Escape the Crowds by Visiting Whistler’s Lesser-Known Gems
Live like a local for a day and explore some of these lesser-known spots and activities in Whistler, BC.
It may be hard to believe, but Whistler has even more to offer in addition too its renowned skiing, golfing and mountain biking. Set against sprawling wilderness landscapes, the area provides for some pretty incredible experiences, ready for plenty of outdoor adventuring.
Because Whistler is a world-famous resort town, however, many of its most famous experiences involve long queues and large crowds. Luckily Whistler has retained much of its local charm with secret spots and hidden gem activities not so well-known to the masses.
Visit some of these local spots or try one of the following fun activities to unlock some of the secrets Whistler has to tell.
Here are some of our favourite lesser-known locations in Whistler, where the locals like to go to escape the crowds.
1. PARKHURST GHOST VILLAGE
I trekked for hours through the snow to find this place. Parkhurst is an abandoned logging town built in 1926 above Green Lake in Whistler. It was left to rot in the 1950's when the mill went bankrupt. Not sure if it's haunted but it sure is cool?? #parkhurstghosttown #lasthousestanding @whistlerblackcomb #whistler #exploringisfun #outdoorvancouver #vancouvertrails
You don’t need to be a history buff to find the abandoned logging village on the far side of Green Lake intriguing. There are plenty of accessible hiking trails through easy terrain that lead explorers to this spooky town.
Part of one house is still standing, having managed to withstand Whistler’s snowy winters. While a lot of the Ghost Village has disintegrated into the forest, hikers can still find an old car shell overgrown by forest life, and a massive tractor nestling in Green Lake. For some, the thought of a previously occupied town full of life that is now gone may be a spooky image, but we assure you it will be one of the most interesting hikes you’ve ever experienced.
- Length: 5km roundtrip
- Elevation gain: minimal
- Dogs are welcome!
2. The Train Wreck
Train wreck in the middle of the forest from 1956. A visual #juxtaposition of #urban and #nature, history and #culture. A graf writers paradise! . . . . . #trainwreckwhistler #graffititrain #graffitiart #whistler #beautifulbc #lumixmasters #lumixgx7 #urbanphotography #exploretocreate #wanderingsoul #travelgram #travelwithme #travellife #traveltolive #traveldiaries #CanonCanada150 #explorebc #shootliferight #explorevision #naturelove_world #photooftheday #guelphphotographer #worldprime
Abandoned box-cars are all that are left to serve as a reminder of the train wreck that occurred in the late 1950’s at what is now known as Function Junction. Now it serves as a bike jump, hiking trail, art gallery and photo op.
Seven box-cars lay scattered amongst the forest near Cheakamus River – one box-car lays almost a little too close. But nevertheless, this train wreck makes for an exciting pit stop on what is otherwise known as an easy to moderate 5km hiking trail.
3. Cirque Lake
One for the books! Camp by yourself ✔️ Kayak across a lake ✔️ Conquer Cirque Lake ✔️ This is the view after taking on the steepest boulder field looking down at Callaghan Lake and top right corner is Black Tusk. PROUD is the word that fits and describes this moment #pushyourlimits #cirquelaketrail #cirquelake #kayakingadventures #fearisonlyanillusion #beautifulbritishcolumbia #supernaturalbritishcolumbia #explorebc #hellobc #pnw #solohiker#lakeviewhiker #hikingadventures #hikingbc #ilovebc #vancouvertrails #outboundtrails #ilovevancity
Only adventure-seekers and avid hikers read on… This incredibly scenic hiking is only for the super-active type that don’t mind putting in sweat and tears for rewarding moments. Cirque Lake lies beyond Callaghan Lake after a short canoe, and gruelling climb. Even the drive to get to the trailhead is pretty rigorous, requiring a 4×4 vehicle due to intense potholes and washouts. However, the views surrounding Cirque Lake are nothing short of stunning.
While these activities are catered towards visitors to Whistler, there are still some excursions that aren’t as well-known as others like the Scandinave Spa and skiing or snowboarding.
Have you ever imagined the freedom and thrill of flying like a bird? Well here you go – this is your chance to experience it!
With Ziptrek you will soar high above the ground from tree to tree through old growth forest on beautiful Cougar Mountain. Ziptrek’s exceptional guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge about the surrounding forest and the various ecosystems in Whistler.
Each tour consists of multiple ziplines and numerous tree-top bridges that last from two to four hours. For adrenaline seekers, we dare you to try the Eagle Tour, which starts at Whistler Mid-Station and includes a mammoth drop of more than 20 stories to get your heart racing! If the zipping part really isn’t your style, you could opt to take the canopy walking tour which is a series of suspension bridges and viewing platforms high above the forest floor. Maybe not as thrilling, but still pretty spectacular, and a great option for younger kids. Best part? You can do this in summer and in winter!
Find out more about our activities in Whistler.
2. Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park
The Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park has seven lanes ranging from gentle to steep and are all about 1000 feet long. The tube park makes a great evening out after a day skiing or snowboarding.
The music and fire pit give the tube park a really fun and lively atmosphere. The best part for the kids is that there is no need to drag your tube up the hill – in Whistler, there’s a conveyor belt to transport you back to the top to do it all over again! (or maybe that’s the best part for Mom and Dad?!)
- Children must be 3 years old and at least 91 cm (36 inches) tall
- Kids under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult
Located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, you can access the tube park by riding the Excalibur Gondola up the mountain.
3. Sleigh Rides
If you are looking for a change of pace from the ski hill and the bustling village scene in Whistler, an old-fashioned, horse-drawn sleigh ride will surely do the trick.
A sleigh ride is the perfect family outing – something your children will remember for years. This idyllic winter activity can also also be very romantic. You’ll feel like you’re re-living a scene from an old novel or movie as you as the beautiful Percheron horses guide you through the quiet forest. Snuggle up under a cozy blanket and enjoy the ride.
4. Outdoor Skating
After a long day of ski touring (vids and photos to come) we passed #altalake in #whistler to this amazing scene. Sunset #hockey in a setting that can't be beat. Great day with lots of incredible #winter sights in full bloom. #winterishere#winterlife #pondhockey #frozenlake #sunsethockey #sunset #neverstopexoring #explorebc #simplyadventure #whistlericeskating #ambitionmission #explorewhistler #adventurethatislife #adventureculture #adventurevisuals #photography #vancitybuzz
In a country dominated by vast wilderness, crisp winters and an obsession with hockey, skating is our ultimate winter activity.
In Whistler, picturesque Alta Lake and Green Lake are popular spots to skate on a frozen mountain lake circled by breathtaking mountains and a snow-cloaked forest. This is truly a magical winter experience.
Alternatively, the outdoor skating rink at the Olympic Plaza, located in Whistler Village, is perfect for families with young children. Skate rentals are available at the rink.
PLANNING A VACATION TO WHISTLER?
We have a variety of accommodations in Whistler, suited for any kind of traveller. Call our Destination Experts who can answer any questions you may have about Whistler secrets, or our vacation rentals. They can be reached 7 days a week at 1-877-902-1616!