Snowshoeing is just one of the many things to do in Whistler besides ski. There is nothing more Canadian, or a more wintery activity than snowshoeing. It may not be considered an extreme sport like skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling but snowshoeing is still really fun! This is an activity that’s perfect for beginners and requires no prior lessons or skills. Since I never really clicked with skiing, I really wanted to give snowshoeing a go. It’s not what Whistler is known for but it’s a great activity for the whole family and people that don’t ski. Read on to find out the best trails for snowshoeing in Whistler!

Most of the trails in this guide are free as long as you have your own pair of snowshoes. There are a couple of trails which you will need to pay for, however the price is more than worth it to access these trails! 

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Snowshoeing In Whistler – The Best Snowshoeing Trails in Whistler

The Callaghan Valley is a beautiful area for snowshoeing in Whistler
Snowshoeing the Callaghan Valley after a heavy snowfall

How To Get To Whistler

To get to Whistler, you’ll need to take the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler. This is done best by car so that you can stop and see all the amazing sights along the way. 

If you don’t have access to a car you can book a transfer instead. Several shuttles leave from Vancouver YVR airport including Whistler Connection and Skylynx. If you are already in downtown Vancouver Epic Rides also picks up from outside the Hyatt Hotel.


What To Pack For Snowshoeing In Whistler

Remember to pack the 10 essentials as you would for hiking in the summer: 

Headlamp 

First Aid Kit

Navigation/Map

Fire Starter

Water

Nutrition/Energy Bars

Emergency Shelter

Knife

Extra Clothes

Sun Protection/Sunglasses


What To Wear For Snowshoeing In Whistler

Wearing the appropriate winter clothing when Snowshoeing is very important. Temperatures can change quickly and layering is the way to go.

Base layer/Thermals – Thermals are my new best friend. I don’t go anywhere in the winter without them. I’d have never snowmobiled, skied or snowshoed if it wasn’t for thermals!

Water resistant snow pants and ski/snow jacket – Having a water resistant outer layer will ensure you’re protected from the ice and snow. I have fallen over countless times while snowshoeing and my ski pants make sure I don’t leave with a wet bottom!

Winter boots/shoes – When snowshoeing I usually wear my thick insulated winter boots. I have a good pair of Sorels that I use often or a similar cheaper version.

Toque/Hat – Keep your head warm with a toque or headband

Gloves – Warm gloves are essential for snowshoeing since your hands are constantly exposed to the elements 

Hand & Foot Warmers – I can’t do any winter activity without hand and foot warmers. My feet go numb the second it starts to snow so I would recommend buying these in advance just so you don’t find your hands and feet frozen during your winter hike.


Where To Stay In Whistler

There are plenty of places to stay in Whistler for various budgets. 

Both the Fairmont Chateau and Four Seasons Resort offer 5-star luxury experiences. Both are located in the Upper Village of Whistler which is a quieter area and somewhat cut-off from the main village.

The Hilton Whistler, Crystal Lodge and Pan Pacific are mid-budget hotels right in the heart of Whistler Village, all just a five minute walk from the Whistler Gondola. 

For more budget options, the Pangea Pod and HI Whistler offer hostel-like rooms. The Pangea is a pod hotel so it does have more privacy than that of the HI but you can always book private rooms at the HI too. 


Nairn Falls

Nairn Falls is a nice easy hike in Whistler in the summer and for the most part it’s a relatively easy snowshoeing trail. Trails that are easy to hike in the summer are generally easy to snowshoe in the winter. However, considering that the conditions of snow are much harsher all-round, it’s going to be harder to navigate these trails. 

The Nairn Falls trail follows the Green River, make sure to stay away from the edge because it’s a fair way down! This trail is flat most of the way until you get to the very end where the waterfall is. In the summer the small incline at the falls is usually wet so can get slippery, the same is true for winter. It’s important to take caution when attempting the rocky area towards the falls. The area is fenced off around the falls for safety but the handrails will help gain some stability. 

Distance: 3km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Fees: None/Free

Lost Lake Park

Lost Lake Park is one of the best places to snowshoe in Whistler. You can rent snowshoes at the Whistler Passive Haus or bring your own. Entry to Lost Lake Park for snowshoeing is completely free! There are many trails around Lost Lake but the most popular is the Lost Lake Loop which is an easy 4km round-trip trail. The trail is quite wide and well-maintained and although it does have gradual inclines here and there it is a great trail for beginners. 

Distance: 4km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Fees: None/Free

Snowshoeing in the Callaghan - the perfect trails for beginners

Loggers Lake

Loggers Lake is located in the Whistler Interpretive Forest along the same road to Cheakamus Lake. Many people bypass the smaller lesser-known trails in this area but there are plenty of snowshoeing trails here. The thing I really like about this area is that it’s far quieter than other more popular trails. 

We followed the Crater Rim trail to Loggers Lake and then cut across the trail to access the frozen Loggers Lake. This trail is a tad harder than the others on this list since it does have some significant elevation. However it’s very gradual and the trail is quite wide so still a good trail for beginner snowshoers. 

