17 Best Hikes in Whistler for Beginners & Experts

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There’s no denying that discovering a new hiking trail is an exciting experience.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie that’s searching for challenging terrain or you prefer to just take things easy, Whistler has a hike that’s right up your alley.

This article will provide a brief overview of the best hikes in Whistler with details on the difficulty level and time required to complete the hike.

Ready to venture off the beaten track? Here are 17 of the best hikes in Whistler that you won’t want to miss out on.

Easy Hikes in Whistler

1. Lost Lake Park

Just a short walk from Whistler Village, Lost Lake Trail is actually pieced together by various trails that intersect throughout the region. Easy and serene, just don’t get caught up in the detour trails and bike paths.

The recommended route takes you through Centennial, Lower Panorama, Old Mill Road, and Lower Panorama Trail. Memorial benches and lots of deep greens line the well-maintained gravel path, making it one of the best hikes in Whistler for families with kids. Pets are also welcome to explore the trail variations with.

Upon reaching Lost Lakes, you’ll find different viewpoints to admire the lake from. There’s a slice of beach with public bathrooms; some prefer shaded points away from the crowd. Blackcomb and Whistler views are iconic from this location.

Park at Spruce Grove if necessary.

Distance: 4.3 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 1-1.5 hours

Lost Lake Park Whistler BC
Lost Lake Park Photo by Ruth Hartnup

2. Rainbow Falls Trail

Possibly one of the easiest Whistler hikes, Rainbow Falls Trail is a kid-friendly route that loops around some glorious views. It’s a great walk to stretch out your legs, especially since the slightly rocky path is shaded.

Throughout the walk, you’ll come across a beautiful bridge and several falls – a great way to introduce kids to natural water features.

The trail does get a little harder to follow as you near Rainbow Falls; you’ll want to follow the orange tie-markers.

You then have the option to go off trail and reach the bottom portion where rainbows appear like magic. Do watch your footing as the pathway down can be a bit slippery.

Distance: 2.1 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 50 minutes

3. Brandywine Falls

Possibly the easiest hiking trail near Whistler that’s everyone-appropriate, the Brandywine Falls trek takes you out and back under an hour – perfect to slide between itineraries.

Visitors flock here for that reason, so you may try and avoid the crush by visiting early in the morning.
The path is stroller-friendly; families with young kids can absolutely make it to the top together.

Spot hummingbirds and other winged critters flit around, and snap some creative shots at the pretty bridge and railway crossing.

The end of the trail features angled views of the 70-meter high Brandywine Falls, as well as marvelous views over Daisy Lake. There’s also a small picnic area with bathrooms if you want to hang around for a while.

Distance: 1.3 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 30 minutes

Brandywine Falls Whistler Canada sp
Brandywine Falls Whistler Canada

4. Train Wreck Trail

Open year-round, the Train Wreck Trail top the list of best hiking trails in Whistler. Casual hikers and runners enjoy this popular route for both its unusual scenery and ease of access.

Notably, the trail doubles as the site of a derailed 1950s train. The scattered boxcars are spiced up with graffiti, making great backdrops for photo ops. Glacial runoffs also formed short, gushing waterfalls to keep the landscape varied.

At some point, you’ll come by spectacular views of the Cheakamus River. For those who are adventurous and aren’t afraid of heights, consider taking a detour to the opposite shore.

There’s a suspension bridge connected to the Sea to Sky trail. Note that the trail past the train wreck gets narrow and steep, so feel free to double back and try an alternative trail back to the parking lot instead.

Also, don’t hike on the train tracks! It’s an active railway.

Distance: 5.8 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 1.5 hours

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5. Cheakamus Lake

While some might categorise the Cheakamus Lake Trail as a moderate hike, it’s actually an easy trek that eases you through the elevation gain. Definitely enjoy a picnic at the destination before turning back.

The well-maintained path takes you through the fir-studded woods, continuing on with minimal incline. Old growth trees and rushing river accompany you all the way.

You’ll take in beautiful panoramas of lake and glacier-capped peaks long before you reach Cheakamus Lake. About mid-way, make sure to pause at the campsite to appreciate those mountain views.

There are also a dozen geochaches to engage the geography buff! Adventurous, spirited individuals may also take a side quest to Helm Creek Bridge – just an extra 400 meters walk.

This hike is definitely high beauty-low effort.

Distance: 14.3 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 4 hours

Moderate Hikes in Whistler

6. Farside & Riverside Loop

For a moderate, multi-level hike in Whistler, try the Farside & Riverside Loop. The loop trail is popular for hiking and walking, so you’ll likely make some friends along the way.

Mountain bikers and pets make frequent appearances. It’s better to start on Riverside Trail, cross the bridge, and come back down the Farside Trail.

