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April Hiking in Whistler and Garibaldi Park

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Average Whistler Village temperatures in April range from 2c to 11c (36f to 52f)

Train Wreck - Whistler Hiking TrailsApril in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with the Telus Snowboard Festival and the excitement of summer.  The snow in the village starts the month measured in feet and ends the month, having mostly melted, about halfway up to mid-station on Whistler Mountain.  Early in April the usual favourite places to snowshoe are warm and wonderful.  Check out the easy ones here... and the more challenging ones here... Snowshoeing to Garibaldi Lake, Panorama Ridge, Taylor Meadows, Helm Creek, Cheakamus Lake, Rainbow Lake - Best of Whistler by Monthand many others become a lot more enjoyable when you can park your car closer, or even at the trailhead.  These places are amazing if you can hike and snowshoe to them in April as you will likely have the whole places to yourself.  They are tough hikes though to do on snowshoes, so be prepared. Rainbow Lake is a tough and beautiful snowshoeing trail 8k, high up in the mountains across the valley from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.  The trail is generally well marked and easy to follow, however some sections are tricky to follow as the heavy snow bends the bushes down obscuring theTaylor Meadows in Garibaldi Provincial Park Whistler BC trail.  The trail is a constant, fairly steep ascent and you may notice ski tracks along the route.  A popular skiing attraction in Whistler is to get heli-dropped on Rainbow Mountain and skiing back to Whistler via the Rainbow Lake trail.  Rainbow Falls is a nice detour near the beginning of the Rainbow Lake trail. Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake are amazing places to snowshoe in the winter in Whistler.  Beautiful snowy meadows Rainbow Park - Best of Whistler by Monthsurrounded by mountains everywhere you look.  Black Tusk towering in the distance so close and blanketed in wonderful, beautiful snow.  Garibaldi Lake is accessible as well on this snowshoeing hike.  The Taylor Meadows trail forks partway up, left goes to Taylor Meadows, right to Garibaldi Lake (the trail joins again at the far side of both campsites).  The extraordinary Parkhurst Ghost Town can be reached by 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 Parkhurst Ghost Town - Whistler Hiking TrailsVillage 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.  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 Sea to Sky Trail - Best of Whistler by Monthit 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. Cheakamus River is located just 8k south of Whistler Village just off of the Sea to Sky Highway.  This well marked, thoughSkookumchuck Hot Springs near Whistler BC beautifully remote feeling snowshoeing trail takes you along both sides of the wildly crashing Cheakamus River.  Snow begins to fall in earnest in the Whistler area in November so the best months for snowshoeing the Cheakamus River are from late November to early April. Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park is an absolutely phenomenal, though long, snowshoeing trail Sloquet Hot Springs near Whistler BCthat begins at the Diamond Head area in Squamish.  From Whistler Village, the trailhead is just over an hours drive away, located near the south end of the massive Garibaldi Park.  The Elfin Lakes Trail 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.  Pristine, all white valleys, so peaceful in the winter, with the long and ever warming days of spring take hold in the mountains.  The temperatures in the mountains can still get below freezing, and certainly at night they always do in April, but the days are amazing.  The various hot springs near Whistler are also great destinations in April.

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May Hiking in Whistler and Garibaldi Park - Stawamus Chief

Average Whistler Village temperatures in May range from 7c to 17c. (44f to 62f)

Cheakamus Lake - Whistler by MonthMay is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler.  The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens.  Whistler is fairly quiet in May and nobody goes hiking.  This is because most of the trails have quite deep snow.  This keeps everyone away, and for good reason.  The Garibaldi Park and Whistler region trails are all steep, so hiking or snowshoeing in deep snow is exhausting.  But if that doesn't bother you, then you have a lot to look forward to in Whistler in May.  There is something very special about looking across the brutally desolate Wedgemount Lake, still frozen solid, and nothing but pure white all around.  That contrast against the perfectly blue sky is unforgettable.  It's a hell of a Wedgemount Lake - Whistler by Monthhard hike in May, but it's worth it to have such an amazing place to yourself.  This goes for all the other hikes around Whistler.  For some hikes that are not so exhausting, Cheakamus Lake is great in May.  Depending on the snow accumulation during the year of course, but usually you can drive to the trailhead parking lot by early May and if you can reach the parking lot, the trail should be mostly free of snow.  The Garibaldi Park hikes are amazing in May.  Taylor Meadows, Garibaldi Lake are great, and not terribly hard, but snowshoes might be necessary, depending on how much the snow is packed down from other hikers.  Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk are pretty exhausting with the added difficulty of snow, but considerably more amazing with snow. Taylor Meadows in Garibaldi Provincial Park Whistler BC May is also the month where the road to Sloquet Hot Springs becomes free of snow and you can drive right to the hot springs campsite.  A hot springs trip for two or three days going to both Skookumchuck and Sloquet makes for an amazing couple days.  There is a charge for Skookumchuck and theoretically a charge for Sloquet (for overnight camping), but I have yet to have the pleasure of paying. The waterfalls around Whistler are great in May.  Alexander Falls will have Wayside Park - Whistler by Monthlots of snow, but only a few dozen metres of it to walk through to the viewpoint.  Rainbow Falls will be free of snow in May as well as Brandywine and Nairn Falls. Joffre Lakes is possibly the best hike in May.  The snow disappears faster from the trail there, and what snow remains is consistently packed down by skiers, snowshoers and hikers.  To hike Joffre Lakes in May you just need good warm clothes, good waterproof shoes for the mud and snow patches and the foresight or luck to go on a sunny day.  The lake is amazing in good weather and dismal in grey weather.  South of Whistler, just 45 minutes away is the beautiful Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls hike.  You can hike both from the same trailhead (Shannon Falls Trailhead), and be back in Whistler with half a day to spare.  The views are amazing and snow isShannon Falls in Squamish gone in May.  Elfin Lakes in the Diamond Head area are amazing if you are up for a 22k roundtrip hike to an amazing mountain paradise.  Better yet, if you have time to overnight there, there is an amazing hut equipped with propane heating and stoves, solar powered lights and the cute little Elfin Lakes out front.  This area is breathtaking, though increasingly busy due to its proximity to Vancouver.  But in May it's a serene paradise.  The Elfin Lakes Hut cost's $15 to stay in (sounds like a lot, but wait until you see it-beautiful).  Camping in the area The Lions Binkert Trail in North Vancouvercosts $10.  This is an exception to the rule in most of the hiking destinations around Whistler and in Garibaldi Park, where everything is free.  Camping, parking, etc.  But the high popularity of the Elfin Lakes and Diamond Head area has necessitated an almost constant Park Ranger presence there.  They even have their own hut next to the Elfin Lakes Hut.  And the Elfin Lakes Hut is nicer than many hostels in the world.  Elsewhere in Garibaldi Park you can leave your wallet at home, with the exception of course of Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows campgrounds where there is a small overnight charge.  Further down in North Vancouver, where the snow has all but gone in May so The Lions are now easily hike-able, though the West Lion Summit near the end may not be.  Hollyburn Mountain, Black Mountain and St Mark's Summit are all great in May, and make great day trips from Whistler.

