Whether you’re new to Vancouver or you’ve lived here your whole life, you’ve probably realized how lucky you are to have Whistler right in your own backyard.
Whistler is a world-class four season resort that attracts people from all over the world, and us Vancouverites can get there anytime we want with just a quick trip up the Sea To Sky Highway (one of the most scenic drives in the world, btw).
But what some people don’t realize is you can have a game-changing vacation in Whistler by exploring off the beaten track a bit. And visiting mid-week is the best time to make your trip happen, since the resort tends to be quieter from Monday to Thursday.
So, to inspire your next road trip to Whistler up the Sea to Sky Highway, we’ve rounded up the top eclectic experiences you can discover while you’re there.
Hike out to Whistler’s Train Wreck in Function Junction
This is arguably one of the most unique spots you’ll come across in Whistler. Back in 1956, a train derailed here when a freighter heading south from Lillooet came into on an area under track repair with too much speed. Now, a handful of mangled railway boxcars are scattered among the fir trees up from the gushing Cheakamus River.
The site used to be off-limits because access involved walking across the railway tracks but you now you can access it legally. It’s like a free outdoor graffiti gallery, so make sure you bring your camera! Access the Train Wreck by hiking one kilometre through the coastal rainforest and over a suspension bridge.
Pro tip: Since improvements have been made to the trail, this hidden gem is fast being discovered and can often be busy on weekends. Try visiting mid-week to have this unique experience all to yourself.
Visit Alexander Falls in the Callaghan Valley
You’re not confined to the base of the mountain when you’re in Whistler because you can easily jump in your car and head to the magnificent setting of Alexander Falls just 40 minutes south in the Callaghan Valley. Here, you’ll find a stunning 141-foot tall waterfall that you can view from a platform on the edge of a cliff where you’ll get a majestic view of the water crashing into the valley below. The viewing area is 40 metres from the main road to Whistler Olympic Park.
Have dinner and drinks on the Aura Patio at Nita Lake Lodge in Creekside
Of course, enjoying unique experiences off the beaten track in Whistler extends to the culinary side of things, too. Dine al fresco at Whistler’s best lakeside patio at Aura Restaurant, in the Nita Lake Lodge. The menu is packed with rustic dishes made with seasonal ingredients, and there’s something to satisfy every kind of foodie preference. Visit the Cure Lounge for ‘Go Local’ on a Wednesday and make the most of all-day $6 beer specials, $7 house wine, and the AAA beef burger for only $15.
Spend a day exploring the Cultural Connector in Whistler Village
Explore the cultural side of Whistler on the scenic pathway known as the Cultural Connector. It links up six significant cultural institutions in Whistler and showcases noteworthy points and anecdotes, giving you the opportunity to learn about the community’s cultural evolution. You can begin the pathway at the Audain Art Museum where you’ll find BC artworks from the 18th century to the present day, then follow on to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) to learn about the spirit of the partnership between two unique Nations who wish to grow and share traditional cultures.
After this, visiting the Whistler Museum is a must because you’ll get an insider’s look at the evolution of skiing at the resort, the people of Whistler, and the unique skiing culture that makes the resort one of the most desirable places to visit in the world.
If you’re passionate about art, make sure you check out the awesome public art displays like The Timeless Circle bronze sculpture outside the Maury Young Arts Centre. It was commissioned by the Resort Municipality of Whistler to celebrate the resort’s involvement in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the community’s role as Host Mountain Resort. There’s also the bronze Jeri sculpture by James Stewart located at the Fitzsimmons River between the Upper and Lower Village, as well as the vibrant Lorimer Bridge Mural which makes the perfect Instagram backdrop.
Visit whistler.com now to book your mid-week summer vacation to experience the resort like never before. And don’t forget to adventure responsibly – always pack out what you pack in!