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Trail Running in Whistler and Garibaldi Park

Whistler trail running routes are virtually endless.  Every year, new trails are created linking existing, multi-use trails, and existing trails are connected to the larger, spider-web of Whistler's amazing trail network.  The difficult thing is finding and running all the ones you want in the limited time you have in Whistler.  Realizing you didn't run the Rubble Creek Classic 25k, Singing Pass 22k or missed the sun rise over Blackcomb Mountain from the Alta Lake 7.7k would be a shame.  Here is a list(with maps) of the best of the best Whistler running routes to save you time looking and more time running.

Whistler Golf Course Trail RunningThe Whistler Golf Course is a fantastic trail to run right from Whistler Village.  The beautiful and scenic Valley Trail runs around the perimeter of the course.  This locals favourite, 4.8 kilometre running trail has some great views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains as well as a stunning view down its length of the more distant Wedge Mountain, the highest mountain in the Garibaldi Park.  The massive mountain opposite Whistler Mountain is Mt Sproatt.  On a clear day you can also spot the snowy and distant Rainbow Mountain to the right of Mt Sproatt.  Dogs are welcome on this trail and finding it from Whistler Village is very easy.  You just want to run under the pedestrian/car underpass under the Sea to Sky Highway near the Whistler Conference Centre.  The Whistler Golf Course is a very popular place Whistler Golf Course 5k Trail Runto spot bears in Whistler from March to September.  They are very fond of the grass and it is not unusual to spot two or even three if you keep your eyes out, on a run around the course.  This is most likely early or late in the day.  Bear attacks are so rare as to be insignificant in Whistler Village.  The only real chance of having a bad encounter with a bear in Whistler Village is to run into one or somehow corner one.  If you are not running from Whistler Village, and instead arriving by car you can park for free at the end of Lorimer Rd.  At the dead end of Lorimer Rd you will immediately see a clear trail sign indicating which direction to go.  Rainbow Park points one way, Meadow Park another way and Whistler Village a third way.  You want to follow the direction for Whistler Village as it takes you to the Whistler Golf Course before the Village.  The Whistler Golf Course 4.8k is one of the few trails suitable for running in the winter.  It is snow plowed daily and part of the trail has good lighting for the short winter daylight hours.  Despite the partial lighting a headlight is necessary for this run after dark.

Aerial View of Whistler Golf Course

Why should you run the Whistler Golf Course 4.8k?

Convenient and easy to find.  You can run right from the Village.  Well laid out, wide, paved, two lane Valley Trail.  Your dog is welcome.  Suitable for jogging strollers as it is wide, smooth pavement.  Good for running all year-round (snow plowed in the winter).  Beautiful views all around the trail.  Good running distance for doing 5k or multiples of 5k.  So much to see it doesn't get boring.

Info and Directions to the Whistler Golf Course 4.8k Run >>

Lost Lake Park Trail Running in WhistlerThe Lost Lake trails are an amazing web of running routes located on the edge of Whistler Village.  Just like the Whistler Golf Course 4.8k running route, you can run the Lost Lake trails right from your hotel in the Village.  The main lost lake trail is a very wide, gravel trail that runs around Lost Lake, a small but very picturesque lake.  In the summer it is home to Whistler's busiest beach.  This huge sandy beach lays at the end of Lost Lake.  There are dozens of named trails in the lost lake area and by picking up one of the nice Whistler Village maps that you see everywhere in the Village you can easily plot a more challenging route than the 6k one shown here.  Though the trails seem to run in all directions, overall they are hemmed in on all sides, and it would be difficult to get Lost Lake 5k Trail Run in Whistleryourself lost.  Much of the year Lost Lake is a great place to spot bears.  Though there are frequent sightings, bears are generally timid and run for the trees when they hear you coming.  It is very important to keep your distance and avoid surprising or antagonizing them.  There has never been an unprovoked bear attack in Whistler so you don't have to be worried running in bear country.  Dogs are welcome on the Lost Lake trails.  In the winter months, snow covers these trails and the area becomes a cross country and snowshoeing area and there is a $9 per day charge to access the trails during the winter season, but you must be on snowshoes or skis.

