Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukThe sawmill at Parkhurst operated on the triangle of land that juts out into Green Lake and also extended north between the train tracks and the lake.  The old sawmill was almost certainly crushed under heavy snow in the years following its closure in 1956.  With the town abandoned there were no caretakers to maintain any of the old structures and the crushing weight of spring snow eventually flattened all but two of the old houses and the sawmill buildings.

Whistler & Garibaldi Park

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

  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

Today, when you wander around where the old sawmill was you will notice a strange lack of trees growing in certain areas.  After a bit of poking around you realized that under the forest floor layer of dirt, moss and grass are huge sheets of metal that once covered the roof of the sawmill that once stood here.  Some of these can still be seen where there once was a covered area over train tracks that branched off from the railway we see today and extended to the sawmill near the end of the point of land.  With some digging you may uncover the old train tracks under all the collapsed debris, but it seems likely that the tracks were removed and salvaged.  The giant steel chimney from the sawmill is still easy to find sprawled across the forest floor in a few pieces.  The brick building that housed the furnace is now a pile of bricks crumbling around the old furnace.  Also in the forest you will encounter an old abandoned tractor.  It is a very old Cletrac tractor, similar to the the nearby Caterpillar tractor, but smaller and lacking a large plow.  As with the Caterpillar, the forest has wrapped around and over it, making it hard to spot in the jungle that has grown in this once treeless, gravel peninsula.

Parkhurst Sawmill Map v5

Parkhurst Sawmill Cletrac

The image above is the old Cletrac tractor abandoned here in 1956 when the sawmill at Parkhurst closed.  Below is some of the exposed sheet metal that used to be the roof of the sawmill.  Most of the metal roof is now buried under the forest floor and prevents large trees from growing were it lays.  This explains the large area of few large trees in the middle of the forest here.

Parkhurst Sawmill Collapsed Roof

Quiet Forest Peninsula in Green Lake

The triangle of land where the sawmill once was is now covered in thick forest and bushwhacking your way to the shore of Green Lake is tricky.  The wall of green that has engulfed the once gravel peninsula is so thick as to mostly hide the emerald lake just a few metres away.  Once you do scramble and claw your way to the shoreline you are often staggered by the view.  Shown below is a typical sunrise view of beautiful Green Lake which gets its name from its bright green colour caused by invisible particles of glacier rock reflecting light.

Parkhurst Sawmill Site Sunrise

Green Lake is fed by Fitzsimmons Creek which is fed by glaciers on Blackcomb MountainWhistler Mountain and Overlord.  If you hike for three hours up the old Singing Pass trail which cuts between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains you will come to Russet Lake.  From Russet Lake you get a great view of Overlord Glacier and Overlord Mountain.  Overlord Mountain is visible from much of Whistler and especially The Fissile, which is the distinctly triangular shaped peak at the west end of Overlord.  Whistler Village was designed to give visitors a view of The Fissile from Village Gate Boulevard.

Peak2Peak, Overlord and The Fissile

The flat clearing in the middle of the sawmill site makes for a beautiful campsite.  The sun shining through the colourful leaves on a spectacular and frosty fall morning in Parkhurst Ghost Town

Parkhurst Sawmill Sunrise Camp

Half buried cement foundations at the site of the old sawmill in Parkhurst Ghost Town.  Once the base of the largest building in the sawmill with train tracks entering at one end so train cars could be loaded with newly cut lumber.

Parkhurst Sawmill Foundations

These were part of the foundations of the largest structure in the sawmill that can be seen here in a picture of the sawmill from the 1950's.  Notice the massive chimney in the picture below.  The remains of the chimney is still laying in pieces in the forest. 

Parkhurst Mill in the 1950's

The large furnace it was attached to is still where it was in 1956, however the brick structure that enclosed it and supported the chimney has collapsed into a pile of bricks overgrown and partly buried by the forest.

Parkhurst Sawmill Furnace

The old sawmill's chimney lays sprawled throughout the forest of the old sawmill site at Parkhurst.

