The Cheakamus Bungee Bridge Whistler Snowshoeing
The Brandywine Falls to the Whistler Bungee Bridge is a beautiful 6 kilometre, roundtrip snowshoeing adventure that takes you to two amazing Whistler area sights.
Brandywine Falls, though extremely popular in the summer and fall months, hides behind a massive, snowplow formed, wall of snow from (usually) December to March. The gate to the parking lot is closed and buried. Attempting to hike to the falls on foot is tough as you find yourself thigh deep in snow right from the start. But if you have snowshoes this trail becomes a winter paradise. The snowplows intentionally clear a winter parking area for the park near the (buried) gate.
You just have to scramble over the mountain of snow, cross the parking lot and follow the signs. The easy-to-follow trail begins just across the parking lot. There are plenty of Sea to Sky Trail signs and even a beautiful mapboard in the parking lot. Just across the bridge at the parking lot you will see the first sign for the Sea to Sky Trail. Turn right here and in five minutes you will see the amazing Brandywine Falls from the viewing platform.
From the viewing platform you have to return from where you came and turn right at the Sea to Sky Trail sign indicating the Cheakamus Bungee Bridge in 2.6km. The snowshoeing trail is wide and easy to follow. After a few hundred metres you come to your first viewpoint of the valley and distant mountains. The trail ascends fairly quickly and then opens up to some more views before reaching the amazing Bungee Bridge high above Cheakamus River.
Directions to Brandywine Falls Parking for the Bungee Bridge Trail:
The parking lot to Brandywine Falls is blocked by snow in the winter and you must park outside the gate along the highway. There is plenty of room for several cars. Located about 20 minutes south of Whistler there are big and difficult to miss signs indicating, "Brandywine Falls Provincial Park". You will see the obvious area to park outside the gate (gate is usually buried in snow in the winter). If driving from Whistler Brandywine Provincial Park will be on your left. You will then have to put your snowshoes on immediately and scramble over the wall of snow to access the parking lot. You will then be in a suddenly, serene setting of snow covered picnic tables and see the wonderful, covered bridge across the Cheakamus River leading to the amazing Brandywine Falls viewpoint as well as signs directing you along the Sea to Sky Trail to the Cheakamus Bungee Bridge. From your car to the bridge is 3 kilometres.
Whistler Sea to Sky Trail Brandywine Falls to Cheakamus Crossing
This is an incredible section of the Sea to Sky Trail. The trail is filled with amazing highlights and viewpoints. There are three convenient places to begin this section of the trail, Brandywine Falls, Cal-Cheak or at Cheakamus Crossing. All have free parking just metres from the trail and all are close to some amazing sights. This description will describe the route south to north as if starting from Brandywine Falls Provincial Park.
Brandywine Falls is one of the many to or from Whistler and Vancouver. Located just 20 minutes south of Whistler, Brandywine Falls is the southern gateway to the Sea to Sky Trail. Whether you are hiking or biking the Sea to Sky Trail or just taking a quick look at the falls, Brandywine Provincial Park is certainly a must-see stop on the Sea to Sky Highway. on the Sea to Sky Highway
From the parking lot (park outside the gates if closed), you will see the large Sea to Sky Trail sign and mapboard indicating where to go. You cross the covered bridge and the first fork in the trail with the Sea to Sky Trail sign pointing right takes you to the Brandywine Falls lookout in 300 metres. Just before the falls lookout there is another sign for the Sea to Sky Trail branching to the left for the Calcheak Suspension Bridge 4k and Cheakamus Bungee Bridge 2.6k.
The trail descends down a nice and wide gravel trail that winds through the forest and after a few hundred metres begins to ascend up to a nice viewpoint that looks across the valley. Continuing on the trail you ascend through various other viewpoints until reaching the amazing Cheakamus Bungee Bridge at 2.6k. This huge and very high bridge spans the enormous chasm across the Cheakamus River with breathtaking views all around. Across the bridge the Sea to Sky Trail route continues along the Bungee Bridge access road before again becoming the Sea to Sky Trail. The trail now becomes a narrow, dirt and deeply forested path that runs along the beautiful Cheakamus River and then crosses it at the Calcheak Suspension Bridge.
The Calcheak Suspension Bridge leads to the beautiful Calcheak Campground in an amazing setting of deep forest and serene riverside campsites everywhere you look. The location is great as well as it lays just south of Whistler with the Sea to Sky Trail passing through it. The 51 campsites are well spaced and very private feeling and are open year-round. All are just a short walk the the suspension bridge and just 4k to Brandywine Falls. If you plan to stay at the campsite you can just show up and set up camp and a site operator should come by eventually to collect fees ($10/site).
To drive to the Calcheak Campground look for the small "Calcheak Campground" sign just 3k north of Brandywine Falls on the Sea to Sky Highway. If you are just looking to park your car while on the Sea to Sky Trail, just look for the Sea to Sky Trail signs about 200 metres after you turn off of the Highway. The Sea to Sky Trail crosses the road and is easy to spot. Plenty of parking along the side of the road by the trailhead is available.
The clear Sea to Sky Trail sign heading north indicates that Athletes Village is 4.8k. This is the nice new neighbourhood across from Function Junction called Cheakamus Crossing. This section of the trail is winding, narrow, hilly and very enjoyable. The trail is sometimes gravel and sometimes dirt. Though the deep forest keeps the views on this section to a minimal it is very fun on a bike. The roller coaster feeling trail, wonderfully never follows a straight line as is runs along the Cheakamus River. A side trail near Cheakamus Crossing to the left takes you to some amazing views of Cheakamus River.
Once at Cheakamus Crossing the trail continues along a quiet residential road leading to a bridge across the Cheakamus River. There are great trails to the right here along the river and one runs along one side and returns the other side. Each side 2 kilometres long and cross the river via, yet another suspension bridge. This is a great trail if you have the time or energy and is also great to try on snowshoes.
Back on the Sea to Sky Trail you will be heading along the Cheakamus Lake Road towards the Sea to Sky Highway. Just before the highway you will see a Sea to Sky Trail sign direct you to the right and the Sea to Sky Trail joins with Whistler's Valley Trail. The Valley Trail system is Whistler is very nice. Wide, paved and with two lanes, the Valley Trail extends throughout Whistler passing through most of the beautiful parks and lakes and leading to Whistler Village.
Another great detour before heading up this trail is to see the amazing Whistler Train Wreck. It is located (if coming from Cheakamus Crossing) across the Sea to Sky Highway, turn left and hike/bike along the highway for about 200 metres and bear right off of the highway down the wide clearing toward the train tracks that you will see about 300 metres from the clearing. At the train tracks turn left and pass under the highway overpass and look for the trails to your left heading into the forest. For more info and directions to the Whistler Train Wreck click here.