Are You the Ultimate Lumberjack? A Bucket List
Lumberjack culture is having something of a comeback these days. Plaid shirts, big beards, and getting outside – to be honest, what’s not to love?! As the home of the original hardy outdoorsmen that were the first lumberjacks, Canada still offers plenty of ways to awaken your inner lumberjack and feel at home in the woods. Throwing axes, drinking beer, and sleeping under the stars all offer some serious lumberjack appeal – and they’re plenty of Canadian’s favourite weekend activities.
So if you want to get in touch with the outdoors, we’ve picked a whole host of lumberjack themed activities to add to your Canadian Bucket list. Whistler is an amazing base to explore Canada’s forests, mountains, and lakes, and you can even come and try your hand at the original lumberjack sport of axe throwing while you’re here!
Canadian Bucket List: Summer
What better way to get in touch with your inner woodsman then to spend a few hours – or days – deep in the wilderness fishing? With pristine waters and abundant stocks of fish, BC is a mecca for fly-fishing in the summer months. The salmon run in late summer is a real Canadian bucket list experience – thousands of spawning salmon turn the waters of the Squamish river bright pink on their way home.
Take the slow route to the backwoods with a canoe trip. You can hire traditional canoes of kayaks all across BC, and take off for an afternoon or a week with your mates into the wilderness. Along the way you’ll likely spot native wildlife like beavers and eagles, find untouched campsites on the banks of crystal clear lakes, and have plenty of time to catch up with your pals.
If you’d rather take an adrenalin-fuelled approach to your bucket list, try your hand at off-roading. ATVs and RZRs (four-wheeled buggies) are Canadian’s go-to tool for getting out into the backcountry quickly. And it’s easy to book a guided tour which will take your far away from civilization at a heart-thumping pace. Whistler has plenty of options for off-road experiences in the beautiful Callaghan and Cougar Mountain backcountry.
Back in the day, lumberjacks would spend weeks on end living in makeshift logging camps far from cities, roads, and home comforts. Luckily, it’s much easier to get back to civilization these days.
But that doesn’t detract from the fun of heading out into the woods for a few nights and roughing it with your best mates. Lilloet Lake, Wedgemount Lake and Cat Lake are all relatively accessible, but beautiful camp spots around the Sea to Sky corridor. And don’t forget to take some firewood with you for the quintessential Canadian campfire.
BC is blessed with abundant stretches of lush coastal rainforest that begs to be explored. Couple that with hidden swimming spots and towering peaks offering views that stretch for miles, and you simply have to go exploring on foot. There’s too many amazing hikes near Whistler to even start listing them here – but luckily we wrote a whole guide to Whistler hikes to help you out. Whether you want to walk for an hour or a week, you’ll find a trail to suit you in BC.
Canadian Bucket List: Winter
- Dog Sledding
There’s no better way to explore Canada in the icy winters than in a dog sled. Witness the incredible stamina of these animals first-hand, as they take you deep into silent, snow-covered forests and across frozen lakes far from home. This is Canada at it’s harshest but most beautiful, and as you fly through the wilderness, you’ll understand why the local people are so passionate about their wild country.
A more modern – and very fun – addition to Canadian backcountry culture is the snowmobile. While rural Canadians use them to get around their vast farms and lands, they’ve also become a Canadian bucket list item for plenty of visitors. And it’s easy to see why – is there anything more badass that ripping through fresh powder on a sled at 70km/h?! Whistler has tours for beginners through to expert drivers, and they all give you an adrenaline-fuelled backcountry adventure.
- Ice Fishing
Why should winter get in the way of good old-fashioned pursuits like fishing? Of course, Canadians are tougher than that, so they found a solution long ago. Just wrap up warm, drill a hole in the ice, and spend a day fishing the frozen lakes instead. There are plenty of local guides willing to share their considerable expertise and help you secure a catch, even in the depths of winter. It might be chilly, but ice-fishing is sure to be an experience you never forget.