Parkhurst Sawmill Chimney

Parkhurst Sawmill Caterpillar RD8

The second Caterpillar tractor at Parkhurst Ghost Town is considerably harder to find despite being just a few metres from the hulking Caterpillar at the shore of Green Lake.  If you bushwhack through the dense forest toward the point of land that the Parkhurst sawmill was located you will find this second tractor also abandoned in 1956.  This tractor is much easier to identify than the other one and appears to be a Caterpillar RD8 built in 1936.  Caterpillar made just 9999 1H series RD8 and D8 Caterpillars from 1935 to 1941 and this one was one of the early RD8's at number 334.  In 1937, a year after this one came off the assembly line Caterpillar dropped the 'R' from the RD8 name and continued the line as D8.  The other Parkhurst Caterpillar, just a few metres away on the shore of Green Lake is a D8 of the same 1H series, and was built in 1939.  The Caterpillar RD8 tractor was hugely popular and became renowned worldwide after their widespread use by the Allies during World War II.  This Caterpillar at Parkhurst is so hidden by the forest that even standing a couple metres from it you can barely see it.  Even in winter when the surrounding trees and bushes have shed their leaves, you still have to get fairly close to spot it.  Considering the age of this tractor and that it has been sitting in this spot through 65 winters, it is remarkably intact. 

Parkhurst Caterpillar RD8 1H Inside

Caterpillar RD8 Video from 1938

This is a great video from 1938 of a young man starting and driving a Caterpillar RD8 tractor.  The video even shows him hauling a tree which would have been one of the many jobs this one had in Parkhurst.

This is another very good video by NZ Contractor Magazine that highlights this type of tractor.  It even shows how the plow functioned with the overhead cable system, nicknamed "headache racks".  The Caterpillar RD8 in the video is also of the 1H series and also has a LeTourneau plow, though a slightly different model.  The plow on the RD8 in Parkhurst is a LeTourneau FK8, whereas the plow in the video is a LeTourneau AK8

It sits in the forest with its massive 4 ton plow stretching out in front of it.  Consumed by the forest, the enormous plow is being lifted off the forest floor by several trees.  Still attached to the 36,500 pound tractor the huge old steel plow weighs well over 8,000 pounds and yet this plow, squeezed by several growing trees, has been lifted off the ground about 40 centimetres.  One tree at the edge of the plow seems to be straining against much of the plow's weight as its thick, muscular trunk bends away from the plow a few centimetres before rising straight up into the forest canopy.  The steering control levers and gas, brake and clutch pedals are all nearly as they were in 1956.  You can even climb in the driver's seat and work the wonderfully solid iron levers that once controlled this huge beast.

Caterpillar RD8 1H Plow Lifting

Caterpillar RD8 1H Trees Lifting Plow

Underneath the plow at the front is where you can see the heavy lifting trees pushing in opposite directions, but all are pushing upward.  It is still hard to believe that trees can lift something this heavy and you find yourself crawling around in the dirt mystified at how it could be possible.

Caterpillar RD8 1H Trees Lifting Plow

The Parkhurst Plow Tree

Just a couple metres from the Caterpillar RD8 and its rising plow is another interesting plow and forest battle going on.  This time, so far at least, the plow is winning.  A large tree, likely started growing when the plow was abandoned here in 1956, is growing through a large, triangular opening.  Squeezed through the gap the tree then widens considerably once above the plow and continued up as if a completely normal tree.  You find yourself circling the plow and tree marvelling at how it has filled every gap in the plow, fighting for room to move and grow. 

Parkhurst Plow Tree

The Parkhurst Ghost Town Trails

Parkhurst Trails are Dog FriendlyThere are quite a few trails in and around Parkhurst and it can be confusing as you rarely see trail signs and several trails overlap.  For example, the Green Lake Loop is the original trail that ran along the back side of Green Lake and then did a loop through Parkhurst.  Because the more recently built Sea to Sky Trail overlaps much of Green Lake Loop, the two trails are almost interchangeable.  With the Sea to Sky Trail following a newer, more defined route, it tends to overshadow the Green Lake Loop.  Also, half of the loop in the Green Lake Loop has morphed in recent years to be called the Parkhurst Trail, as it is the most direct route to the old ghost town.  There are several ways to get to Parkhurst Ghost Town and they range from alright to amazing.  You can hike from the far end of Green Lake via the Parkhurst Trail (pretty good), the Parkhurst Ridge Trail (amazing), the Green Lake Loop (some of it is nice) or the Sea to Sky Trail(not great) ranging in length from 2.9 kilometres to 3.4 kilometres (one way).  Or you can hike or bike in from the south from Lost Lake near Whistler Village along the Sea to Sky Trail and/or the Green Lake Loop.  Starting from Lost Lake near Whistler Village, you can hike or bike to Parkhurst along the Sea to Sky Trail/Green Lake Loop in 6.2 kilometres.  It is a very nice and wide, gravel trail with a few hills as you ascend up the back of Green Lake.  There are several panoramic vantage points over the lake as you wind through the nice forest in a comparatively quiet corner of Whistler.

