If you want to really get to know the Whistler area this summer, and discover a few “locals” spots the best way to do this is to explore. There are hiking trails, bike trails and logging roads just about everywhere and you can access some pretty cool places easily with or without a vehicle.
The best way to explore is to play with google maps and drop pins on places of interest. Using the satellite pictures that google has makes it pretty easy to find logging roads and other access points to go explore some hidden lakes and look outs in the mountains.
If you need something easy to whet your appetite, try some of the spots below. These spots are relatively well known, but at least the I won’t get in too much trouble for sharing them.
Brandywine falls is super easy to get to, only 11 km’s south of Whistler on the east side of the highway, it’s well marked so you can’t miss the turn off. You’ll walk about 10 minutes on a well marked path to a lookout point with a good view of a pretty sweet waterfall. It can be busy here, so use your head and go on a weekday.
Nairn falls is 32 km’s north of Whistler on the east side of the highway. The turnoff and hike is almost as easy to find and hike as Brandywine, but it gets slightly less traffic. The walk is only about 1.5 km’s from the car park, so it’s definitely one of the easiest on this list. The waterfall is pretty impressive though and worth a look.
The Stawamus Chief is the second largest granite monolith in the world and has a pretty awesome lookout of Howe Sound once you get to the top. This one is actually located in Squamish, and you can’t really miss it. It’s huge. The hike to the top is 1.8 km, but you gain 630 metres of elevation, so it’s a bit of a hike. This one’s worth it.
This is the longest hike in the group, but there’s a hut at the end that sleeps up to 6 people so if you want an over nighter, this is the one. It’s about 7 km’s in, and takes about 4 hours to get there, so be prepared.
Wedgemount Lake is in Garibaldi provincial park surrounded by the the Wedgemount and Armchair glaciers. If it sounds impressive it’s because it is. Put it on your list.
The Ancient Cedars trail is a good one if you want to go be a hippie in the woods for a couple of hours. Lots of big old trees that have been there for 800-1000 years or so. There’s also a couple of small lakes up here. This trail is a 5 km loop located just north of Whistler.
As you’re driving north on highway 99, take the turn off into Cougar Mountain adventures on the left just past Emerald. You’ll drive about 4 km’s up the dirt road until you see a small gravel parking lot.