6 of the most beautiful Whistler hikes, from beginner to advanced

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Image: Robin O'Neill

Whether you’re new to hiking or a seasoned veteran, Whistler Blackcomb has over 50 kilometres of the world’s best hiking and running trails in Canada that are sure to challenge and inspire you. With two world class alpine routes, timed runs and hikes using RFID technology, gorgeous views and options for beginner, intermediate and advanced hikers, Whistler Blackcomb has everything you need for an amazing summer alpine experience.

Both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are open to hikers and runners until October 12 (weather dependent), and by purchasing a PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Pass you gain unlimited access to all trails and exclusive discounts for select Whistler Blackcomb shops and restaurants. If you’re looking to pack in even more excitement, you can check out the 5 Peaks Running Race on Saturday, August 29 and the Valley to Peak Race on Saturday September 5.

Purchase your PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Pass today and start checking these trails off the list!

Beginner trails – 1 hour or less

Alpine Walk (Blackcomb)

Image: Whistler Blackcomb

Image: Whistler Blackcomb

If you’re new to hiking, looking for a quick jaunt in the outdoors, or have little ones that want to explore, the Alpine Walk on Blackcomb is an excellent option. This gentle hike is 1.6 km (1 mi) and will take around 60 minutes round-trip.

This trail leads you away from the Rendezvous Lodge, and offers incredible views of the Fitzsimmons Valley. With ample photo opportunities and alpine storyboards, the Alpine Walk is a great introduction to West Coast hiking and trail running.

Whistler Summit Interpretive Walk (Whistler)

Located at the top of Whistler Mountain, the summit interpretive walk winds around the summit and gives visitors unparalleled views of Garibaldi Provincial Park, Fitzsimmons Valley and Black Tusk. Similar to the Alpine Walk, the Whistler summit interpretive trail includes alpine storyboards and takes only 60 minutes round trip, making it perfect for families and those who want a leisurely stroll.

With stunning viewpoints everywhere you look, and unique views of ancient volcanoes and glaciers, Whistler Summit is a must-see. To access the trail, take the gondola from Whistler Village to the Peak Express Traverse and head toward the Peak Express, an open-air chairlift (10 minutes). If you’d like to extend your hike, Whistler Summit is also a launching point for several other advanced trails (High Note, Half Note, Burnt Stew Road, Pika’s Traverse Road, and Matthews’ Traverse Road).

*Keep in mind that Peak Chair closes September 20. However, all trails are still accessible via Pika’s and Mathews’ Traverses – weather pending. Check whistlerblackcomb.com for the most up to date information.

Intermediate trails – 2 to 3 hours

Overlord Trail to Lakeside Loop (Blackcomb)

If you’re ready to kick your alpine hiking and running up a notch, Overlord Trail is exactly where you need to start. Start by catching the Solar Coaster Express, an open-air chairlift, to the Alpine Walk. From there, you’ll travel a little ways before heading right onto Overlord Trail. Through old-growth forests and ending at an ancient alpine tarn (glacial lake), you’ll find solitude and rejuvenation.

This trail will take most visitors two to three hours to complete, but you’ll definitely want to stay a while and enjoy the amazing views of Blackcomb Lake and Blackcomb Peak. For an extra challenge, swipe your RFID Pass at the gate near the Rendezvous Lodge and time your run/hike.

Overlord Trail to Decker Tarn (Blackcomb)

This trail is significantly longer than the Overlord Trail to Lakeside Loop route, and you should allocate at least three hours for the excursion. To get to Decker Tarn, continue on Overlord Trail past the turn off for Lakeside Loop. You’ll arrive at the ancient lake in about an hour and a half, and we’re betting you won’t want to leave for a while!

This ancient lake was formed when a glacier excavated a large amount of soil, debris and rock thousands of years ago. Rain and glacier water slowly accumulated in the cirque and thus Decker Tarn was born. Be sure to bring your swimsuit (if you dare).

Advanced trails – 3 to 4 hours

Alpine Walk to Overlord Trail to Decker Loop (Blackcomb)

As one of Whistler Blackcomb’s signature trails, Decker Loop will have you awe-struck. With views of Garibaldi Provincial Park, Overlord Glacier and Decker Tarn surrounding you, it’s no wonder this is considered one of the best hiking experiences on Blackcomb.

This trail will take you at least three hours, so be sure to bring adequate water and provisions. As with most advanced trails, Decker Loop involves many steep inclines and declines over narrow trails, so don’t forget proper hiking footwear and attire!

High Note Trail to Half Note Trail (Whistler)

The second signature trail on Whistler Blackcomb leaves nothing to be desired for both advanced trail runners and hikers. High Note trail is packed with incredible views of Black Tusk, Cheakamus Lake and Symphony Lake, and your descent through rugged terrain and alpine forests will have you wishing it would never end.

The entire High Note trail (9.4 km, 5.8 mi) requires around three to four hours, however, there is the option to shorten it by taking Half Note Trail. You’ll see signs for the turn off about a third of the way into High Note Trail. If you decide to take Half Note Trail, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Sun Bowl and Harmony Ridge.

To experience these amazing views, purchase your PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Pass here. For more spectacular views of Whistler Blackcomb, check out #360ofWB on Instagram or Facebook.

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