Parkhurst Map Complete v13

The Parkhurst Loop Trail

Parkhurst Loop Trail EasyThe Parkhurst Loop Trail is roughly a triangle with each side about 300 metres long.  This trail runs through the now deep forest where most of the houses once stood in Parkhurst.  Part of the loop trail was once an old gravel road which explains how the various wrecked vehicles managed to get there.  Wrecked, old trucks from the 1950’s, an old car from the 1970’s and dozens of collapsed houses lay rotting along this trail.  It is fun to wander through the forest here as you can never tell what you will find around the next bend in the trail.  The triangle shaped loop trail surrounded by deep forest is strangely disorienting.  You find yourself wandering for a while in a direction you are sure is away from Green Lake, only to suddenly emerge from the forest just steps from the water.  Unlike other hiking trails in Whistler where you have a set destination, at Parkhurst you have a non-stop series of curious structures, beautiful sections of forest and endless great lake views.

Parkhurst Loop Trail Map v3

The Blue Face by Kups

Back in 2011 Kups, a Whistler local and now professional muralist painted a hauntingly surreal, blue face on the side of this house.  This beautiful mural, along with the fact that this is the last fully intact house in Parkhurst makes it the most well known and photographed structure in the old ghost town.  It is difficult to figure out why the Blue Face House outlasted all the others, but it appears to still be quite structurally sound.  The old metal roof is very well intact and all the walls are surprisingly solid.  The only significant damage seems to be from visitors yanking curtains down or smashing floor boards and wall panels.  Any windows that may have existed are long gone and there is no longer a door.  A hole in the ceiling has been clawed open to look into the attic which is also somewhat intact with insulation still lining between the two by four ribs.  There is even a cute little chimney poking out of the room, though of course the stove is long gone.

Blue Face by Kups

The mural painted on the front of the house dates back to 2011 when local muralist Kups painted it.  Back then the house was a blank canvas, now the inside is mostly covered in colourful murals and graffiti.

Blue Face House Inside

Blue Face House Parkhurst

Kups Blue Face Parkhurst

Trailhead & Parking Directions to Parkhurst

Trailhead Directions Parkhurst WhistlerThere are several ways to get to Parkhurst, but the access from the Wedgemount Lake turnoff on the Sea to Sky Highway is the most direct if arriving on foot or bike.  If you zero your odometer at Village Gate Blvd in Whistler Village and drive north on Highway 99, at 11.9 kilometres you will see the Wedgemount (Garibaldi) turnoff on your right.  Turn here, cross the train tracks and then the bridge over Green River, turn right and follow the gravel road for a few hundred metres.  You will pass Whistler Paintball on your left and then see a yellow gate and a sign for the Sea to Sky Trail.  Park on the clearing across from the yellow gate and walk straight ahead along the old gravel road, passing the yellow gate, road and Sea to Sky Trail on your left. Biking or hiking the 10 kilometres to Parkhurst from Whistler Village is a very nice option as well.  Biking from Whistler Village to Parkhurst takes only about 20-30 minutes and follows the beautiful Sea to Sky Trail up around Green Lake.  Hiking to Parkhurst from the Village will take the average hiker 2-3 hours each way.