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Whistler and Garibaldi Park hiking in June

Average Whistler Village temperatures in June range from 9c to 21c (48f to 70f)

Cheakamus Lake - Whistler by MonthJune in Whistler is the first month of the year where you feel proper hot summer weather, and much like May, Whistler hiking trails are almost completely empty.  This is of course due largely to the deep, lingering snow that makes the trails difficult and some requiring snowshoes to access.  All the lower elevation hikes will be free of snow such as Cheakamus Lake, Ancient Cedars, Alexander Falls, Brandywine Falls, Nairn Falls, Train Wreck and much of the trails to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake.  The hike to Russet Lake via Singing Pass is a good option in June.  The trail is not too steep, though Ancient Cedars - Whistler Hiking Trailslong.  The trailhead is just a few hundred metres from the Whistler Gondola and runs in between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains on the Whistler side.  After 3k you walk directly under the Peak to Peak gondola, as it passes far overhead.  The trail continues steadily uphill through the deep forest, though very well marked trail which is used continuously in the winter by skiers doing the Spearhead Traverse.  Snow will be encountered in June around half way up the trail so having snowshoes might be handy to avoid post holing at times.  At 11k you reach the junction where you can turn right Joffre Lakes Provincial Park Hiking Guideto hike Musical Bumps on Whistler (another 4k to the amazing summit), or turn left and reach Russet Lake and the beautiful little hut there (another 3k).  You could easily argue that late June is the best time of year to hike in Whistler.  No crowds, not that there really ever is in Whistler, with the exception of the Garibaldi Lake area in the summer and on other Whistler trails the odd weekends.  In June there are no bugs.  An Train Wreck - Whistler Hiking Trailsextraordinarily wonderful thing, as you will appreciate if you can contrast the lack of bugs in June with the swarms of flies and mosquitoes you can encounter in July and August.  Not that the Whistler area trails are notorious for bugs.  But once you hike in June and suddenly realize you've not seen one single irritating insect.  Hiking in July and August take on a previously unnoticed annoyance with bugs.  The third great reason June is great for hiking is the occasion to camp on snow, and yet not feel cold.  As the snow in many places you will find to camp would have reached 5 metres deep in the winter, it takes considerable days of hot weather to melt it by July, so in late June you may still be putting up your tent on Nairn Falls Provincial Parksnow, though be hot enough to walk around shirtless and shoeless.  What a great time of year to be outside in Whistler.  The difficult answer is when the snow is gone enough to hike comfortably without snowshoes in Whistler.  The simple Skookumchuck Hot Springs near Whistler BCanswer is usually late June, but in 2011 that date was well into July due to the extraordinarily late accumulation of snow.  The BC Parks website has fantastic and frequent trail updates with regards to snow levels.  So for June, if you are motivated enough for a little extra exertion hiking in the snow, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable hiking experience.  Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk, Wedge Mountain are examples of these incredible places to try in June. Joffre Lakes is one of the best hikes in June as it's reliably free of snow, usually.  The snow disappears faster from the trail there, and what snow remains is consistently packed down by skiers, snowshoers and hikers.  To hike Joffre Lakes in June you just need good warm clothes, good waterproof shoes for the mud and snow patches and the foresight or luck to go on a sunny day.  The lake is amazing in good weather so try your best to go on nice days.  The various hot springs around Whistler are great in June as the roads are all free of snow leading to them.  Skookumchuck Hot Springs and Sloquet Hot Springs can be done on one trip as they are on the same road (2hrs for Skookumchuck and 3hrs for Sloquet from Whistler).

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Wedge Glacier Aerial Views

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