The right side of the river has construction work; pass it earlier on your hike and come back on great views.

The trail itself is smooth with few rocks or roots, but prepare for mild elevation changes.

While some areas of roped off due to the construction, you’ll mostly see lush greens and at certain points, the river. It’s a soothing walk with white water hushing in your ear.

Distance: 6.8 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 2 hours

Overlord Trail glacier
Overlord Trail Photo by Ruth Hartnup

7. Overlord, Lakeside & Decker Loop

Anyone hiking in Whistler must make it up Blackcomb Mountain. The looping Overlord, Lakeside & Decker Trail starts from the Blackcomb Gondola stop up top, with meadows, alpine lakes and whopping valleys spread out before you.

Two lakes, two creeks, gorgeous glaciers and all sorts of fields wait in the mountains. You can spot Whistler mountain ski runs, or share lanes with cross-country running races.

The tops are brushed with snow yearly, cooling you down after progressively harder loops. Luckily, you can turn around at various points.

The Decker Loop is the most challenging one because of rocky terrain, but the Overlord trail also tests you with occasional rock features and streams.

Watch out for steep and slippery patches downhill; boots with decent treads are required. The high elevation may make the trail harder than those in the valley.
Bug spray is helpful on this particular hike.

Distance: 9.5 kilometers
Expected time of hike: 3.5 hours

8. Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake Trail is a well-traveled out-and-back hike around Whistler. It’s best enjoyed from April through November, though unfortunately, puppers have to stay at home. While popular, it’s lengthy enough that you’ll find patches of solitude.

The first 6 kilometers are all switchbacks with some flat spots, meaning the terrain is consistently uphill but without outrageously steep parts.

While dense forestry makes for little variety in views, it’s relaxing on the eyes. As you approach Barrier Lookout, the lake comes into view.

Reach the campground (bathrooms and community cooking areas included) for the full picture.

Thanks to the wide and well-trodden trail, group hikes are a go. Just remember: bug spray at the ready, and check on water level before going.

You can also extend your hike to Panorama Ridge, another 2-2.5 hours from camp.

Distance: 18.2 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 6.5 hours

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9. Elfin Lakes

Elfin Lakes Trail is an out-and-back trail near Squamish, another Garibaldi Provincial Park gem.

It’s a Whistler hike for everyone; the perfect balance of distance and difficulty for backpacking, camping, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and running.

The first half of trail goes through a forest at a steady incline, relatively unexciting. It’s only when you pass the Red Heather Hut do panoramic views hit you in the gut.

Waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife spotting (bear sightings are regular) are just some welcome elements – the autumn foliage is every hiker’s dream.

The trail is well-marked and maintained, meaning younger kids can do the hike as well. Just make sure to bring enough water as there’s no water source until you get to Elfin Lakes. Jump in to cool down!

Distance: 20.1 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 6.5 hours

Loggers Lake Crater Rim Trail
Logger's Lake Photo by Ruth Hartnup

10. Crater Rim & Loggers Lake Trail

Located within the Whistler Interpretive Forest outside of Whistler Village, the Crater Rim and Logger’s Lake Loop is definitely more of a climb than one would expect.

You’re welcome to bring pets, though they have to be on leash for most part.
The hike offers great viewpoints, which overlook the Cheakamus River suspension bridge.

But the highlight is definitely Logger’s Lake itself – water cumulated within a 10,000-year-old volcanic crater!

Note that the hike can get pretty rocky so wear shoes with ample support. There’s occasional snow as well.

Distance: 4.3 kilometers
Estimate time to hike: 1-2 hours

11. Ancient Cedars Trail

The out-and-back Ancient Cedars Trail falls somewhere between easy and moderate depending on whether you manage to finagle your car through the rough access patch.

The road to the trailhead is full of potholes – four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance have much better luck. Many park further down and do the walk up instead.

While some may claim that the hike itself is nothing special, it’s one of the best hikes near Whistler if you like your trees.

Breathe deeply as you trek to make the most of the magical forest vibes, massive cedars towering over you the entire way.

Other eye-catchers include a small waterfall and eventual sweeping views over the mountains and lake. Prepare for a lot of mosquitos with long sleeves and bug spray.

Distance: 4.3 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 2 hours

Difficult Hikes in Whistler

12. Black Tusk

The looping Black Tusk trail is probably one of the longest hikes in Whistler. Set near Cheakamus 11 within Garibaldi Provincial Park, it’s a seasonal highlight from July through October. Unfortunately, doggos are not allowed.

Pull up at Rubble Creak Parking at the trailhead – there’s plenty of space. It is popular though, so book a free parking pass online and get there earlier.

The first couple of kilometers feature endless switchbacks but the trail itself is relatively smooth. Taylor Meadows opens up with an array of wildflowers and possible bear spotting.

