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Hiking in Whistler
By Milana Bucan
The Whistler area is known to offer ample outdoor fun during both summer and winter months. I love going to Whistler because it’s less than a two-hour drive from Vancouver, yet it feels like a getaway, and is close enough for a quick weekend mini vacay. Whether you’re staying at a hotel or camping in the woods, the nature and stunning views in the surrounding area are simply breathtaking. Situated in the alpine forests, overlooking the coast mountains of the Squamish area it is the perfect home base for the outdoorsy souls.
Unlimited hiking and off-road ATV, snowmobile and mountain biking trails will keep you occupied for hours. With its convenient location minutes away from restaurants, bars and various attractions at the Whistler Olympic Park, it’s easy to get lost in time. I enjoy walking through the Village, as it is a reminder of the Olympic events that took place in 2010, as well as how fortunate we are to live in British Columbia, with oceans, lakes and mountains within reach.
During last summer, I checked off two of my hikes that I have wanted to do for a while. Joffre Lake and Wedgemount Lake were both on my bucket list, mainly because of their turquoise water colors and Insta worthy photos.
Just over an hour’s drive from downtown Whistler, Joffre Lake, in the Pemberton area, is one of those places that you just have to visit at least once. A 10km roundtrip, with an elevation of 400m, includes several steeper sections that offer a challenge, but is good for beginners to more advanced hikers, and makes for a day hike that’s to be remembered for a lifetime. Fishing and even overnight camping is allowed at Middle and Upper Lakes, and a charge of $5 dollars is in effect from June 1st to September 30th. The hike is pet friendly, although dogs do need to be leashed. Most of the hike is through tall evergreen trees with views of mountains with jagged snow covered peaks and rushing streams along the trail. Proper footwear and a sufficient amount of water and snacks to maintain energy levels is recommended, as the hike does take a few hours.
Closer to downtown Whistler, just a short 10-minute drive from Whistler Village is the base of Mount Wedgemount. A 14km roundtrip with an elevation of 1,160km that usually takes anywhere from 6-8 hours is definitely a hike that is suggested for more advanced hikers. We arrived at the base, and I was excited to start my journey to the top and see the beautiful milky turquoise lake that’s creating all the hype. The terrain was a steady incline to the top, through beautiful forestry and parts that guide you through rocky sections. The last hour or so before reaching the lake is a steep incline through a rockslide section, however, the stunning mountain views in the backdrop make it all worthwhile. Having proper sturdy footwear and a light jacket is a must as temperatures do plummet, even during the warmest summer months. About four hours later I reached the top and was speechless when I laid eyes on the stunning lake for the first time. The crisp air and the peaceful energy I felt while gazing at the mountain peaks covered in snow was unforgettable. It almost felt surreal, as if approaching a scene coming straight from a fairytale setting. The color of the lake, the surrounding mountain peaks covered in snow and the utmost feeling of peace, made for an experience I will never forget.
For accommodations in this area or elsewhere in British Columbia go to travel-british-columbia.com
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Published: July 28, 2017
Last Updated: November 16, 2022
Milana is currently studying to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, while regularly contributing articles about lifestyle, food and fashion. As a photography enthusiast I never miss an opportunity for that perfect candid shot. Foodie at heart, I will go the extra mile to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee or the most scrumptious chocolate dessert.