Instagram Whistler | What makes Whistler so Beautiful?
Set in a deep valley amongst the towering Coast Mountains, ancient forests, and numerous rivers and lakes, Whistler is as pretty as a postcard. Even the village is beautiful – with quaint shops lining the stroll and carefully curated landscaping to make you feel like you’re walking through a dreamscape.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the options of what to see in Whistler, let this list guide you to the most beautiful places Whistler has to offer.
Whistler’s Top Instagrammable Spots
Search #whistler on Instagram and you’ll see nearly two million posts – an impressive slideshow of what to see while you’re in Whistler. Charge up your phone and hop in your car for the ultimate Whistler road trip that will keep your followers wanting more.
Train Wreck Hike #trainwreckhike
In 1956, a train derailed on its way toward Vancouver leaving seven boxcars scattered throughout the forest. Over the years, artists have turned the decrepit boxcars into colourful and ever-changing works of art and attract visitors year-round to shoot this Instagram-worthy spot. This unique hike is easily accessible by a new trail the municipality built that also goes across the powerful Cheakamus River via a suspension bridge.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 2km Round Trip
- Elevation Gain: 30 meters
- Dog-Friendly: Yes
Heading South from Whistler Village, turn left at the lights at Function Junction into Cheakamus Crossing. Drive East along Cheakamus Lake Road and take a right onto Legacy Way, before taking another right onto Jane Lakes Road. You will then see a small parking area on the left-hand side. Across the street from the parking lot, you’ll see signage pointing you to the Train Wreck.
Brandywine Falls #brandywinefalls
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is located fifteen minutes South of Whistler and features a seventy-metre tall picturesque waterfall sure to impress your loyal followers. The park also provides opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking making it the perfect stop to get amongst the trees and spend the afternoon.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 15-20 minute hike to the falls viewing platform.
- Dog-Friendly: Yes
Head South of Whistler towards Vancouver for fifteen minutes until you see signage for the Whistler RV Park on the right. Drive for another minute and you’ll see signage for Brandywine Falls and the parking lot on the left.
Whistler Peak #whistlerpeak
In the winter, skiers and snowboarders can take the Peak Express Chair to the highest point on Whistler Mountain offering stunning views of Black Tusk and beyond. In the summer, sightseers can take part in the action by either taking the Peak Chair (open June 22 – September 2) or by hiking to the peak of Whistler via Pika’s Traverse then onto Matthew’s Traverse amongst the giant snow walls to the summit.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Distance: 3.8 km
- Dog-Friendly: No
- Notes: Skiers / Snowboarders only
The hike is 3.8 kilometers long and is moderately strenuous, but to stand next to the towering snow walls carved out of the road is impressive, and very photographable. The snow walls are best viewed at the beginning of the summer sightseeing season (end of May/early June) as the walls do start to melt!
From Whistler Peak, take a photo next to the large stone Inukshuk, enjoy views of Black Tusk and Cheakamus Lake, and walk across the new 130 meters long Cloudraker Skybridge that crosses high above West Bowl. Look and listen closely, as you may see a resident marmot or pika hanging out in the rocks.
Mountain hours of operation vary throughout the spring and summer season, so be sure to plan ahead to ensure you have enough time to enjoy the mountain and all it has to offer. Be sure to bring a backpack with layers, water, snacks, and wear comfortable hiking/running shoes.
To get to the peak of Whistler, visitors must purchase a Peak 2 Peak 360 Sightsee Ticket from Guest Services then board the Whistler Village Gondola to the Roundhouse Lodge. From there, visitors can walk a gravel path to the Peak Express Chairlift (open June 22 – September 2) for a quick trip to the top of the mountain, or hikers can follow the signs towards Pika’s Traverse then onto Matthew’s Traverse to the peak.
Lost Lake Park #lostlakewhistler
A picturesque park within walking distance of the village, Lost Lake is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. With multi-use trails circling the lake, visitor’s can enjoy a walk amongst towering trees or mountain bike through the extensive trail network.
Cool off by jumping off one of the several docks on the lake, or tiptoe your way into the water off the sandy main beach. At the North end of the lake, have your phone ready to snap a shot of Blackcomb Mountain in the distance with the lake in the forefront.
The main beach area has a concession in the summertime, picnic tables, washroom facilities, and showers along with a lush grassy area for lounging. Very popular with locals and visitors alike, Lost Lake Park is the place to be on a sunny summer day.
There is no parking at Lost Lake, so visitors must either walk to the lake or take the free shuttle (runs June 15 – September 2) that departs from the Gondola Transit Loop.
Alexander Falls #alexanderfalls
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Located South of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley (where many 2010 Olympic Nordic events were held) is the impressive forty-three meter/141 foot Alexander Falls. Visitors can drive right up the viewing platform and would be a great stop on your way to or from Whistler on your road trip. The viewing platform for Alexander Falls is right at the edge of a cliff, giving the best viewpoint to capture the power and beauty of the falls.