Parkhurst Whistler Directions Map v5

 More Information, Maps & Images of Parkhurst Ghost Town

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Glossary

 Ablation Zone WhistlerAblation Zone  Accumulation Zone WhistlerAccumulation Zone  Adit Lakes WhistlerAdit Lakes  Aiguille Whistler & Garibaldi ParkAiguille  Alpine Zone Whistler & Garibaldi ParkAlpine Zone  ArborlithArborlith/Lithophyte  Arete Whistler & Garibaldi ParkArête  A River Runs Through It WhistlerARRTI  Armchair Glacier, Garibaldi Park, WhistlerArmchair Glacier  The Barrier in Garibaldi ParkThe Barrier  Battleship Islands in Garibaldi LakeBattleship Islands  Bears in Whistler & Garibaldi ParkBears  Bench Geology WhistlerBench  Bergschrund or SchrundBergschrund  BivouacBivouac  Blue FaceBlue Face  Whistler Bungee BridgeBungee Bridge  Bushwhacking in WhistlerBushwhack  Whistler CairnsCairn/Inuksuk  Neal CarterCarter, Neal  Parkhurst CaterpillarParkhurst Cat  Parkhurst Caterpillar RD8Parkhurst RD8  Garibaldi Park WhistlerChimney  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCirque  Parkhurst CletracParkhurst Cletrac  Cloudraker SkybridgeCloudraker  Douglas FirCoast Douglas-fir  Coast MountainsCoast Mountains  ColCol  Columnar JointingColumnar Jointing  CordilleranCordilleran  CorniceCornice  Corrie LakeCorrie Lake  CrevasseCrevasse  Alec DalgleishDalgleish, Alec  Deadfall in WhistlerDeadfall  Emerald Park in WhistlerEmerald Forest  Erratics in Garibaldi Park and WhistlerErratic  The Fissile in Garibaldi Park, WhistlerThe Fissile  Fitzsimmons Creek in WhistlerFitzsimmons Creek  Fitzsimmons Range, WhistlerFitzsimmons Range  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFyles, Tom  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGaribaldi Ranges  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGaribaldi Volcanic Belt  Gemel - Whistler A to ZGemel  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGlacier Window  Green Lake in WhistlerGreen Lake  Green Lake LoopGreen Lake Loop  Hoary Marmots in WhistlerHoary Marmot  Garibaldi Park WhistlerKrummholz  Lodgepole Pine Trees WhistlerLodgepole Pine  Glacier Moraines in Garibaldi Park WhistlerMoraine  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMt Garibaldi  Mount James Turner in Garibaldi Park, WhistlerMt James Turner  Mountain Hemlock Garibaldi Park WhistlerMountain Hemlock  Northair Mine in WhistlerNorthair Mine  North Arm FarmNorth Arm Farm  Nunatuks in Whistler and Garibaldi ParkNunatuk  Nurse Stump or Log in WhistlerNurse Stump  Overlord Mountain and GlacierOverlord  Pacific Yew, WhistlerPacific Yew  Paper Birch, WhistlerPaper Birch  Parkhurst RidgeParkhurst Ridge  Parkhurst SawmillParkhurst Sawmill  Parkhurst WyeParkhurst Wye  Peak 2 Peak GondolaPeak 2 Peak  Parkhurst Plow TreePlow Tree  Rainbow Lodge, WhistlerRainbow Lodge  Garibaldi Park WhistlerRoundhouse  Garibaldi Park WhistlerRubble Creek  Garibaldi Park WhistlerScree  Garibaldi Park WhistlerSpearhead Range  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Table  Garibaldi Park WhistlerTarn  Charles TownsendTownsend, Charles  Usnea or Old Man's BeardUsnea  Waterbar or Cross DitchWaterbar  Wedge Creek in WhistlerWedge Creek  Western Hemlock Trees in WhistlerWestern Hemlock  Western RedcedarWestern Redcedar  Whistler SpruceWhistler Spruce  Mills Winram Whistler Coast Mountains MountaineerWinram, Mills 

Hiking Gear Rental Whistler and Garibaldi Park

Whistler & Garibaldi Park 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

  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember 

Taylor Meadows is a very scenic campsite and great alternative to the much busier and more well known, Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in Garibaldi Provincial Park between Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk, ...
Read more
Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the drive to or from Whistler, and arguably the nicest of Whistler’s numerous beautiful waterfalls.  Located about halfway between Squamish and Whistler, the ...
Read more
Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the ...
Read more
The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverley ...
Read more