Beautiful British Columbia lives up to its praise with grandiose mountain ranges, dense forests, diverse wildlife and vibrant vegetation. While it’s known as a top ski destination, Whistler is also a popular hiking retreat and mountain biking hotspot for outdoor adventurers. Travelers can find plenty of sunshine, warmer temperatures, and a stunning scene of flora blooming to life. Hiking, one of Whistler’s best summer activities, can get you up close to nature’s best scenes while fueling endorphins.
To get out and enjoy Canada’s summer season, here are 3 of Whistler’s best summer hikes that will leave you wanting more:
Hiking Retreat in Joffre Lakes
The popular, iconic emerald waters and majestic Matier Glacier will certainly leave a beautiful impression. Considered an intermediate 11k hike, this trek will feed your inner adventure enthusiast. Accessible from the Duffey Lake Road just north of Pemberton, the trail head begins by showcasing the first of three lakes at a short five-minute walk on the trail.
Next, you’ll continue onto the second lake while walking along switchbacks, a few wooden staircases and boulder crossings, climbing with the elevation pushing you further into the alpine. Expect most of your efforts to be invested during this leg of the trek.
You’ll know you have arrived at the second lake as you glimpse an emerald body of water amidst cedar trees. Take a picture with the iconic fallen log, and if you’re feeling adventurous, enjoy a quick dip!
As you continue onto the third lake, you will pass a beautiful cascading waterfall on your right-hand side. When you pass your last set of wooden stairs and boulders, you’ll marvel at the third and most impressive lake showcasing the striking Matier Glacier.
Garibaldi Provincial Park and Lake Hike
On this hike, you’ll be impressed by the serene beauty of Garibaldi Lake, measuring 5k long, 4k wide and 300m deep. Optimal summer hiking dates in Whistler are July and August when the flowers are in full bloom. Accessing the trailhead is easy by vehicle as there is ample signage northbound as you pass Squamish.
The first 6k of the trail take you up a dirt-packed path in a dense red Cedar forest. The next hour+ of climbing is a gradual uphill battle encompassing switchbacks with limited scenic areas. Just past the 6k wooden marker indicates a major junction with options displaying Taylor Meadows Campground or Garibaldi Lake. This designates 1360m of elevation gain. If you’ve got birdseed, this is a great spot to take a break and have the Whiskey Jacks eat out of your hands.
With most of the climb now behind you, ensure you stay on the path toward Garibaldi Lake, as many hikers head off to more extensive hikes such as the impressive black volcanic sediment of Black Tusk, or the iconic emerald waters surrounding Panorama Ridge. In the last 3k, you will pass a few small creeks and descending switchbacks. On the final bend, your hard work will be rewarded with the pristine turquoise Garibaldi Lake showcasing Sphinx Glacier.
High Note & Half Note Summer Hiking Retreat
Whistler’s most picturesque on-mountain hike provides scenic options for a tranquil hiking retreat experience. If you want to cut off all the elevation gain, grab a comfortable gondola ride, followed by a scenic Peak chairlift to the trailhead. You’ll need to purchase a sightseeing pass from Whistler Blackcomb before you hop onto the gondola.
Classified as an intermediate to advanced hike, this 10k trail starts from the summit of Whistler Mountain and wraps around its backside, displaying beautiful views of Black Tusk and surrounding mountains along the way. Recommended time varies from 3-4 hours depending on fitness levels, so pay mind to the trail’s closing hours.
Clearly marked, the trail begins with narrow, rocky and fairly steep ups and downs as you hike to the edge of a rock outcrop. You will then continue on a dry, dirt and gravel path hugging the mountainside. After 30 minutes or so, you’ll reach the Cheakamus Lake lookout, which offers a stunning viewpoint of the turquoise Cheakamus Lake below.
A little further, you’ll find the Half Note Junction Trail. For those wanting a shorter experience, this is a great opportunity to head back toward the gondola and stop by the Roundhouse Lodge to treat yourself to a cold one or a snack for the kiddos.
Flowers will be in full bloom through the month of August, making it an ideal time for a secluded hiking retreat in Canada. You might even catch some playful marmots if you’re lucky! The trail extends out to Oboe before the last turnaround point where you’ll encounter boulder crossings and dirt paths bringing you back to your beginning location on Whistler Mountain.
Come experience the beauty of summer in Whistler by planning your next retreat in Canada.