Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: BivouacBivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of natural materials found on site such as leaves and branches or simply sleeping under the stars.  Often used interchangeably with the word camp, however, bivouac implies a shorter, quicker and much more basic and naturally constructed camp setup.  

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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For example, at the Taylor Meadows campground in Garibaldi Park, camping is the appropriately used term to describe sleeping there at night as you have constructed tent platforms and are using a tent.  If instead you plan to sleep on the summit of Black Tusk, bivouacking would be more accurately used to describe what you are doing as you are not using a tent.  In the warm summer months around Whistler you will find people bivouacking under the stars in various places with just a sleeping bag.  Pier bivouacking is the memorable experience of spending the night on one of Whistler’s many piers on lakes such as Alta Lake, Lost Lake, and Alpha Lake.  The wonderful, wooden tent platforms at Wedgemount Lake are also ideal places to bivouac under the stars.  Along the world renowned West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island you will find several very interesting places previous hikers have bivouacked.  From constructed driftwood shelters to idyllic, yet haunting caves, finding a refuge from the harsh west coast weather requires a lot of creativity.  Finding one is always interesting as you feel like you have stumbled upon a hidden world.  Whether in a dark, but inviting cave with a driftwood seats around the remnants of a campfire or a large, yet strangely cozy lean-to driftwood house with a million dollar view.  Entering one of these always fills you with a sense of wonder about who was here before you and curiosity makes you peer into every dark corner. 

Beach Cave Bivouac WCT

Bivouac West Coast Trail

Pier Bivouacking Whistler

Pier Bivouacking Whistler Alta Lake

Twentyone Mile Creek Bivouacking

For the most part bivouacking leaves no trace, but occasionally in Whistler you come across something more lasting.  In the deep, dark, hidden forest trail A River Runs Through It, between Emerald Forest and Rainbow Park you occasionally stumble upon interesting curiosities.  Just a few metres from the beautiful and winding Twentyone Mile Creek a large, fairly elaborate, yet nearly invisible lean to has been long abandoned.  Thin, but long trees, about four metres long lay against a cross beam between two big trees.  With the addition of a tarp over one side, you can imagine it being quite cozy as well as pretty big.  Just a few steps away you have the crashing creek flowing past and a nice, clean rocky shore to make a campfire.  A beautifully picturesque place to camp and an ancient, overgrown dirt road and various old and new trails lead in a few directions and out to civilization unexpectedly quickly. 

Twentyone Mile Creek Bivouac

Winter Bivouacking at Elfin Lakes

In the winter months in Whistler, bivouacking can take the form of a snow cave or quinzee.  People bivouacking in snow caves are pretty common around Whistler and in Garibaldi Park in the winter.  Outside the Eflin Lakes Hut in Garibaldi Park in the winter you will usually find several snow caves dug out of the snowbank outside the hut.  A quinzee is a low-tech version of an igloo that is made from a pile of loose snow.  The pile of snow is shaped into a round, igloo shaped dome, then the inside is dug out.  Because the snow is not terribly compacted on the inside it does not take a huge amount of effort or skill to make.  The name quinzee is a Canadian term for what other parts of the English speaking world would call a snow hut.

Snow Cave Elfin Lakes

Snow Cave Elfin Lakes

More Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking A to Z!

Tarn: a small alpine lake.  The word tarn originates from the Norse word tjorn which translates to English as pond.  In the United Kingdom, tarn is widely ...
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Fitzsimmons Creek is the beautiful and huge creek that crashes through Whistler Village.  When walking from Whistler Village to the Upper Village, you will cross ...
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Green Lake is the marvellously vivid, green coloured lake just north of Whistler Village.  Driving north on the Sea to Sky Highway, Green Lake appears ...
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Nunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance in an otherwise barren landscape often makes them ...
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Paper birch, also known as white birch is a type of birch tree that grows in northern North America. Named for its paper-like, white or cream coloured ...
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Waterbar and Cross-Ditch: the purpose of a waterbar or cross-ditch is to capture and redirect surface water from the road and channel it across the road ...
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Columnar Jointing: bizarre looking columns of oddly angular rock formations that can be found in many places around Whistler and worldwide.  Generally ...
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Cornice: a wind deposited wave of snow on a ridge, often overhanging a steep slope or cliff.  They are the result of snow building up on the crest of a ...
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Complete West Coast Trail Hiking Guide

The Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails!

The short, winding, and ever-changing hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is the same as the much more popular trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail, and the trail quickly ...
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Black Tusk is the extraordinarily iconic and appropriately named mountain that can be seen from almost everywhere in Whistler.  The massive black spire of crumbling rock juts out of the earth in an incredibly ...
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Newt Lake is cute little hidden lake high up on the far side of Cougar Mountain near Ancient Cedars.  Its location is a wonderful mix of unexpected characteristics that combine to make it a gorgeous place to ...
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Helm Creek is a cute, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek campground, Helm Creek descends further ...
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Whistler & Garibaldi Park Best Hiking by Month!

In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with overflowing patios and ...
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May 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 ...
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June is a pretty amazing month to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The average low and high temperatures in Whistler range from 9c to 21c(48f/70f).  ...
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Garibaldi Park Camping Gear Rental

Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

Whistler Hiking Trails

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Squamish is located in the midst of a staggering array of amazing hiking trails. Garibaldi Provincial Park sprawls alongside Squamish and up and beyond Whistler. Tantalus Provincial Park lays across the valley to the west and the wonderfully remote Callaghan Valley ...
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