- Catch a Hockey Game
Everyone knows how much Canadians love hockey (we don’t call it ice hockey up here), and the aggressive, fast-paced sport is just as much fun to watch as to play. You can always find locals playing on the frozen lakes during winter, and they might even let you join in if you dare. Or catch the professionals at a Vancouver Canucks game during the hockey season. Keeping your eye on the puck is hard work, but hockey games have an infectious energy that might just turn you into a lifelong hockey fan.
Year Round Whistler Bucket List Experiences
- Axe Throwing
Any aspiring lumberjacks have gotta add axe throwing to their Canadian bucket list. This old school lumberjack sport is now booming across Canada, as the world is waking up to just how much fun it is. If you’re in Whistler, pop in to see us at Forged and we’ll have you hurtling axes across the room like a true lumberjack in no time. And don’t worry, it’s safer than it sounds!
- Meet the Neighbours
Canada’s wild forests and mountains wouldn’t be the same without their two- and four-legged residents. From iconic black bears to majestic wolves, soaring eagles to friendly marmots, there are plenty of fascinating creatures to spot. Keep your eyes peeled while you’re exploring the woods and hills, or book a wildlife viewing tour to be sure of spotting some of our favourite furry friends.
- Get Some Ink
If you’ve really embraced the rugged, outdoorsy lumberjack culture, get something to remind you of your experience once you’re back in the city. Wolves, mountains, pine trees are all iconic Canadian tattoo ideas – or create your own design that captures your Canadian adventures. If you’re in Whistler, there’s plenty of local tattoo artists who have tons of experience creating unique, outdoors-inspired designs.
- Discover Canada’s Craft Beer
All those hardcore outdoor activities can leave you feeling a little thirsty. And luckily, BC has embraced the craft beer revolution that’s sweeping the world right now. With local breweries popping up in communities from the coast to the mountains, there’s no shortage of tasty, refreshing beers on offer. Near Whistler, we love our local Coast Mountain Brewing, A-Frame Brewing in Squamish, and the Beer Farmers in Pemberton.
Lumberjack Bucket List Events
- Squamish Days Logging Sports Festival
The town of Squamish, just 40 minutes north of Vancouver, has deep roots in logging history. And it’s celebrated every year at the Squamish Days Festival, one of the biggest and best logging sports events in Canada.
See the experts at work for yourself as they compete in log rolling, axe throwing, tree climbing, and a whole host of other lumberjack competitions. The festival takes place at the start of August each year and heaps of the events are totally free to watch!
- Whistler Beer Festival
All of BC’s best mountain-inspired craft beer in one place. With so many creative breweries around the province now, it’s normally impossible to try them all for yourself. But for a few days in September each year, they all descend on Whistler village, offering samples of their best brews of the season. Expect delicious beer, hearty food, and, of course, free axe-throwing! Check out our full guide to what to expect at the Whistler Beer Festival this year.
- Lil’wat Lake Rodeo
Alright, it’s not quite lumberjack culture, but it is a quintessential Canadian cultural experience. The traditional rodeo is still alive and well across Canada, and the Lil’wat Lake Rodeo is a brilliant showcase of the talents of local competitors. There’s bull riding, barrel racing, bareback riding, roping, and even a pie eating contest. It’s all a huge amount of fun and a totally unique experience.
- Grouse Mountain Lumberjack Show
Get a taste of lumberjack history at the daily Lumberjack show on Grouse Mountain. Champion lumberjack performers from across Canada showcase their skills in an amazing outdoor set.
Plus, while you’re there, you’ll be treated to panoramic views over Vancouver and the ocean, and you can meet the resident grizzly bears that live on Grouse Mountain. If you fancy a challenge, take on the Grouse Grind – a gruelling, very steep hike from the valley to the mountain peak.
Tackle your Lumberjack Bucket List in Whistler
While the age of the lumberjack may be over, there’s still plenty of ways to get in touch with the outdoorsy, adventurous spirit of the lumberjacks in Whistler. Try your hand at their favourite sports, see the pros in action, and get out there and explore every way you can. Once you’ve thrown on a plaid shirt and thrown a couple of axes you’ll start to feel right at home in the woods!