Why should you run the Lost Lake 6k?

Close to the Village, within five minutes from your hotel you are immersed in deep forest.  Almost constant, beautiful views as you circle the lake.  There is a large swimming pier that you will run past that is good for swimming off of.  Also, you will be running past the big, sandy, main Lost Lake beach, good for swimming as well.  The Lost Lake running trails can be varied in length and route as to make them always interesting.

More on Running the Lost Lake Trails in Whistler >>

Whistler Train Wreck Trail Running RouteThe Whistler Trail Wreck 6k trail run is a magnificent jog through a surreal world of enormous paintings on and inside the scattered wreckage of a train from the 1950's.  The seven mangled cars are distributed through an area about 1 kilometre long and trails have formed connecting them as well as various viewpoints to the Cheakamus River.  The train cars, some on their sides, some upside down have been painted with vibrant colours and extraordinary designs, that each one takes you into a different, bizarre world.  One unexpected surprise in exploring the Whistler Train Wreck is that the Cheakamus River in the area is amazing.  A wide and Whistler Train Wreck Running and Hiking Mapthunderous waterfall descends into a canyon.  Several great rock outcrops jut out above the river allowing tremendous views of the falls and river as it passes.  The difficulty in jogging the Whistler Trail Wreck 6k is not finding your way, but not stopping at every amazing viewpoint or to look in every bizarre, wrecked car.  The trail follows a small river from Function Junction at the Function trailhead to the Flank Trail, then cuts under the highway to reach the beautiful Cheakamus River some great viewpoints.  This trail, after the viewpoints forces you back toward the train tracks further along where you have to run near the train tracks before you can again descend into the forest trails. This time the trails lead you throughout the train wrecked cars and over a couple of beautiful, wooden ramps before eventually leading to a dead end at the end of the trail.  At this point you will have covered nearly 3k from your car and by running back, retracing your steps will end up being about 6k.  This run is very dog friendly and usually free of snow from April to November.  It is fun to snowshoe during the winter months, though considerably more strenuous.

Aerial Video of Cheakamus River at Whistler Train Wreck

Why should you run the Whistler Train Wreck 6k?

Such a bizarre and amazing place to run.  The trails are narrow, treed and never in a straight line which makes the route very fun and interesting.  Very convenient to run when driving to or from Whistler as the trailhead parking is just off the Sea to Sky Highway in Function Junction on Alpha Lake Road.

More on Running the Whistler Train Wreck 6k Trail >>

Alta Lake Trail Running in WhistlerThe Alta Lake 7.7k is a beautiful run that takes you from Whistler Village, along the Whistler Golf course then all the way around Alta Lake.  This run is amazing as it takes you through some fantastic scenery.  It follow the beautiful, wide and paved Valley Trail for most of the way except for one stretch that runs along Alta Lake Road at the far side of Alta Lake.  This road is very quiet though and rises up above Alta Lake for some great views and then descends again to connect with the Valley Trail again at Rainbow Park.  The beautiful trail then runs from Rainbow Park to the Lorimer Road junction, where the Valley Trail splits.  Left goes to Meadow Park, but right Alta Lake 7.7k Trail Run in Whistlertakes you back along the Whistler Golf Course and the Village where you began.  If you are not starting and finishing your run in the Village then this Lorimer Road junction is a great place to park for free.  This amazing running route takes you past three beautiful piers on Alta Lake and along two of Alta Lake's beautiful parks.  There are washrooms at both parks as well as drinking fountains.  There are several amazing viewpoints along way making this a very interesting and entertaining run.  If you appreciate sunrises then do this run as there are breathtaking sunrise vantage points at several sections of Alta Lake.  This dog friendly running route is partially snow plowed in the winter, however much of it is not.  The Rainbow Park to Lorimer section is not plowed as well as the far side of Alta Lake.  Because of this, the trail is only good to run from April to November.

Why should you run the Alta Lake 7.7k?

