Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerEmerald Forest is a cute little forest that is well hidden between Whistler Cay and Alpine.  From Whistler Village, if you go down to the end of Lorimer Road you will see the Valley Trail branch off in three directions.  If you take the direction toward Meadow Park, you will immediately cross the bridge over the River of Golden Dreams.  The paved trail then continues to Meadow Park, but if you take the first left after crossing the train tracks, you will come to the old gravel pit and the start of the Emerald Forest trails.

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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In the winter the gravel pit is a sledding hill and in the summer it is the gateway to a few hiking and biking trails.  If you follow the trail up the edge of the gravel pit and look back you will get a great view of Wedge MountainBlackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain.  Unfortunately this view is through power lines, but still the view is fantastic.  At the top of the gravel pit you will see two trails that enter Emerald Forest.  The first trail takes you through the middle of the forest along a wide and relatively smooth dirt path.  This path immediately immerses you in the emerald coloured surrounding of the forest.  You immediately understand how the forest got its name as everywhere you look you see green.  Green moss on the ground and green trees around and above you.  The forest above is so thick that the sun can barely get through.  What rays of sun get through light up the green surroundings to illuminate the darkness. This gives Emerald Forest a magical feel to it.  It may be a sunny, summer day, yet the forest is surprisingly sealed off from the outside world with the dense forest and thick canopy above.  Despite the thick forest cover, walking through the forest is wonderfully bright and actually glows green all around. 

Beautiful Emerald Forest

The second entrance takes you along the more rugged and wild ridge trail that takes you roughly parallel, though high above the Valley Trail.  This trail zig-zags around fallen trees, boulders and several rock outcrops as well as a couple of small sunny areas with partial views east toward Wedge Mountain.  Occasionally this trail meanders into what feels like bushwhacking before rejoining the lower, wider trail that runs through the middle of Emerald Forest.  The further you walk from the gravel pit end of Emerald Forest the wilder, more overgrown, and more interesting Emerald Forest becomes.  Fallen trees everywhere and strangely out-of-place looking, truck sized boulders force the trails in interesting directions.  The terrain is so chaotic with forest growth and boulders that you can often only see a few dozen metres in any direction despite the lack of very much forest floor growth.

This makes the forest quite fun to walk through as you never quite know what you will find around each bend in the trail.  Though it is a wonderfully messy spider web of interconnecting trails, you can't get lost for very long.  If you start at the gravel pit near Loirmer Road, you will eventually come out at either the Valley Trail on the right or the old gravel road on your left.  The old gravel road is the more scenic and serene route to return to where you started.  A few decades ago it was a connecting road between Alta Lake Road and Lorimer Road.  Now it is a wide and scenic connecting trail that is not very well known.  Just before this road connects to Alta Lake Road you will see a trail descend down into the forest on your left.  This is the beautifully wild and challenging bike trail know as A River Runs Through It.  It traces a fantastically winding route through this deep and dark forest for several kilometres before coming out at Rainbow Park.  The old road is the easiest and direct route back to Lorimer Road as it is fairly straight and mostly gradually downhill.

Emerald Forest in Whistler

Emerald Forest Map

Emerald Forest in Whistler

Emerald Forest Boulders

More Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking A to Z!

Arête: a thin ridge of rock formed by two glaciers parallel to each other. Sometimes formed from two cirques meeting. From the French for edge or ridge.  Around ...
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Western hemlock (tsuga heterophylla) is a large evergreen coniferous tree that is native to the west coast of North America. Unlike many other trees in ...
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Ablation Zone: the lower altitude region of a glacier where there is a net loss of ice mass due to melting, sublimation, evaporation, ice calving or ...
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The Garibaldi Ranges are a subdivision of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.  Deriving its name from Mount Garibaldi, the Garibaldi Ranges cover ...
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Glacier Window: the cave-like opening at the mouth of a glacier where meltwater runs out.  Glacier windows are often extraordinarily beautiful.  A blue glow ...
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Coast Douglas-fir trees are medium to extremely large trees that you will encounter in Whistler and Garibaldi Park. They are the second tallest conifer ...
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Northair Mine is wonderful, hidden world high up in Callaghan Valley.  It was a gold mine run by the Northair Group from 1976 until was abandoned in 1982 ...
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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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Amazing Hiking Trails in Whistler

The Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails!

The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
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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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Ancient Cedars is a nice, easy/moderate 2.5 kilometre (1.6 mile) hiking trail on the far side of Cougar Mountain, just 13.1 kilometres north of Whistler Village. A small, untouched grove of huge western ...
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Ring Lake is a fantastically serene and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake, but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre(6.2 mile) hike takes you through a rarely hiked forest, ...
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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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Free Camping Gear Delivery to Garibaldi Park

Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

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