful trail to the lake. With the exception of the last 3k before the lake, the trail is deep forest and switchbacks. The campsite at the lake is amazing. Well laid out and spread into the forest so as to keep the wilderness feel even when surrounded by 80 campers!
Blackcomb Mountain has come alive with beautiful hiking trails in recent years and the Overlord Trail is the main hiking trail that all the others connect to or extend from. With the 2008 addition of the Peak to Peak Gondola which connects Blackcomb to Whistler, the demand for mountain trails is higher than ever. A dozen years ago, you would just have had some rough hiking trails to follow, and not many hikers to follow them. Now you have mapboards, trail signs, viewpoint seating areas and six popular, named trails to hike. The trails are mostly easy and relaxing, however the Decker Loop Trail at the far end of Blackcomb is very challenging and spectacularly scenic. For the most part, you will find yourself winding through a nice alpine forest scattered with enormous fields of erratics leading to one great viewpoint after another. You can hike for as little as 15 minutes or more than 3 hours, depending on the trail or trails you choose to follow. Blackcomb Lake and Blackcomb Peak that looms far above it are the most popular destinations for hikers and getting there and back can be done in a couple hours. The trails begin at the Rendezvous Lodge at the heart of Blackcomb Mountain. The Alpine Walk trail is your first section of this larger trail. It consists of a 1.6k(1mile) loop trail that takes you from the Rendezvous Lodge to the alpine to view of the Fitzsimmons Valley that separates Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. The Alpine Walk trail leads to the Overlord Trail and far along the edge of Blackcomb Mountain.
Why is the Overlord Trail One of the Best Trails in Whistler?
The Overlord Trail is an amazing trail that skirts the inside edge of the massive valley between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. Blackcomb Lake is stunning and surrounded by jagged and almost vertical peaks. It sits in a massive bowl amongst the cliffs all around. There are convenient benches along the lake. The benches are not so much for resting as for better to take in the views. You will find yourself craning your neck back and forth at the marvelous surroundings. The trail is relaxing and varied as you glimpse and beautiful variety of alpine sights, gnarled trees, massive erratics and distant glaciers... and of course the distant Overlord Mountain and Overlord Glacier.
Rainbow Lake is one of the original hiking trails in Whistler that has existed well before Whistler was called Whistler. The 8k trail is challenging though beautiful as it passes through an impressively huge forest of giant trees. There are several wonderful bridge crossings and crashing river views. Rainbow Lake itself is surreal and beautiful. An unnaturally bright, green meadow extends from one side of the lake and a field of starkly white erratics litter the landscape along the shores of the crystal clear lake. Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source so swimming, fishing, dogs and camping are not allowed. There are, you will quickly notice upon reaching Rainbow Lake, that a trail continues past the lake then forks. The right fork takes you to the right and to the popular, though difficult scramble to the summit of Rainbow Mountain. In the same direction you can bear left on the Rainbow Mountain trail and after about 3k you will arrive at the secluded, pristine and wonderful, Hanging Lake.
Camp and swim here all you want as you are far from Rainbow Lake. Back at Rainbow Lake, the left fork takes you to Beverly Lake. This is the often used campsite alternative to Rainbow Lake and is just a 40 minute hike away...
Why is Rainbow Lake One of the Best Hikes in Whistler?
Challenging, beautiful hike to a mountain-lake paradise. Hypnotizing views of Wedge Mountain across the valley as well as impressive views along the trail of Whistler Village. The Rainbow Lake trail is eventful with several small waterfalls and interesting sights. The only downside to Rainbow Lake is that you can't swim or camp there due to it being Whistler's water source. This makes arriving at the lake a bit uneventful after you finish taking in the wonderful views. If you are motivated and still have energy, then continuing beyond Rainbow Lake to Hanging Lake gets you beyond Whistler's watershed and you can swim all you want in this crystal clear, alpine lake.
More Moderately Difficult Hiking Trails in Whistler
Joffre 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). At Upper Joffre Lake, there are several nice, though rugged places to camp. In a hilly, lightly forested section of paradise in between the impossibly turquoise joffre Lake and the abruptly monstrous Matier Glacier descending from Mount Matier beyond. A waterfall cascades near the camping area. The campsite has one nice and well maintained outhouse. There is also a prominent helicopter pad close by as a reminder of how many injuries occur on the trail and the accessible mountains and glaciers around. Brandywine Meadows is a nice, moderately difficult 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 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. In that grey and white mass of mountain peaks in the distance you will see Brandywine Mountain. A visible and well worn trail skirts the right edge of the valley leading to the rocky slopes that lead you to Brandywine Mountain. The trail, of course, gives way to the mess of boulders and erratics that make the beautiful, flower filled meadows below look all the more serene.Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek Campground it descends further along the Helm Creek Trail, until it joins the Cheakamus River not far from where it leaves Cheakamus Lake. The location of Helm Creek Campground is pretty amazing for a variety of reasons. First it is just a great location. About halfway between Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around. Amazing fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk well into July. Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you look from the idyllic campground. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek. What you always want from a campground is a convenient and clean water source and of course Helm Creek is both. Taylor Meadows is a beautiful campsite and alternative to the much busier Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in between Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk itself. It is reached from the same trailhead to Garibaldi Lake. There are 40 very nice tent platforms, toilets, a good water source and a food cache, all in the lush forest of Taylor Meadows with the distant view of Black Tusk. The hike is a relaxing 7.5k through a deep, big tree forest. The first half is a series of switchbacks and then the thick forest gives way to Taylor Meadows. The grassy meadows open up the view of snowy mountains and the spectacular Black Tusk just a couple kilometres away. Generally Taylor Meadows is not a destination, but part of a circle route. For example, trailhead to Taylor Meadows, Taylor Meadows to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, then return via Garibaldi Lake. This makes for a long hike at 30k, which is why tenting at this perfectly beautiful, and perfectly located Taylor Meadows Campsite, is a great idea.