Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukPaper birch, also known as white birch is a type of birch tree that grows in northern North America. Named for its paper-like, white or cream coloured bark that easily peels off in large white, horizontal sheets. Leaves are rounded at the base and with a pointed tip and have a length ranging from 5-12cm or 2-5 inches. Wood is excellent for firewood and pulpwood. The bark is particularly flammable. Usually grow to 20 metres (66 feet), but have been known to grow at tall as 40 metres (130 feet).

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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Trunk diameters of white birch have been known to reach 76 cm or 30 inches. In cold climates such as Whistler they have been known to grow over 100 years, however they generally have a lifespan of about 30 years. The bright white coloured bark on mature trees is very durable due to its high oil content. Encountering a fallen paper birch in the forest, you often find hollow bark intact with the inside rotted away. Paper birch wood is sometimes used to make furniture, flooring, plywood and popsicle sticks. Historically it has been used to make spears, bows, arrows, snowshoes and sleds. The bark is often used as a fire starter and it easily burns even when wet. The bark is waterproof and can be used to waterproof a sod-roofed house. Paper birch trees are well adapted to grow after forest fires. Their numerous lightweight seeds spread great distances by wind and rapidly germinate to fast growing trees. This is why in the first few years after a forest fire, paper birch trees dominate. This dominance does not last however, as the short lived, shade intolerant paper birch trees are slowly overtaken by other longer living tree species. In fact, the paper birch relies on forest fires to thrive.  If a forest fire doesn’t decimate a forest every century, the paper birch will almost completely be overtaken by other tree species. So, a newly established forest after a forest fire may be almost entirely paper birch trees. After 50 years they are well under half as numerous as other trees move in. In forests older than a century, birch trees will have almost entirely disappeared.

Paper birch trees are a major cause of allergies in the spring months in Whistler and much of northern North America. From March to June birch trees release tremendous amounts of pollen into the air which swirls around in the wind and is inhaled by allergy sufferers. Settling in peoples eyes and noses, this pollen triggers immune systems and bodies fight off the threat with histamines. Histamines come with annoying side-effects such as itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose and scratchy throat. Interestingly, birch pollen allergy can also trigger allergic reactions to some food. So, you may eat apples, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, peaches or pears and get itching and swelling in your throat and mouth. Often attributed to a sudden allergy to these foods, when it is actually triggered by paper birch pollen.

Paper Birch or White Birch

More Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking A to Z!

The Green Lake Loop is the original trail that runs around the back side of Green Lake.  Before the Sea to Sky Highway was cut through the valley in 1964, ...
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Every unusual phenomenon in the forest seems to have a name, but one natural work of art seems to be without a commonly used name.  Big trees with ...
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Cirque: a glacier-carved bowl or amphitheater in the mountains.  To form, the glacier must be a combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a ...
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The Pacific yew or western yew is a coniferous tree that grows in Whistler and along the coast from Alaska to California. The Pacific yew’s unique ...
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Twentyone Mile Creek begins its long and steep journey from Rainbow Lake, high up and between Mount Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain.  Cutting between the two ...
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Hidden in the tangle of forest along Green Lake where the old Parkhurst Sawmill once operated, is the bizarre and beautiful Parkhurst Plow Tree.  A very ...
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Fitzsimmons Creek is the beautiful and huge creek that crashes through Whistler Village.  When walking from Whistler Village to the Upper Village, you will cross ...
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Mount Garibaldi is the huge, potentially active volcano that Garibaldi Provincial Park is named after.  Mount Garibaldi also lends its name to the Garibaldi ...
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Amazing Hiking Trails in Whistler

The Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails!

Ancient Cedars is a nice, easy/moderate 2.5 kilometre (1.6 mile) hiking trail on the far side of Cougar Mountain, just 13.1 kilometres north of Whistler Village. A small, untouched grove of huge western ...
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Cirque Lake is a wild and beautiful lake that hides high above and beyond Callaghan Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  What makes Cirque Lake special among the other sensationally beautiful lakes in the ...
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Mount Sproatt, or as it is known locally as just Sproatt, is one of the many towering mountains visible from Whistler Village. Above and beyond Alta Lake, directly across from Whistler Mountain and ...
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Logger's Lake is an amazing little lake hidden up in the deep forest above the more well known Cheakamus River. The lake, almost unbelievably exists in a long extinct volcano. However, as soon as you see ...
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Whistler & Garibaldi Park Best Hiking by Month!

July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
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August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless and ...
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September hiking in Whistler is possibly the best month of all.  The snow has melted far up to the mountain tops, yet the temperatures are still quite high.  ...
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Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
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Free Camping Gear Delivery to Garibaldi Park

Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

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