The Forged Guide to the Valley Trail in Whistler
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People from all over the world visit Whistler and can you blame them? The activities are endless *takes a deep breath* biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, rafting, helicopter-rides, skating, float-plane rides, yoga, ziplining, bungee jumping… And you know we could keep going.
But one activity that sometimes gets overlooked is the Whistler Valley Trail – perhaps the most simple and the most cost-effective way of exploring Whistler. Yes, it may not be that ‘dare-devil’ kind of cool but it’s cool in its own way. Hang tight and we will tell you why…
Intro to the Valley Trail, Whistler’s Best Kept Secret
The Valley Trail in Whistler is a massive 40 km network. It connects Whistler neighbourhoods from Function Junction all the way through to Emerald and everything in between.
The winding trail leads you through the forests to the ever-so-popular lakes, the village and well… pretty much anywhere you need to go in Whistler. Today, safe walking and cycling routes seem like the norm – back in the early 1980s when the Valley Trail was planned and built, this was a totally new concept not only to Whistler but to British Columbia as a whole.
Spending a day exploring the valley trail gives you views that you can’t get from a car window, the ability to explore as much or as little as you want in a day, with no timeline and no traffic. There is plenty of wildlife to be spotted on the trail – bears, raccoons, skunks, beavers, squirrels – they’re all around.
How to Explore the Valley Trail
The beauty of exploring the Valley Trail is you can do it ALMOST any way you like (nudie runs not advised).
Walk it, bike it, skate it, roller-skate it, walk your doggo on it – the choice is yours. The Valley Trail, in Whistler goes everywhere, all you need is yourself, your mode of transport and a Valley Trail map to be on your way.
Just make sure that you are prepared for the terrain. For the most part, it’s flat and pretty easy – there are some steep hills which can leave you a little short of breath and cursing them at the end.
You’ll be able to pick up a suitable bike at most of the bike rental shops in Whistler which you can rent for the day and it shouldn’t set you back too much. You don’t need anything fancy, just let them know you are hitting the trail and they will sort you out with a valley bike for the day. Here’s a few bike rental shops to get you started: Evolution, Gateway Bikes, Fanatykco and Summit Sport.
If you’re wanting to hit more pavement, with less time and effort – then why not try an e-bike? E-bikes have a battery-powered assist that can give you a boost of power whilst your pedalling. Zip up hills, cruise on over any tricky terrain and cover more ground without having to try. That’s a win in our books. E-bikes are just as easy to hire in the village as a normal valley bike.
Here in Winter? No problem. The Valley Trail remains open year-round. In winter the trail is certainly a winter wonderland and the views are completely different. A dip in the lake is no longer an option (they are frozen over) but you can try out ice-skating.
Parts of the trail near Meadow Park are also groomed for cross country skiing in winter, which is always fun to try! Remember that mother nature is pretty temperamental in winter making it hard for all of the paths to always be cleared, you can hop onto the Resort Municipality of Whistler website to check out the snow clearing routes.
10 Best Stops Along the Valley Trail, Whistler, BC
The stops along the way, as you can imagine, are endless. Not to mention all of the lakes are along the trail, but we’ve narrowed down our favourite spots.
- Green Lake
The view at Green Lake is out-of-this-world. The lake is yes, green and the backdrop is both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. You can watch floatplanes on the lake or just sit back, relax and take in Whistler in all its glory.
- Lost Lake
Go and get lost at Lost Lake (pardon the pun). A popular hangout for locals in the summer – there are also a lot of trails around here that are off the trail but get a bit more technical if you’re after more of a challenge.
- Alta Lake
See if you can find the giant chairs at Alta Lake. An Instagram worthy photo stop off, for sure.
- Nita Lake
- Alpha Lake
Swing past Alpha Lake and stop for a picnic or a game of tennis. This lake tends to be a little more on the quiet side, find a nice tree to sit and read a book under. They also have a great dog park, for a spot of doggo watching.
Side note: You should try the ultimate challenge, five lakes, one trail and one day? Did we hear challenge accepted?!
- Wayside and Lakeside Park
Both of these parks are on Alta Lake and in close proximity to each other. These are great spots to stop off and get out on to a lake – with Whistler Eco-Tours and Backroads Whistler at these locations you can hire kayaks, stand up paddleboards and canoes and go explore the water.
- Stone Circle
A great spot to elope…yes you heard right. Between Lakeside and Wayside park you’ll find the stone circle, a popular marriage spot, with a stunning view.
- Nicklaus North
Take a break at the golf course and try out Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery, both the view and the food is delish!
- Barking Bay at Rainbow Park
Because who doesn’t love Doggos and Whistler seems to have the best doggos we’ve ever come across! Check out Whistler’s good boys down at the dock in barking bay at Rainbow Park, going for a swim.
- Whistler Golf Course
Whistler Golf Club is a great stop off to do some bear spotting and watching, they tend to love the lush green grass and it is definitely a black bear hang out.
We know for a fact there are many more spots on the trail, with amazing views and secret-hidey-hole benches for the perfect secluded picnic in the woods. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t be afraid to wander off onto the dirt tracks…you’re sure to find a gem.
Valley Trail Safety
There is a joke around Whistler, that the most extreme bike trail, with the most injuries and the most extreme stories is….. The Valley Trail. A lot of people do some real damage on this gentle commuter trail. It’s still important to stay safe on the valley trail and if you follow the below you should be sweet:
- Keep Right: This one is easy, it’s the same rules as the road so keep to the right when you’re on the trail
- Keep your eyes peeled: There are many entries onto the trail, make sure you know what’s going on around you and watch out for wildlife crossing the path too!
- Sharing is caring: If you’re overtaking other walkers, bikers or runners – make sure you give them plenty of notice and give a nice polite ding
- You’re not here to race: Keep it to a cruisy pace, no speeding necessary. Cruise along, take everything in and be prepared if you need to stop for some reason
- Be bear aware: It’s most common to see a bear on the trail early morning or late in the evenings, but they are sometimes around during the day as well. So be aware and make sure you know what to do if you cross paths with one
- Don’t get in the way: If you need to take a break or check out the Valley Trail map, always stand to the side of the trail and don’t block it off for others
- Doggos on leashes: Preferably short leashes – to keep them safe and those around them safe… Picture this – Doggo + Squirrel + Long Leash + Bike = Not a fun time
- Do yourself a Solid: Protect yo’ self just as good as to treat yo’ self. If your biking – wear a helmet, roller-blading – wear some knee pads. You know the drill – accidents can still happen
- Dress to impress: Well not exactly, but dress appropriately – this is specially aimed for those winter explorers. If you’re on the trails in snow season, make sure you are wrapped up warm and your winter boots have a good grip
Whistler Valley Trail is 40 kms of adventure, waiting for you to explore from one end of Whistler to the other. You can discover all that Whistler has to offer on one trail, you can visit most of the neighbourhoods, all of the lakes, many parks and everywhere in between.
All you need is a Valley Trail Map and an open mind as well as your chosen exploring method – be that a bike, skateboard, longboard, roller-skates or your runners. The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for… get your butt on that trail and start exploring!