Easy Snowshoeing Trail Maps
The Blueberry Trail is a relatively unknown, though amazing trail that ascends up to a marvellous cliff viewpoint, high above Alta Lake. Geographically, the Blueberry Trail is opposite of Rainbow Park and can be accessed by either the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay (at the end of Crabapple Dr), or at the other end of the trail in Alta Vista (at the end of St Anton Way). Either trailhead is just a five minute drive from Whistler Village. It gets its name from the hill that rises above it named Blueberry Hill. So well hidden that you won't find either trailhead unless you search for them despite being on all the maps in Whistler. The trailheads do have small trail signs and once you are on the trail it is easy to follow, even in deep snow. Though at times steep, the trail is short. The high point of the trail, about midway, is only 1.2k from either trailhead. There is a small clearing at the edge of quite a high cliff that is a great vantage point to the lake. People skating, cross country skiing or walking appear as little black dots scattered across the frozen lake. As snowshoeing trails go, the easy and short Blueberry Trail is a great, fun, short workout to a beautiful vantage point. Dogs are allowed here as well.
Rainbow Park is one of the hugely popular swimming beaches in Whistler in the summer. In the winter it is a spectacular vantage point across Alta Lake to Whistler and Blackcomb. When the heavy snow of December comes, the valley trail becomes a snowshoeing and cross country ski trail. It can still be hiked, but once you reach Rainbow Park you will be knee deep in snow. The piers that are so well used in summer are frozen in place and, like everything else are buried in snow. Rainbow Park is a very easy, less than 1 kilometre trail from the parking area at the dead end of Lorimer Rd to the park. It is a relaxing trail that doesn't change in elevation.
Rainbow Falls Trail Map
Rainbow Falls is a fantastic way go get yourself into some deep snow quickly from Whistler Village. The trailhead is located just a couple hundred metres from Rainbow Park on Alta Lake which is another great place to snowshoe in Whistler. The Rainbow Falls trailhead is the same as the Rainbow Lake trailhead, located halfway along Alta Lake Road on the far side of Alta Lake. The Rainbow Falls Trail is short, varied and relatively easy. This well used trail never goes in a straight line and goes up and down through a beautiful and deep forest.
There is only one small, easy to miss sign to Rainbow Falls, but finding the falls is easy. To find Rainbow Falls, begin at the trailhead parking for "Rainbow Trail" on Alta Lake Road. Follow the trail as it winds along the river. If you come to obvious forks in the trail, choose the right fork. In 0.8 kilometres from the trailhead parking you will arrive at Rainbow Falls.
After Rainbow Falls, you can backtrack a few dozen metres and then head off to the right and uphill towards the Rainbow Lake trail. In just a couple minutes you will see the water treatment building and a nice mapboard. If you take the wide path/service road on the immediate right of the building you will see, (in just a couple dozen metres) the cute, snow covered bridge over the river. This is a beautiful little area, and in the winter, very deep in snow. You can continue past this bridge, however, the bridge marks the end of the best sights to see...
Brandywine Falls and Bungee Bridge Map
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...
Whistler Train Wreck Trail Map
Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. The cost to clean up the mess was deemed too high, so seven train cars were left scattered next to the Cheakamus River. As it turns out, time and local effort has transformed this mess into a wonderful work of art, an extraordinary bike park in the summer, and a great place to snowshoe in the winter. The Cheakamus River winds its way, crashing and emerald green along the length of the Whistler Train Wreck, and there are several spectacular river vantage points that shouldn't be missed. During most of the winter you will need snowshoes to get to the Train Wreck, however if it hasn't snowed for a week or so, you may be fine due to the trail being packed down. Snow usually covers the area until late March or early April.
The Flank Trail trailhead is easy to spot. A small "Flank Trail" sign sits at the edge of Alpha Lake Road just before Alpha Lake Road bends sharply right. The Flank Trail immediately runs into the deep forest as it follows the river away from Function Junction. There trail is easy to follow and well used. There is only one part of the trail that may get you lost. About five minutes into the trail you will exit the forest and walk along a wide, clear gravel area. Keep your eyes out for the trail across the clearing.