Such a beautiful and varied running route.  From the little, old growth cedar forest at the Whistler Golf Course, to the sweeping mountain views across the fairways, to the panorama views of Alta Lake framed by mountains, the Alta Lake run has it all.  Dog friendly and starting and finishing in Whistler Village right where you want to be.

More on Running the Alta Lake 7.7k Trail >>

Lorimer to Green Lake Trail Running in WhistlerLorimer Road near Whistler Village in Whistler Cay ends at a parking area at the junction where three Valley Trails connect.  One leads to Meadow Park, another to Rainbow Park, and the third to the Whistler Golf Course on its way to Whistler Village.  This makes for an excellent starting point for three different runs.  The easy and short Whistler Golf Course 4.8k, the Alta Lake 7.7k and the Lorimer to Green Lake 9k.  Each can start and finish at this parking area and all are circle routes that avoid retracing your steps making them very enjoyable routes.  The run out to Green Lake begins here by following Lorimer to Green Lake 9k Trail Runthe sign on the trail for Meadow Park.  This run is the only one listed here that you should print the map out to guide you as there are several turns along the way.  From Lorimer Road you run past Meadow Park (keeping Meadow park on your left).  This will lead you to the intersection of Alpine Way and the highway.  Cross the highway and then turn right again onto the Valley Trail.  This leads to Green Lake and some amazing views.  Also there is a beautiful, big pedestrian bridge just before you reach the Nicklaus North Golf Club.  The Valley Trail cuts through their parking lot and veers back towards Whistler Village.  This trail eventually leads back to the Village at Lorimer Road and the highway.  You cross the highway here and follow Lorimer Road back to your starting point.  There are no significant hills on this route and dogs are allowed.  Unfortunately the Valley Trail leading to Meadow Park is not snow plowed in the winter and is very difficult to run on during the months between November and April.

Aerial View of Green Lake and Nicklaus North Golf Course in Whistler

Why should you run the Lorimer to Green Lake 9k?

This run weaves through Whistler almost completely on the Valley Trail system.  You get beautiful views as you run by the River of Golden Dreams, then Green Lake, and finally nice views through the Village.

More on Whistler's Lorimer to Green Lake Running Route >>

Cheakamus Lake Trail Run in WhistlerCheakamus Lake is an incredible place to run.  The trailhead is located 8 kilometres up a logging road off of the Sea to Sky Highway at Cheakamus Crossing.  The first thing you notice while running the trail is the wonderful scent from the cedar forest you ascend into.  The massive, very impressive trees give you the immediate sense of running through an untouched wilderness.  Then the beautiful Cheakamus River comes into view again and leads to Cheakamus Lake.  So close to Whistler, yet well within Garibaldi Park and aside from this trail you run on, the area is pristine forest.  Trees, river, lake and serenity surround you on this run.  Another great aspect of the trail is that in bends left and Cheakamus Lake Running Trail Topo Mapright, and up and down constantly, keeping you focussed on the trail as much as you try to focus on the beautiful surroundings.  The trail goes for 3 kilometres along the Cheakamus River until it reaches the lake, then the trail continues along the lake.  This 4k section between 3k and 7k is the nicest.  The lake views are amazing and constantly changing vantage points.  The view of the lake is constantly south facing which gives you a great, sunny vantage point for your entire run.  And of course the sunrise and sunsets are magical.  This run is beautiful if you make it 6k roundtrip, or 12k or 14k roundtrip.  There are excellent signs along the way indicating kilometres and where you are so you can focus on the run instead of where you are.  As this trail is in Garibaldi Park, dogs are not allowed.  This is out of respect for the resident animals.

Why should you run the Cheakamus Lake 12k (or 6k or 14k)?

This is an all-round beautiful trail.  The dirt trail is challenging with frequent small hills and bends, yet the overall elevation gain/loss is hardly noticable.  Cheakamus Lake is very beautiful and running this trail gives you a real glimpse of the Canadian Wilderness.  Although this trail is deep in the woods it is well defined and if you have a headlamp you can easily run it after dark.

More on Running the Cheakamus Lake Trail in Garibaldi Park >>

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