Wayside Park - Whistler Parks & Beaches
Wayside Park in Whistler is one of several idyllic parks on Alta Lake. Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Blueberry Park are also along the shore of this huge lake that covers much of the valley edged by Whistler Village. These four parks, all on Whistler's beautiful Valley Trail system, ensure that you are never far from one of several amazing vantage points over Alta Lake.
Wayside Park sits near the bottom end of Alta Lake and at just 3 kilometres from Whistler Village is just an hours walk or 10 minute bike ride away. The Valley Trail is a huge spider web network of paved walking/biking/running trails that connect Whistler Village to dozens of beautiful parks and sights.
Over 40 kilometres of trails throughout Whistler, with directions at every junction make the Valley Trail much more than just a transportation network. It's an interpretive tour of the area, where you can wander on foot or by bike and use the signs at each junction to choose your route.
Whistler's Valley Trail is in fact, now part of the 180 kilometre Sea to Sky Trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. This mammoth trail has been in the works for years and is still working to make the trail run through the wilderness as much as possible.
Currently there are some sections that run along the edge of the Sea to Sky Highway, however, the entire route in Whistler is not. In 2012, a large section of the Sea to Sky Trail was constructed high above Green Lake which now allows you to walk, hike, bike or run over 30 kilometres and rarely see a road. You can start the trail north of Whistler Village above Green Lake and 32 kilometres later, come out of the wilderness at Brandywine Falls. Along the route make a dozen river crossing ranging from cute to jaw-dropping. Cheakamus River skirts the edge of Whistler for dozens of kilometres and every viewpoint seems more amazing than the last.
In the summer months, swimming and relaxing in the sun are the main attractions to Wayside Park. The piers are a fantastic way to view Alta Lake as it stretches north, edged by forest, hills and mountains in the distance. Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding are all popular from Wayside Park and Whistler Eco Tours has a popular rental area here in the summertime. They also do canoe rentals where you can start canoeing at Wayside Park and finish at Green Lake. This 7 kilometre route takes you the length of Alta Lake then down the River of Golden Dreams to Green Lake. The current moves with you the entire journey making it a very relaxing route to paddle.
If you are motivated even more you can continue to the end of Green Lake and check out Parkhurst Ghost Town. Parkhurst was a logging community on the far shore of Green Lake that was abandoned decades ago. It remains now as a ghost town, with one house still standing and several collapsed houses. The area is filled with trails leading to several ghost town curiosities such as a massive logging tractor perched on the edge of Green Lake as it was 60 years ago. An abandoned, ancient looking truck sits disintegrating in the middle of an overgrown road and everywhere you look, some unusual thing takes your attention.
To walk, run or bike to Wayside Park from Whistler Village via the Valley Trail see the map below. Leave the Village by walking between Buffalo Bills and the Whistler Conference Centre, then under the Sea to Sky Highway, Valley Trail underpass. From here the Valley Trail signs indicate where to go. If you take the Valley Trail left you will go along the edge of Whistler Golf Course for a kilometre then the Valley Trail crosses onto St Anton Way, then zig-zags a couple more streets before arriving at Lakeside Park. The Valley Trail has signs at each junction so you can't really get lost. Continue through Lakeside Park and 1 kilometre later you will arrive at Wayside Park.
If you want to explore more then keep walking around the end of Alta Lake, turn right. Walk along the edge of the lake and in a couple hundred metres you will pass a house on your right, just about 50 metres past this you will see a trail into the trees. Follow this and bear right. This leads to Alta Lake Park, a cute little forest park with a surreal set of giant, oversized chairs on the lake, odd car wrecks along the trail, and yet another beautiful pier on Alta Lake.
Back on the Valley Trail you even go further as the Valley Trail continues all around Alta Lake. Follow the Valley Trail along Alta Lake and you will cross the train tracks and come to Alta Lake Road. Continue along Alta Lake Road, keeping Alta Lake on your right. You will get some terrific views of the lake and after 1.3 kilometres look for Rainbow Park on your right. This gets you back on the Valley Trail and around the top end of Alta Lake and to the River of Golden Dreams at the end of Lorimer Rd. From here the Valley Trail splits into two directions. Left goes to Meadow Park and right moves you toward Whistler Village again via the Whistler Golf Course. If you keep following the excellent signs at each juncture you will find your way OK.
Wayside Park - Parking & Amenities
Parking for Wayside Park can be found just 3 kilometres south of Whistler Village. As you drive along the Sea to Sky Highway(aka Highway 99), keep an eye out for the Wayside Park sign indicating to turn right and you will immediately enter the parking lot with stairs and a wheelchair accessible ramp to the beach. Though you have to ascend fairly steeply, the access is quite short. Less than 60 metres and with a broad zig-zag to the park.
Lakeside Park is dog friendly, however, not the most dog friendly of Whistler Parks. The park is fairly small and contained and you are supposed to keep your dog on a leash. Dogs are for the most part are much more welcome at other Whistler's parks, and many of them have special dog park areas. Rainbow Park has a similar dog park section to it, similar to Alpha Lake's, Arfa Park. Blueberry Park on Alta Lake is very dog friendly and you don't even have to bother bringing a leash with you as the whole park is wilderness and remote feeling. For a list of dog friendly hiking trails in Whistler that include the Sea to Sky Trail, Train Wreck, Nairn Falls, Ancient Cedars and many more try here..