Snowshoeing through the trees for about 100 metres and you will see and hear the Sea to Sky Highway ahead. You have to turn left here and follow the trail to the river where the highway overpass it. Continue along the trail under the overpass and continue on the trail. At this point you will be walking in a strip of forest about 40 metres wide with the highway to your right and the train tracks about 30 metres to your left.
Follow this trail for a couple minutes as it winds past enormous and ancient, giant cedar tree stumps. You will abruptly come to a small creek in your way. This "creek" comes from a giant drainage pipe under the highway. At the creek look to your left and you will see the trail lead to the train tracks, don't cross the tracks, but rather, just before the tracks turn right, follow the trail at the edge of the tracks past and over the creek and then pick up the trail again as it veers away from the train tracks into the trees again. Just ahead the trail will end at the train tracks and you will have to carefully cross the tracks here (the only train tracks crossing you will need to do). Keep in mind that walking along the train tracks is illegal and potentially dangerous. Fortunately, travelling on the train tracks to access the Whistler Train Wreck is completely unnecessary.
Cheakamus River Snowshoeing Trail Map
Cheakamus River leads to a beautiful suspension bridge and the snowshoeing trail is located through the intersection from Function Junction. Cross the Sea to Sky Highway and after about 300 metres you will see Cheakamus Lake Road on your left. In the winter it is not plowed so you will see a clearing at the start of the road with room for several cars to park.
From this parking area you walk up the snowy Cheakamus Lake road and you will almost immediately see a road branch off to the right and cross a bridge. Snowshoe across this bridge and you will find a trail running parallel to the beautiful and wildly crashing, Cheakamus River.
The trails are unexpectedly well marked and easy to follow despite being (usually in winter), metres deep in snow. At each junction in the trail you will see either a map board or a direction sign with distances to each place shown.
From the trailhead to the Cheakamus River suspension bridge is a beautiful 2 kilometres. Ascending and descending gradual slopes through the deep and snowy forest. At the beautiful suspension bridge you can look down beneath your feet through the metal grating that is the bridge and watch the massively rushing river below you. Once across the bridge you can snowshoe left and follow the trails on the opposite side of the Cheakamus.
There is also the Cheakamus Lake Westside Road here and if you are in a hurry you can take this quicker, parallel to the trails route back to your car. The Cheakamus River trail to the suspension bridge and back is 4k long and should take about two hours to complete.
Parkhurst Ghost Town Snowshoeing Trail Map
Parkhurst can also be reached by hiking or snowshoeing the wonderful new section of the Sea to Sky Trail that runs along the far side of Green Lake. The trail starts at both ends of Green Lake. One end is near Whistler Village close to Lost Lake and the other is north of Green Lake at the turnoff to Wedgemount Lake from the Sea to Sky Highway. In the winter the Lost Lake area has a entry fee and the Sea to Sky Trail can only be accessed from that end by going through Lost Lake.
The far end of the Green Lake section of the Sea to Sky Trail is free to enter and closer to Parkhurst Ghost Town. It is easy to find. Just north of Whistler, past Green Lake you will see the Wedgemount Lake sign on the highway. Turn right and park where you can. Just across the bridge over Green River you will see a Sea to Sky Trail sign. The trail goes both left and right here. Following the Sea to Sky Trail to the right takes you to Parkhurst.
Keep your eyes out for the obvious Sea to Sky Trail signs and it would be a good idea to print out the map above as the trail that leads to Parkhurst from the Sea to Sky Trail is unmarked. It is however, quite well worn and if you are looking for it, you should spot it easily....