Drive south on the Sea to Sky highway, 13.5 km from Village Gate Boulevard, turn right onto the new Callaghan Valley access road at the sign to Whistler Olympic Park. Follow this road for 8km, keep an eye out on your left for a little sign that directs you to Alexander Falls. The sign/turnoff is about 1 km before Whistler Olympic Park.
Want More? Beautiful Pit Stops Along the Sea to Sky
The drive from Vancouver to Whistler takes about two hours, however, with a number of scenic stops along the way plan to arrive slightly later than expected. There are many ways to get to Whistler, but if you’re driving it offers the chance to stop and take in some sights along the way. As the highway snakes its way from the ocean to the mountains, driving along the Sea to Sky highway is part of the experience of visiting Whistler!
Porteau Cove #porteaucove
Take a breath of salty sea air and stretch your legs at this popular rest stop. Man made reefs and two sunken vessels also make Porteau Cove a popular scuba diving spot as it is teeming with marine live. From above water, keep an eye out for a number of seabirds, eagles, seals, and if you’re really lucky whales or porpoise. Walk along the rocky beach, take a dip in the ocean, or just admire the view.
Shannon Falls #shannonfalls
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Just South of the town of Squamish is Shannon Falls – a quick turn off the highway to see the third highest waterfall in the province and a must-stop during your Whistler road trip. Around the base of the falls you’ll find a well-maintained boardwalk and trail network to explore some of the area’s towering trees, old-growth stumps and the cool spray from the roaring falls above. A great spot for a lunch break at one of their many picnic tables, or a quick photo and rest stop.
Stawamus Chief #stawamuschief
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park protects the 700 meter massive granite cliffs that stand at the southern entrance to Squamish on the scenic Sea to Sky Highway. The park offers opportunities for camping, rock climbing, hiking, and scenic viewing atop the Chief.
For those with restless legs looking to work off the jet lag, a hike up the Stawamus Chief might just be what the doctor ordered. The Chief Trail is a steep and difficult climb, but the views from the top are spectacular as you look down upon Howe Sound and Squamish. Hikers must be prepared with sturdy footwear, clothing, water, and food.
There are three peaks to choose from – First Peak (1.5 km trail with 540 meters of elevation gain), Second Peak (1.7 km trail with 590 meters of elevation gain), or Third Peak (1.8 km trail with 630 meters of elevation gain).
This iconic stop on your Whistler road trip is accessible whether you’re driving North to Whistler or South back to Vancouver. It is only a rest stop with no facilities, but it offers an amazing view of the Tantalus Range – a staggering 2,603 meters tall row of snow-capped peaks that will make you think you’re in the Rockies. The viewpoint is located fifteen minutes North of Squamish or thirty minutes South of Whistler, and is indicated by several ‘Scenic Viewpoint’ signs.
The Best Ways to Capture the Beauty of Whistler
There’s many ways to see Whistler – from the air in a helicopter tour, from the land by a vehicle or e-bike, or on your own two feet. However you do it, you’re sure to capture Whistler from many different angles and realize there’s lots more to explore than you ever imagined.
Whistler by Helicopter #blacktusk
Discover the beauty of the Whistler resort and let expert local pilots introduce you to the area they call home. On a helicopter tour, experience a bird’s eye view of the Whistler Resort, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, and the magnificent beauty of the Cheakamus Glacier and Black Tusk.
With two public tours available, choose from a twelve minute flight on the Whistler Explorer or try the most popular BC Explorer for a twenty-four minute flight with a fifteen-minute glacier landing.
Want more? Choose to take a private flight that will cater to your dreams, such as a Heli Picnic, Heli Yoga, or The Ultimate Experience. Check a helicopter experience off your bucket list in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
How to Book: online or by phoning 604-262-9833.
Whistler by Bicycle #whistlerbike
Whistler has an extensive trail network called the Valley Trail that is pedestrian-access only, making it a safe, fun, and easy way to explore Whistler by foot or by bike. The Valley Trail connects all Whistler’s neighbourhoods from Function Junction in the south to Emerald in the north, passing through the Village, Upper Village and Creekside as well as other residential areas on the way.
Exploring the Valley Trail by bike is the best way to see all of Whistler’s lakes. Many hotels offer complimentary bike rentals but should your hotel not have this option, not to worry – there’s many shops in the village that rent bikes by the hour or for the day. Grab a Valley Trail map at the bike shop or from the Visitors Centre and be on your way. Ample signage along the trails make it easy to find where you’re going, and in the summer months bike hosts are available to answer any questions you may have while on the trail.
There you have it – an itinerary full of ideas on what to see in whistler From the journey along the Sea to Sky highway to the destination, a Whistler road trip is sure to leave you with a full memory card.