Then there’s Garibaldi Lake, a great overnight stop for campers. The final ascent up to the tusk is a steep section with loose rocks.

Wear a helmet for the summit scramble or wait for other climbers to reach the top. You can skip the chimney climb if you’re inexperienced with scaling crumbly surfaces, though the views are stunning.

Note that the trail isn’t too bug-infested; bring bug spray anyway.

Distance: 25.8 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 10 hours

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13. Wedgemount Lake

Another trail that’s perfect to visit from June through October is Wedgemount Lake. The out-and-back trail is a continuous up, up, and up.

No dogs are allowed but it’s just as well – you’d be too busy breathing to watch over your tiny friends.

The trailhead is a little hard to find; look for the small road on the east side of the parking lot. From there, there isn’t much of a view along the way apart from trees and lichen.

Expect a steady incline throughout and a scramble at the end. The dirt can be loose so make sure you’re wearing proper hiking boots with traction, and carry hiking poles for extra support.

For closer views of the glacier, go past the campground and stop at the second lake. The views up there are glorious and worth the back breaking.

If you’re planning on camping, just be aware that it’s much tougher to do with a pack on. It’s definitely among Whistler’s most challenging hikes.Account for little to no cell service.

Distance: 12.6 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 7 hours

Wedgemount Lake Whistler BC
Wedgemount Lake Photo by Sébastien Launay

14. Rainbow Lake

This out-and-back route near Whistler is a popular spot for hiking, snowshoeing, and camping. July through October is the best time to visit, though views are great throughout the year.

For most part, the trail is a dry footpath that gradually slopes upwards towards the lake. The first few kilometers are straight uphill; more flat sections come up after.

Like many trails in the area, you’ll start with mostly forest – though the peak peeks through the green.

The lake then opens up like a reflective mirror. Swimming is prohibited but the views are well worth the hike anyway.

The difficulty of this Whistler hike doesn’t come from the terrain but rather the length and elevation.

Pace yourself and let your body adjust along the way. There are a few outhouses for you to rest at. Be bear aware – there are a lot of bear sightings.

Distance: 18 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 6 hours

15. High Note Trail

Whistler Peak’s High Note Trail seems something out of Sound of Music, with snow-brushed tops and grass-lined paths.

People love hiking and running here so expect company. For optimal access, views, and temperatures, visit between July and October.

If the Whistler Gondola is closed, take the Blackcomb Gondola then the Peak to Peak Gondola to reach the access point. You may require a short walk to the trailhead.

High Note Trail has everything you wish to see on a Whistler hike. From glacier lakes to alpine forests, the postcard views lure you to stop at every viewpoint.

Spare some time for pauses at Harmony Lake and Cheakamus Lake; they’re great spots for lunch break. You’ll have to push through to Flute Summit, which is a bit of a scramble.

There’s little shade so bring lots of water to counter the heat. Those with less experience should bring hiking poles for the final stretch up Flute Summit.

You also want to time it well and not miss the final gondola down.

Distance: 10.3 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 4 hours

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16. Singing Pass Trail

The Singing Pass Trail actually begins at Whistler Village, a pleasant hike with no washouts and a gradual incline.

Following Fitzsimmons and Melody Creeks, the path opens up at Singing Pass and looks over the Fitzsimmons and Spearhead Mountain ranges, as well as Cheakamus Glacier.

Elevation gain hits you hard when you reach the Russet Lake junction. Here, the path splits up for you to continue onto Russet Lake, Flute Summit, or the summit-chain route known as Musical Bumps.

Forests, meadows, plenty of peaks and cute waterfalls scattered throughout every option.Bring snowshoes and spikes as snow is consistent across Flute Creek crossing.

You also want to plot out your route beforehand, so you know how much water and snacks you need to prepare.

Depending on which routes you continue onto, the hike can extend as long as 32 kilometers round-trip.

Distance: 11.5km (from Whistler Village to Singing Pass)
Estimated time to hike: 4 hours+ (extends depending on latter route choice)

17. Panorama Ridge

Panorama Ridge is one of the most difficult hikes in Whistler thanks to its whopping 28 kilometer loop.

It’s also one of the most popular Whistler hikes for good reason, inviting people to backpack, camp and birdwatch.

The initial 6 kilometers is extremely challenging, mellowing out at Taylor Meadows. The rest of the trail is well-marked and soft to the feet, and you can opt to rest at Garibaldi Lake before or after that final scramble up the ridge.

You can consider it an extension of the Garibaldi Lake Trail with 3 kilometers of additional scrambling.

The elevation gain is no joke so be prepared to slow down at some points. The trail also loses markers between Helm Lake and Panorama Ridge, so bring a marked-up map just in case.

Distance: 28.3 kilometers
Estimated time to hike: 10.5 hours