Taylor Meadows Snowshoeing Trail Map
Just 25 minutes south of Whistler is the Rubble Creek trailhead to Garibaldi Park. This is the most popular access route for Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows and Black Tusk. In the winter you will find this trailhead used fairly consistently by skiers and snowshoers, though mainly on weekends. The almost constant use of the trails ensures that the trail to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake are usually tracked out and therefore easy to follow in deep snow.
These trails are by no means easy in the winter. Snowshoeing is always a workout and considerably more strenuous than hiking. To add to the difficulty, the Rubble Creek trailhead parking is inaccessible by car usually from December to April and you must add another kilometre or two just to reach the trailhead. Often you can park partway up the road depending on snowfall and time of year. Taylor Meadows is extraordinarily beautiful in the winter.
The constantly uphill 7.5k (+2k if parking below the snowed in road to the trailhead), from the trailhead to the campsite is relentless, but manageable. If you are in reasonably good shape you should have no problem snowshoeing to Taylor Meadows with an overnight pack in 3.5 hours.
If you plan well and get there in sunshine you will be in a breathtakingly untouched winter wonderland. Black Tusk just across the meadow from the campsite (about 2k away), and beautiful, snowy mountains everywhere you look. Keep in mind that this route is 25 kilometres long and on snowshoes you will be going slower than on foot. Expect to take 8 hours at a fast pace and 10-11 hours at a slower pace....
Elfin Lakes Snowshoeing Trail Map
is an absolutely phenomenal, though long, snowshoeing trail that begins at the Diamond Head area south of Whistler in Squamish. From in Garibaldi ParkWhistler Village, the trailhead is just over an hours drive away, located near the south end of the massive Garibaldi Park. The is very well marked and maintained and leads to the wonderful, Elfin Lakes Hut. This amazing hut sleeps 33 and is solar powered and propane heated. There is a charge of $15/person to stay the night there which is a small price to pay for the beautiful comfort after the long, 11 kilometre snowshoe hike to get there. This area is very popular with skiers as well as snowshoers in the winter and deep snow covers the trail usually from November to June. The trail to
Elfin Lakes starts out ascending through deep forest, reaching the Red Heather Hut after 5k. This is a small warming hut equipped with a wood stove complete with a stack of wood free to use, though sleeping here is for emergencies only. The final 6k from this hut to Elfin Lakes takes you along a beautiful ridge with amazing views of snowy mountains all around. The sheer distance of this snowshoeing trail ranks it as difficult.
Expect to take four hours to reach the Elfin Lakes Hut as you are almost constantly ascending a gradual, though consistently uphill trail. There are several jaw-dropping views along this final 6k stretch...
Joffre Lakes Snowshoeing Trail Map
Joffre Lakes is yet another amazing snowshoeing trail near (kind of) to Whistler. About 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Whistler gets you to the Joffre Lakes trailhead. Located up on the Duffy Lake Road north of Pemberton, Joffre Lakes is well known for its incredibly surreal, turquoise water. In the winter of course all three of the Joffre Lakes are frozen over but the trail is popular with skier and snowshoers between the months of November and early June (depending on snowfall). Though the trail is fairly well marked and often snowshoe and ski tracked in the winter it is possible to lose the trail after dark or after or during heavy snowfall.
So caution should be taken on this trail. Make sure you don't go snowshoeing to Joffre Lakes immediately after heavy snow as you can easily lose the trail and get lost. Pick a nice, sunny day and leave yourself lots of daylight and be prepared with headlights as the winters bring very early sunsets, especially in the mountains. The trail is sometimes steep as you gain 400 metres of altitude in just 5k trailhead to the third Joffre Lake. On snowshoes expect to reach the third lake in about two hours.
On a sunny day the frozen lake is beautiful and almost warm feeling. However, as soon as the sun goes behind the mountains the temperature gets bitter cold so be prepared with very warm clothing on any snowshoeing adventure there. You do occasionally see people camp overnight at Joffre Lakes in the winter. The usual campsite area is buried in snow as it lays at the base of the mountains so people usually put their tens directly on the frozen lake. Extraordinary!