There are proper toilet facilities at Wayside Park and in the summer months there is an activity operation with canoe and kayak rentals. As Wayside Park is located on the Valley Trail, if you find these facilities locked then you just have to continue along the Valley Trail until you find more. If you continue toward Whistler Village you will come to more parks with toilet facilities. If you head south you will come to Creekside with several washroom choices such as Nita Lake Lodge, Starbucks, Legends Hotel and Husky Market(gas station).
Wayside Park is not tent friendly, so you have to If you want a place to put up your tent you have to look a little further out from Whistler Village. Train Wreck is a great place to put up a tent and just 5 kilometres south of Wayside Park on the Valley Trail/Sea to Sky Trail. Green River has some amazing spots for a tent, north of Whistler Village near the turnoff to Wedgemount Lake. Parkhurst Ghost Town is amazing for camping, located on the far side of Green Lake not far from the Sea to Sky Trail. These are free places to camp so don't expect visible camping facilities or signs. Hotels, B&B's and hostels are of course plentiful in Whistler. Wayside Park is located between Creekside and Whistler Village. Nita Lake Lodge and Legends(hotel) are good options in Creekside. Whistler Village has the biggest selection of hotels, condo rentals and B&B's. A good way to search for a place to stay is via Booking.com. They compare all the available options in your search area, show reviews and photos of good places to stay, and you can book in just a few clicks. They somehow manage to get the price prices available and even offer free cancellation. One very odd aspect of the world we live in these days is that you can walk into a Whistler hotel and inquire about their best rate for the night. Often it will be almost double the rate you can get by stepping away from the desk and using your smartphone to book via Booking.com.
Wayside Park - Map from Whistler Village
Printer, smartphone and tablet friendly. Designed to fit standard printers and copiers. To print: Right click on the map below, save image as, save to desktop, then open the image and print on standard size printer paper. Cell coverage is reliable everywhere in Whistler so you will be able to access the internet if you have a data plan, however saving this map to your smartphone or tablet may be a good idea as there are lots of beautiful places to see on the way to Wayside Park. "Start" indicated on the map is located in Whistler Village at the pedestrian and car underpass off of Whistler Way. If you walk between Buffalo Bills and the Conference Centre you will come to Whistler Way and see this underpass under the Sea to Sky Highway. This is where the Valley Trail in Whistler exits the Village heading south. Walking/biking/running under the underpass you will come to the Whistler Golf Course parking lot and clubhouse with the Valley Trail branching both left and right. Here you will find a nice mapboard showing the Valley Trail and the Sea to Sky Trail(both trails follow the same route in this section of Whistler). Continue along the Valley Trail all the way to Wayside Park.
Other Whistler Parks Near Wayside Park
Wayside Park is one of several beautiful beach parks in Whistler on the Valley Trail. You can reach all these parks by car or better yet you set out on foot or by bike from Whistler Village. Lost Lake is a tranquil and secluded lake in the forest that extends from Whistler Village. Just a 20 minute, leisurely walk or 5 minute bike ride along the well signed Valley Trail will lead you to this beautiful little lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail turns into a wide and gravel trail as you enter Lost Lake Park. The main trail around the lake is a popular running route from Whistler Village as roundtrip from the Village, around Lost Lake and back to the Village in just 6 kilometres. There are plenty of nice viewpoints along the main trail as well as quite a few short trails that lead to several access points to the lake, some with great places to sit and relax in the sun and take in the view. Lost Lake has a very popular beach at one end and in the height of summer can get busy as it is the most convenient beach from Whistler Village. Blueberry Park is a very scenic and somewhat hidden park on Alta Lake just two kilometres from Whistler Village. If you have been to Rainbow Park you would have noticed three piers across Alta Lake surrounded by forest. These public piers sit at the edge of Blueberry Park, with the Blueberry Trail running from one side of the forest to the other. The park covers most of the hill beyond these piers and stretches between and connects the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay and Alta Vista(see map below). The beautiful, deep forest trail runs from the shores of Alta Lake in Alta Vista, up and across Blueberry Hill and descends again to reach Whistler Cay. Along the trail there are several beautiful viewpoints of Alta Lake in the foreground and the enormous Mount Sproatt beyond. Lakeside Park at Alta Lake in Whistler is a beautiful beach park just a short distance from Whistler Village. Located on the Valley Trail, it is just 2 kilometres or a 30 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride away. Similar to Rainbow Park across the lake, Lakeside has a concession stand for food and drinks, picnic tables, BBQ stands, canoe and kayak rentals a huge grass field, pier, a sandy beach and an elaborate little kids play are. Swimming and relaxing are the main draws to Lakeside Park, but fishing off the piers is a common sight as well. Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village. Located partway along Lake Placid Road just past the Husky and Nita Lake Lodge. This quiet residential street leads to this park that is home to tennis courts, a basketball court, beach volleyball, dog park, a kids play park, a floating dock, a pier and biking/walking/running trails everywhere you look.