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A few weekends ago Thom and I packed up Elvis (our van) and headed off to Whistler. What followed was an adventurous weekend in Whistler where we packed in a tonne of activities and had a whole heap of fun. If you’re heading to Whistler and want to pack it full of adventures then take a look at the following guide to an adventurous weekend in this world-renowned mountain resort.
Our Adventurous weekend in Whistler
Our adventurous weekend in Whistler involved a long trek, kayaking and then a mini trek over the course of two days. We also stopped off at a few places along the way to Whistler .
Shannon Falls is just 50 minutes drive away from downtown Vancouver and a pretty popular spot with tourists and locals alike. At 335 metres high it’s the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia!
Getting to the viewpoint for Shannon Falls is very easy. You simply walk a few hundred metres on a paved trail (however, you can climb to the top on a separate hike if you wish!).
It’s well worth stopping here on your way to or from Whistler and Vancouver.
Hiking to Garibaldi Lake
After we left Shannon Falls we carried on up the Sea to Sky Highway with the scenery only getting more and more impressive with every mile. The views of Howe Sound are incredible on this section of the drive!
We stopped to pick up some lunch and hiking supplies in Squamish and then pulled up at the trailhead for the hike to Garibaldi Lake.
Since we arrived in the afternoon we had to park about 2km away from the Rubble Creek parking lot and the trailhead. It’s a very popular hike and cars were parked all the way down the road. If you want to avoid adding an extra 4km to this 16km hike then make sure to arrive early in the morning!
Despite being a long, uphill slog it’s completely worth it. For the first 6km of so you’re in the forest and don’t get much of a view but. After that it opens up a little and there’s a great viewpoint (Barrier viewpoint), which is shortly followed by the emerald Barrier Lake and then Garibaldi Lake.
If you’re looking for a rather strenuous hike with beautiful views then definitely consider adding the hike to Garibaldi lake to your adventurous weekend in Whistler!
You can make this hike even longer by hiking up to Black Tusk (although this does require a lot of scrambling and basically doing some bouldering!)
Kayaking on Alta Lake
When we went to Whistler we were still planning on competing on a 50km adventure race on Vancouver Island. The race would have involved kayaking, mountain biking and trail running/trekking. We’ve since decided against this as the cost of equipment hire/transport would’ve cost us waaaaaay too much. However, because we were trying to get in a tiny bit of training for that race we were keen on doing some kayaking once we got to Whistler.
The main kayaking lake in Whistler is Alta Lake. Alta Lake is 2.2km long and backed by gorgeous scenery (and there’s some very fancy lakeside houses too).
We hired a double kayak early on Sunday morning and hit the lake. Surprisingly, this is the first time I’ve actually kayaked (although I used to row and I’ve canoed). Even though it was particularly windy on the day we hit the water, I loved it and had great fun kayaking up and down the lake for an hour.
Hiking to the Whistler Train Wreck
After a coffee at camp lifestyle & coffee co (a super cool coffee spot with awesome clothing and household wares), we drove over to the parking area for the walk to the Whistler train wreck site.
This is an easy hike/walk of just 2km in total. I’s pretty flat too. Towards the end there’s a suspension bridge over Cheakamus River which I loved but I know not everyone’s a fan!
The train wreck site in the forest just outside of Whistler has become part of the town’s historical and cultural identity. There are a few carriages abandoned in the woods which are all now covered in colourful graffiti. They’re said to have been there since 1956 and they’re fun to explore.
Getting to Whistler from Vancouver
The likelihood is that you’ll be heading to Whistler from Vancouver. If so then you’re in a for a treat as you drive along what’s known as the Sea to Sky Highway (so called as you leave the Salish sea in Vancouver and head towards the sky and the mountains of Whistler).
The drive is extremely picturesque with beautiful water, mountains, forest and plenty of inlets to stop off at along the way. The drive itself could take you the best part of the day. However if you drive all in one go then Vancouver to Whistler takes about 1 hour 40 minutes (although traffic is often bad!) along the 99.