So, we all know Whistler is an incredible place to ski. The combined skiable acreage of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains is huge, and even after a week of day-in, day-out skiing, you'll still be finding new powder stashes. But because the resort is such a huge draw, the broader area often gets overlooked.
Whistler, Squamish, and the surrounding provincial parks are an incredible outdoor bonanza. Everywhere you look there's an amazing view, a mountain to explore, huge waterfalls, well-managed trails and campgrounds, and great rock climbing. These are ten more reasons to explore Whistler year-round and go as soon as you can. Watch the photo gallery above and you'll see why.
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, just outside of Squamish, with its Grand Wall and The Chief, draws climbers from around the world and has an incredible campground at its base. The views from atop Stawamus Chief's summit are nothing short of amazing. Other incredible climbs in the area include Star Chek, a rappel down to the Cheakamus River, and a three-pitch climb back out with the river rushing below.
It's no wonder landscape photographers seek out high mountain lakes. These are views you'll remember for a lifetime. The hike to Brew Lake, with views of the Black Tusk and Mount Garibaldi Mountain, or Joffre Lakes at the foot of Mount Matier and the Matier Glacier, are two hikes that shouldn't be missed.
Most trailheads in the provincial parks near Whistler lead deep into the backcountry, providing a lot of options for overnight and extended backpacking trips. Two ideas to get you started are to head out on the Skywalk Trail or out to Panorama Ridge. Bring what you'll need to keep your food away from bears and other critters that are commonly seen in this part of the world.
Whistler isn't the only great place to ski here in the winter. Callaghan Country has some incredible backcountry access for visitors to the Journeyman Lodge, including Journeyman Peak among other routes. It'll be fresh tracks for days.
Callaghan Country is also a paradise for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Visitors get access to miles upon miles of trail as well as backcountry routes, and chances are you'll have your winter wonderland all to yourself. The Meadows + Solitude Loop is an incredibly scenic place not to be missed.
Admittedly, these hot springs are a bit of a drive to get to from Whistler, but if you're looking for a warm soak in a truly beautiful area, making the trip is worth it. Keyhole Hot Springs is northwest of Pemberton in rock-lined pools alongside Lillooet River. Sloquet Hot Springs, on the other side of Garibaldi Provincial Park from Whistler, has three beautiful pools and 20 campsites to stay at if you make the drive.
Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton are world-class mountain biking destinations in their own right. Well-developed trail systems offer downhill and singletrack routes for a variety of skill levels. Westside Mountain Bike Trails feature Billy Epic as well as other rides. One Mile Lake above Pemberton Valley has the iconic Lumpy's Epic Trail.
The same year Whistler Mountain opened, the Parkhurst Wood Mill and town shut its doors. The site, inaccessible by roads, can be hiked to on a 1.5-kilometer trail. As the forest reclaims the ghost town, there are a lot of old artifacts to discover while poking around.
In 1956, a train carrying timber derailed near Whistler above the Cheakamus River. The train cars were dragged away from the tracks and left to sit in the forest, now covered with beautiful graffiti made all the more impressive by the young but mature trees growing up around them.
With so many mountains in the area around Whistler, and deep canyons that drain them, there are amazing waterfalls to hike in to. Nairn Falls, Alexander Falls, Brandywine Falls and Shannon Falls are all impressive cascades, rendered easily accessible by trails and established viewing platforms.