Trip Ideas

Whistler Outdoor Adventures

From mountain biking to river rafting, hiking to rock climbing, Whistler is the place to be for outdoor adventure. Here are a few ways to explore the spectacular alpine surroundings of Whistler and its lesser-known neighbour, Squamish.


49.975072,-123.042812|49.681736,-123.153484| 50.059233,-122.956975| 50.122999,-122.976851| 50.113064,-122.954095| 50.118728,-122.94735

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9 49.975072,-123.042812|49.681736,-123.153484| 50.059233,-122.956975| 50.122999,-122.976851| 50.113064,-122.954095| 50.118728,-122.94735
MAP LEGEND
  1. Garibaldi Provincial Park
  2. Squamish
  3. High Note Trail
  4. River of Golden Dreams
  5. Whistler Mountain Bike Park
  6. Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Hike the Chief

On the way to Whistler from Vancouver, the Sea to Sky Highway passes the sheer wall of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish. You’ll probably spot rock climbers on the face, but there’s an easier way up – take the steep but lovely trail that leads through lush forest to the top. Have a pair of rock shoes? Squamish Rock Guides can show you the best routes.

Whistler Hiking

Whistler has endless opportunities for hiking in the high country. For starters, just try to keep your jaw from dropping on the High Note Trail with its alpine wildflowers and stunning views of Black Tusk peak. For something more challenging, experienced hikers can venture into the backcountry of Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Water Activities

River of Golden Dreams, Whistler. Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler / Steve Rogers

In the warmth of summer, spend some time on the water. Take a rafting trip through the tumbling rapids of the Elaho River, or paddle a canoe along the  gently-flowing  River of Golden Dreams. Go on a fishing trip to cast for trout, char or salmon. These, or just about any Whistler outdoor activity, can be booked with one call to Tourism Whistler. In Squamish, the waters of the Squamish Spit offer ideal winds for windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Insiders' Tips

  1. Bike gear: Local stores like Summit Sport and The Bike Co. offer sales and rentals of everything for riders.
  2. Adele Campbell Gallery: Admire work by talented local artists including Blake Jorgenson at this gallery in the Westin Resort & Spa.
  3. Mount Currie Coffee Co.: Just up the road in Pemberton, Mount Currie serves some of the area’s best artisan espresso and features local art.

Biking in Whistler

Mountain biker at Whistler Mountain. Photo Credit: Toshi Kawano

Summer means trading in skis for a bike in Whistler. To get a taste of the town’s gravity addiction, strap on a helmet and check out the flowing downhill runs and adrenaline-inducing drops, features and natural lines at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, home to more than 50 lift-accessed runs. If you’d rather earn your descent, ride some of the 200km/124 mi of trails surrounding Whistler Village. For something mellower, pedal the paved and level Valley Trail as it winds past parks and lakes.

Relaxing

Whistler Olympic Plaza. Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane

You’ll discover quickly that Whistler’s pace is pretty relaxed. Take time to slow down and spend a sunny afternoon swimming and napping at Rainbow Park, where Whistler’s original lodge opened almost a century ago. Later, stop in at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for interactive exhibits and artworks that embody the timeless traditions of the area’s First Nations. Come evening, feel the energy at Whistler Olympic Plaza, one of many Olympic legacies in the area. You can catch free outdoor concerts and movies here in summer; in winter, the plaza’s lawn and pavilion morph into outdoor skating rinks.

Restaurants

The Whistler area has a fantastic food scene, with more than  a hundred options ranging from stylish, upscale restaurants like Araxi to pizza joints like Fat Tony’s. Stroll through Whistler Village’s pedestrian-only walkways to get familiar with what’s available.

The après hours are when Whistler lets loose. Skiers’ Plaza, the large square at the base of the Village Gondola, is the place to be in the late afternoon. The patio of the Longhorn Saloon is one of the best spots to sit back with a beer and soak up the sun.

It’s always worth stepping out for some fine dining at least once on every trip. The Zagat-rated Rim Rock Café is a Whistler favourite and draws rave reviews for its fresh, innovative cuisine. Headed to the trails in Squamish? Stop in at the Zephyr Café. The breakfast burritos and vegan cookies are filling.

Accommodation

For a quieter scene, check out the gourmet dining, wilderness trails and waterfront rooms at Edgewater Lodge, set lakeside a few minutes outside the village. Enjoy the year-round heated pool, hot tubs, saunas and a fitness centre at Whistler Village Inn & Suites,  just steps from the village gondolas and other activities.

Transportation

Follow the two-hour Sea-to-Sky Highway driving route from Vancouver to Whistler. Cool stops on the way include the Britannia Mine Museum and the West Coast Railway Heritage Park.

Like trains? Take the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train from North Vancouver to Whistler. Or go by floatplane: Whistler Air flies from downtown Vancouver to Whistler’s Green Lake in about 30 minutes (May to September). Combine the train and plane for a great round trip. Once in Whistler, it’s easy to get around by foot, bus or bike.