THE BEST FALL VIEWS IN WHISTLER
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By Abby Cooper
Watching Mother Nature shed her green summer skin in preparation for the fresh white coat she wears all winter is nothing short of magical. Fall days in Whistler can often feel like three seasons in one–frosty foliage in the morning, warm sun in the afternoon and a cool, crisp evening.
Each autumn day offers a new view, with the colours changing and the weather shifting. This round-up post showcases some of the most spectacular locations in Whistler to take in the fall season, in all its beauty. Take care, adventure smart, and check the weather and your gear before you head out to explore.
1. Whistler Village
An amble-paced stroll through Whistler Village is a great way to see fall colours. A beautiful place to spend a moment is at the public art sculpture Timeless Circle by artist, Susan Point. The silty Fitzsimmons Creek gurgles its way through the stroll, banked by basalt columns and beautiful trees shedding their wares.
Another area that’s stunning at this time of year is the covered bridge next to Reglibialti Park, close to the Upper Village. Look out for Jeri, by sculptor James Stewart, who contemplates his next move as he gazes towards the mountains.
2. Green Lake Boardwalk and Spit
Glacial waters and snow-dusted mountains amplify the colours of the rich green coniferous trees and radiating deciduous foliage surrounding Green Lake. Take in the views along the Valley Trail boardwalk and explore the dirt path that runs next to the greens of Nicklaus North Golf Course towards the spit.
There is a small, sandy offshoot where you can watch Fitzsimmons Creek meet Green Lake (this area does sometimes flood if there’s been a lot of rain). Glacial creeks and streams carrying rock flour from high above give the waters their stunning, chalky glow. It’s also Whistler’s coldest lake and, in the summer, it’s where floatplanes take off and land, which is just incredible to watch.
3. Lost Lake
An iconic spot for anyone chasing views in Whistler is the dock at Lost Lake, with its incredible views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
Protected by forest, Lost Lake is often calm and sheltered from the wind, offering great evening reflections, and situated perfectly for golden-hour light.
4. Rainbow Park, Alta Lake
Alta Lake is a first light kind of destination. The morning sun lights up the large vistas seen from Rainbow Park on the northwest shoreline of Alta Lake, often cutting through the morning lake mist that frequents Alta Lake in the fall.
5. Callaghan Valley
Rich in berries, specifically huckleberries, you can often find bears munching on the side of the road when driving up the Callaghan Valley (be bear safe and don’t stop or get out of your car!). The short drive from Whistler (twenty minutes south along Highway 99) always delivers stunning views, even if the bears don’t appear. You gain significant elevation on the nicely paved road, so you can expect fall to arrive a bit earlier here.
Look out for a sign on your left, close to the entrance to Whistler Olympic Park, for Alexander Falls. Steps from the parking lot is a lookout deck where you can take in the 43-metre (141-foot) falls; the water charges over several rock platforms before cascading into the valley below.
On the way home, the beautiful Black Tusk will be staring at you from across the valley. Utilize any of the marked trails for a shot at this ancient volcano.
6. Rainbow and Sproatt via Flank Trail
Used frequently for access to a multitude of hiking and biking trails on both Rainbow and Sproatt Mountains, the Flank Trail connects Whistler from end to end with some impressive elevation gains and equally dramatic views. Just 15 minutes in (from either direction), you’ll be greeted with stunning views that encompass the entire Whistler Valley, some even come with a bench.
In the heart of the Flank Trail, there are fewer valley-views, but there’s the opportunity to hike to Rainbow Falls instead. A different kind of view that’s perfect for a low visibility day, which we sometimes get in the fall.
7. Mount Brew
Not for the faint of heart, a hike up Mount Brew gives you panoramic views of the entire area. On a clear day, you can see from the Stawamus Chief in Squamish all the way up to Mount Currie in Pemberton; this viewpoint is surreal.
Mount Garibaldi (Nch’Kay) lies front and centre, with its exposed natural barrier holding back Garibaldi Lake. This steep hike isn’t meticulously maintained so be prepared, have a plan and bring an empty memory card.
8. Wedgemount Lake
In my opinion, Wedgemount Lake is one of the most difficult hikes in the Whistler area, but there’s a reason why people do it–an insanely beautiful glacier crashing into a turquoise alpine lake. You definitely need the right gear and the physical ability for a demanding hike like this one.
9. Train Wreck Trail, Function Junction
Whistler's iconic Train Wreck Trail is a nature walk, history lesson and art tour all in one. Find out how these old boxcars found their way into the forest and enjoy the juxtaposition of the metal and graffiti art against the backdrop of ancient cedars and firs. There's a new bridge spanning the blue waters of the Cheakamus River, which connects the wreck to the Sea to Sky Trail and other popular hikes in the Cheakamus Crossing area. It's also good to note that this hike is close to Whistler's Function Junction area, which houses two local breweries for that apres craft beverage.
Fall is an exciting time in the mountains, with Craft Beer Month, Whistler Wine Walk and the Writers Festival.
The weather can change quickly in the fall (snow typically starts to fall at higher elevations), so be prepared for an adventure by bringing the right gear and having a plan. Fall is an incredible time to visit the mountains with deals on accommodation, dining, and arts and culture experiences.
And hey, if it’s raining, you can always jump in the puddles.
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to get started on planning your trip.This post was written by Abby Cooper, a contributor for The Whistler Insider, powered by Tourism Whistler. For more exclusive Whistler content, visit their website.