Distance: 4.5km

Elevation Gain: 230 metres

Difficulty: Easy

Fees: None/Free

The Loggers Lake Trail in Whistler is a quiet area to snowshoe
Cheakamus is a great neighbourhood for finding quiet snowshoe trails

Cheakamus Lake

Cheakamus Lake is one of my favourite hikes in Whistler. It’s a great option for beginners and perfect for all the family. And snowshoeing here in the winter is no different. The only catch is that getting to the trailhead can be tricky if you don’t have 4×4. In the summer the Forest Service road that leads up to Cheakamus Lake is relatively maintained but it does get slippery during the winter. Make sure you have the correct vehicle and tyres before attempting the drive up – I’ve seen people even in winter get stuck on these backroads! 

If you’ve gotten to the trailhead okay, then yay! You made it! The trail into Cheakamus Lake is relatively flat all the way with little elevation gain and the views at the end are just amazing. 

Distance: 16km (from the parking lot)

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Fees: None/Free

Whistler Train Wreck

The Train Wreck is one of Whistlers most famous landmarks but that doesn’t mean that because it’s winter you can’t visit! The Whistler Train Wreck is accessible year-round and is one of the easiest hikes in Whistler. During the winter season the train wreck is still very popular with locals and tourists alike, It’s beautiful when covered in snow! 

Distance: 5k

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Fees: None/Free

Whistler Train Wreck is one of the resorts most visited landmarks
The Whistler Train Wreck

Alexander Falls / Callaghan Country

Alexander Falls is my favourite snowshoeing trail. After having seen Alexander Falls several times over the years, seeing the falls from the bottom frozen in the winter was the most fantastic view. This trail can only be accessed through the Callaghan Country at Whistler Olympic Park.

The snowshoeing trails in the Callaghan Country and Whistler Olympic Park are one of the few places you’d need to pay entry. Although I think the entry price was worth it to see Alexander Falls up close, I was disappointed with the trail conditions and signage. There were several trails stemming off the main trail here and no signs past the initial signpost at the trailhead. 

There are several different snowshoeing trails in the Callaghan but I think Alexander Falls is the most stunning, especially if you are paying to do so! 

Distance: 2.5km

Elevation Gain: 140m

Difficulty: Intermediate

Fees: $16.50 per adult as of 2020. Check the Callaghan Country Website for more details.

Alexander Falls is one of the best snowshoeing trails in Whistler and leads to a big frozen waterfall
The Alexander Falls snowshoe trail is only accessible through Whistler Olympic Park/Callaghan Country

Brandywine Falls

The snowshoeing trail to Brandywine Falls is really good for beginners because it’s very short and flat. The trail takes you directly to the lookout point of Brandywine and it’s just amazing in the winter when it freezes over. 

In the summer there is an alternate unofficial route to the bottom but since this is unmaintained and there are boulder fields and ropes you need to descend I would not recommend this route in slippery conditions. 

Distance: 15km (from parking lot)

Elevation Gain: None

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Fees: None/Free

Brandywine Falls Whistler
The trail down to Brandywine Falls isn’t recommended in the winter months

Emerald Forest

This area of Whistler is located just behind Alta Lake on the West Side Road. It’s not really a managed trail or snowshoeing area but I have snowshoed around here just to get off the beaten path and see somewhere new. It’s a nice area just to wander through and check out somewhere very few people go but there’s also very little to see other than trees – which is okay with me!  

Distance: 5km – 10km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Fees: None/Free

Nita/Alta/Alpha Lakes

If you’re just getting into snowshoeing and want to test out your new snowshoes before trying a dedicated trail, you can always head to one of the many lakes in Whistler and give them a go! Once the lakes completely freeze and are covered in inches of snow, it makes them the perfect area to practice on. This is where I discovered that I really like snowshoeing! 

Distance: Minimal

Elevation Gain: None

Difficulty: Very Easy

Fees: None/Free

Nita Lake, Whistler
Practice your snowshoeing skills on one of Whistlers many lakes

Snowshoeing The Medicine Trail With Canadian Wilderness

If you’re absolutely brand new to all things winter and snow, or you just really want to have a knowledgable guide show you the ropes, consider taking a guided tour of the Medicine Trail with Canadian Wilderness. This is a local tour company that I have had first hand experiences with. They are highly regarded by locals and tourists alike in Whistler as not only do they have fantastic guides they do a lot in the community too. 

Taking a tour will take all the hassle and planning off your hands and all you have to do is show up in warm clothes! Canadian Wilderness provide just about everything else! 

Looking For More Canada Inspiration? Check Out These Other Posts!

Things To Do In Whistler In Winter

2 Day Vancouver Itinerary

Easy Hikes In Whistler

Sea To Sky Highway Road Trip

Best Glacial Lake Hikes Near Vancouver

Things To Do In Whistler In Summer


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Best Trails To Go Snowshoeing In Whistler, Canada
Best Whistler Snowshoe Trails
Where To Snowshoe In Whistler Canada
Best Snowshoe Trails In Whistler