Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: BivouacBivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of natural materials found on site such as leaves and branches or simply sleeping under the stars.  Often used interchangeably with the word camp, however, bivouac implies a shorter, quicker and much more basic and naturally constructed camp setup.  

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  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow 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  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  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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For example, at the Taylor Meadows campground in Garibaldi Park, camping is the appropriately used term to describe sleeping there at night as you have constructed tent platforms and are using a tent.  If instead you plan to sleep on the summit of Black Tusk, bivouacking would be more accurately used to describe what you are doing as you are not using a tent.  In the warm summer months around Whistler you will find people bivouacking under the stars in various places with just a sleeping bag.  Pier bivouacking is the memorable experience of spending the night on one of Whistler’s many piers on lakes such as Alta Lake, Lost Lake, and Alpha Lake.  The wonderful, wooden tent platforms at Wedgemount Lake are also ideal places to bivouac under the stars.  Along the world renowned West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island you will find several very interesting places previous hikers have bivouacked.  From constructed driftwood shelters to idyllic, yet haunting caves, finding a refuge from the harsh west coast weather requires a lot of creativity.  Finding one is always interesting as you feel like you have stumbled upon a hidden world.  Whether in a dark, but inviting cave with a driftwood seats around the remnants of a campfire or a large, yet strangely cozy lean-to driftwood house with a million dollar view.  Entering one of these always fills you with a sense of wonder about who was here before you and curiosity makes you peer into every dark corner. 

Beach Cave Bivouac WCT

Bivouac West Coast Trail

Pier Bivouacking Whistler

Pier Bivouacking Whistler Alta Lake

Twentyone Mile Creek Bivouacking

For the most part bivouacking leaves no trace, but occasionally in Whistler you come across something more lasting.  In the deep, dark, hidden forest trail A River Runs Through It, between Emerald Forest and Rainbow Park you occasionally stumble upon interesting curiosities.  Just a few metres from the beautiful and winding Twentyone Mile Creek a large, fairly elaborate, yet nearly invisible lean to has been long abandoned.  Thin, but long trees, about four metres long lay against a cross beam between two big trees.  With the addition of a tarp over one side, you can imagine it being quite cozy as well as pretty big.  Just a few steps away you have the crashing creek flowing past and a nice, clean rocky shore to make a campfire.  A beautifully picturesque place to camp and an ancient, overgrown dirt road and various old and new trails lead in a few directions and out to civilization unexpectedly quickly. 

Twentyone Mile Creek Bivouac

Winter Bivouacking at Elfin Lakes

In the winter months in Whistler, bivouacking can take the form of a snow cave or quinzee.  People bivouacking in snow caves are pretty common around Whistler and in Garibaldi Park in the winter.  Outside the Eflin Lakes Hut in Garibaldi Park in the winter you will usually find several snow caves dug out of the snowbank outside the hut.  A quinzee is a low-tech version of an igloo that is made from a pile of loose snow.  The pile of snow is shaped into a round, igloo shaped dome, then the inside is dug out.  Because the snow is not terribly compacted on the inside it does not take a huge amount of effort or skill to make.  The name quinzee is a Canadian term for what other parts of the English speaking world would call a snow hut.

Snow Cave Elfin Lakes

Snow Cave Elfin Lakes

Books About Whistler Trees

Plants of the Whistler RegionYew Tree: A Thousand WhispersPlants of the Whistler Region is an excellent book that includes great pictures and descriptions of most trees you will find in Whistler. Small enough to fit in your pocket and comprehensive enough to identify most things you will encounter growing in the forests of Whistler. Along with conifer trees and broadleaf trees the book has chapters on flowers, berries, ferns and shrubs. You can find Plants of the Whistler Region on Amazon, the Whistler Library and at Armchair Books in Whistler Village. The author Collin Varner has a wonderful series of Plants of.. books on various regions beyond Whistler.  Plants of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Plants of the Gulf and San Juan Islands and Southern Vancouver Island, and Plants of the West Coast Trail.  Another great book that takes a specific look at a wonderful tree found in Whistler is The Yew Tree: A Thousand Whispers by Hal Hartzell.  About as comprehensive as a book on yew trees can be.  Culture, history, modern uses and specific to Whistler and Part 4 of the book specifically deals with the Pacific Yew.  From an extensive look at Native Americans use of the Pacific Yew to a more recent examination of this amazing tree.  If you have any interest in this extraordinary tree you will find it hard to put this wonderful book down.

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Along Whistler’s Valley Trail near Rainbow Park you come across some impressively unusual trees. Unlike most other Whistler trees with straight trunks and ...
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Tarn: a small alpine lake.  The word tarn originates from the Norse word tjorn which translates to English as pond.  In the United Kingdom, tarn is widely ...
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The Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain at a dizzying height of 436 metres(1427 feet).  It runs all winter and in the ...
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The pale green shub-like growths hanging from trees in the forests around Whistler is called usnea.  These bushy, coral-like fruticose lichens anchor to bark ...
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Nunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance in an otherwise barren landscape often makes them ...
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The rocky and narrow row of islands in Garibaldi Lake just offshore from the Garibaldi Lake campsite are known as Battleship Islands.  Named by the ...
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Western hemlock (tsuga heterophylla) is a large evergreen coniferous tree that is native to the west coast of North America. Unlike many other trees in ...
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Armchair Glacier is one of the many easily identifiable mountain features around Whistler.  Along with Wedge Mountain and Black Tusk, Armchair Glacier has a ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
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In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with overflowing patios and ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

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  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow 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  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

Jane Lakes are a very remote feeling set of lakes in the beautiful wilderness near Cheakamus Crossing.  Consisting of three lakes, West Jane Lake, East Jane Lake and Little Jane Lake, they have a great ...
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Skookumchuck Hot Springs(aka T'sek Hot Springs and St. Agnes Well), located two hours north of Whistler along the edge of the huge Lillooet River. The name Skookumchuck means "strong water" in the language ...
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Black Tusk is the extraordinarily iconic and appropriately named mountain that can be seen from almost everywhere in Whistler.  The massive black spire of crumbling rock juts out of the earth in an incredibly ...
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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 ...
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