“Beautiful British Columbia”: that’s what the provincial license plates say, and over the past year of living there I agree.
No longer in California, our trailer trips are now taken from our new home in Vancouver. Which means a few changes in trailer storage management, including the need to winterize! Even at sea level there can be snow in Vancouver…
So far we’ve made six trailer trips; here are some of our favorites.
Whistler; Big Mountains, Lots of Bears
Our favorite RV campground in the Whistler area is the Whistler RV Park, which offers spectacular views and well maintained campsites with full hookups. And considering it also caters to ATV enthusiasts (there are trails nearby for them) we have found it surprisingly quiet. In fact all the RV campgrounds we have visited so far in Canada have usually been pretty quiet; is that evidence of the low-key Canadian character?
There are some phenomenal hiking trails to be enjoyed. We like to take the ski gondolas up to the top (they run all summer) and start hiking at 6,000 ft. From the top of the Blackcomb Gondola you can take the Overlord, Lakeside, and Decker Loop trails and the views are incredible. On the way down, from the safety of the gondola car, we saw a black bear ambling across a ski run slope.
Note that the Decker Loop section can be closed due to snow even in late July. I cannot find current trail closure information on the web, so check in with Guest Services at the base of the gondola to see what
Take the Whistler Gondola to the top and you can hike the High Note Trail which offers incredible views; I feel like I’m in the Swiss Alps when I’m on it (it can also be closed right into August due to snow). Besides the views, the trail also features very friendly marmots. Please do not feed them.
You can do the High Note either from the top of the gondola, looping around and up to the peak of Whistler, or, near the top of the gondola take the Peak Chairlift (usually only runs on weekends) to start the hike, which is easier since there is more downhill than up on the route.
There are some wonderful trails near Whistler that require an AWD high clearance vehicle to reach the trailhead. The Conflict Lake Trail starts at the campground on Callaghan Lake, which is at the end of a rough 8km forest service road that starts at the Alexander Falls Touring Center (winter destination for x-country skiing and snowshoeing) on Callaghan Road off Hwy 99. The trail leads to Journeyman Lodge, which is only open in the winter but in summer makes for a great lunch spot since they conveniently leave their patio chairs out! Bring your repellent and a head net, as the route is rife with mosquitos during the warm months. On the way back down the forest service road, from the safety of the car, we saw a black bear. And there was lots of bear scat on the trail; bring bear spray.
For some alpine views, and a more challenging hike, try the Brandywine Meadows Trail. The first two km is a very steep climb of about 330m/1,000ft but then it starts to level out and you reach a beautiful meadow. The extremely ambitious will continue on and up to the top of Brandywine Mt, an additional 800m. It is a steep, rocky, and finally snowy climb, even in August. Bring your microspikes and always be prepared with the hiking 10 essentials!
A busy trail, but definitely worth doing, is the Joffre Lakes Trail, an hours drive north of Whistler. A day use pass is required, and it will be checked for at the trailhead so don’t skip it! In the summer months to avoid crowds do it during the week and start as early as you can. Also consider taking the shuttle.
At the end of the trail at the Third Lake there is a fine view of the Matier Glacier, which clearly is receding, so don’t wait 20 years to see it as it may no longer be visible from the trail.
There are more trails to be explored in the Whistler area and eventually we intend to get to all of them!