The most difficult hiking trails near Vancouver and Whistler often have some of the best views and alpine scenery. This list covers the five most difficult hikes, including Golden Ears, Wedgemount Lake, The Lions, Panorama Ridge, and Black Tusk.
This guide will provide information for people who are new to Vancouver or looking to expand and explore beyond the city, the many hiking trails on the local mountains and in south western British Columbia.
The Joffre Lakes hike is one of the most accessible and spectacular hikes that you can do in the area. The hike gives people the opportunity to experience some amazing alpine scenery without having to trek into the backcountry for days, and can be completed as a day hike, or an overnighter.
Summer is over, the Labour Day long weekend has passed, and everyone is back to school or work. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the hiking season is over in Vancouver or Southwestern British Columbia.
Until the Peak-to-Peak Gondola had it’s first summer of operation in 2009 (it opened December 2008), not many people had hiked the trails on top of Blackcomb Mountain. Before this, the only ways to access it were by taking the Solar Coaster Express Chairlift to the top, while skiing was still going on in the glacier area, or face a long, arduous hike up the ski runs from the village.
Local outdoor enthusiast, Karl Woll, has written and published an eBook called The Great Hikes of Vancouver. What promises to be the first eBook in a series, the book contains detailed descriptions, directions, and information, such as distance, time, and elevation on 10 hikes in southwestern British Columbia.
Some of the best places for hiking and incredible scenery are the alpine areas, high in the mountains along the Sea To Sky region of British Columbia. The high elevation, harsh winter climate, and geological makeup of the area give way to glaciers, bright turquoise lakes, incredible mountain top views, gorgeous meadows full of wildflowers, and rugged trail terrain, all well above the treeline.
There comes a time when a hiker needs and even craves variety. If you are willing to go a little further afield, there are hiking gems scattered throughout the immense region of Southwestern B.C. Unfortunately, for every great hike there are innumerable lackluster, or simply bad hikes. A bad hike is especially disappointing when you have to drive a great distance to reach it. The hikes described here make the drive worthwhile almost every time.
One of Whistler’s most spectacular waterfalls is Alexander Falls, located in the Callaghan Valley region near the area where the 2010 Olympic Nordic events took place. The waterfall is easy to access by car and the viewing platform is right next to the parking lot, so no walking or hiking is required.
The waterfall drops an impressive 43 meteres (141 feet) over three sections and is about 12 meters (40 feet) wide at its widest point. The source of the water comes from Madelay Creek which is fed by several rivers and creeks in the Callaghan Valley region.
Alexander Falls located in the Callaghan Valley area, just south of Whistler, BC.
It was just before the 2010 Olympics when the area was opened up for several Nordic sports that Alexander Falls became more accessible. Before 2010, the waterfall could only be accessed by a remote forest service road and then by walking on a rough trail to a viewpoint. Now, the road to the falls is paved and access is much easier, which should lead to an increase in popularity and people driving out to see this spectacular waterfall.
Spectacular Alexander Falls and the water flowing down Madeley Creek.
The best time of year to view the waterfall is late-spring or early-summer (May / June) when all the snow on the nearby mountains is rapidly melting, providing a powerful force of water falling over the rocks. During the winter months, the water typically freezes due to the waterfall’s location at a high elevation.
To get to Alexander Falls, drive south from Whistler for about 10km until you see a sign on the right to Callaghan Valley. Turn right onto the Callaghan Valley Road and follow the paved road for another 10km. Watch for signs on the left for Alexander Falls and pull into the large gravel parking lot. The waterfall is viewable from the wooden platform at the corner of the parking lot.