If you’re looking for an excuse to hit the trails of Whistler Blackcomb this week, one is blooming as you read this.
Thanks to an unseasonably warm and sunny start to the summer, the wildflowers found in Whistler’s alpine region (1,800m and up!) are blossoming weeks ahead of schedule. Typically only in season for two or three weeks a year, this year’s crop is just about at its peak.
This annual bloom showcases approximately a dozen different types of wildflower that you’ll only find up in the Whistler alpine. These unique flowers have adapted to a high altitude climate, so you won’t spot them at your local florist or even within Whistler village. Here are just a few examples of a wide variety of plant life that can be found along the alpine trails.
White Mountain Heather
Originally native to the Arctic and Northern Norway, the Whistler Mountain Heather can be found growing on alpine ridges and meadows. The white flowers are bell-shaped, and can grow 10cm to 20cm (4in to 7.9in) high.
Pink Mountain Heather
This small, alpine shrub grows to a height of 10cm to 40cm (4in to 15.8in). It’s characterized by its pink bell-shaped flower that consists of five fused sepals, not petals. This slow growing plant can live up to 20 years or more.
Mountain Arnica has tall stems, 20cm to 60cm (7.9in to 24in) high. This flower is sometimes used as an ointment for treating bruises, sprains and strains on the surface of the skin. However, it is poisonous to ingest.
The Sitka Valerian grows in moist alpine meadows and can be found on the Overlord Trail and Lakeside Loop on Blackcomb. This perennial ranges in height from 70cm (27.6in) to a metre. Flowers are pale pink to white and form a dense, sweet scented cluster.
This is a slow growing plant that can grow up to 60cm (24in) tall and live for up to 20 years in the high alpine. It can be found in moist areas along the Harmony Lake Trail & Loop on Whistler or the Lakeside Loop on Blackcomb.
Because of this year’s early summer heat, 100% of the trails on Blackcomb Mountain are already open and clear of snow. The best trails to see and photograph wildflowers are Overlord Trail and Marmot Trail, found on Blackcomb. Meanwhile on Whistler, 7 of 9 trails are now open with the last two nearly snow-free.
To experience this once-a-year occurrence, start by catching the gondola from Whistler Village. Your ticket or unlimited 360 Pass includes the entire PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience found at the top:
- Unlimited access to 4 open air chairlifts and up to 50 kilometers of alpine trails
- On-mountain dining at five different restaurants
- Unlimited access to the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola (the Guinness Book of World Records-holder for the longest and highest lift)
- Alpine orientation tours
- Plus more
If you’re still not convinced to make the drive up the Sea-to-Sky, check out #360ofWB to see what awaits you.
It’s that time of year, the wild flowers are starting to put on their show in the Alpine. This season doesn’t usually last long so make sure you get up there soon #360ofwb #whistlerunfiltered #OnlyInWhistler #nature #explorebc #earthpix #wildflowers #passionpassport #travelstoke A photo posted by Mitch Winton (@wintonphotos) on
Dramatic #clouds hung over our first #hike on Blackcomb of the season. Beautiful way to escape the heat. // #WhistlerStoke #360ofWB #ExploreBC #OnlyInWhistler #WBWorkLove A photo posted by Nina Arnold (@ninaa2007) on