Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: RoundhouseThe Roundhouse Lodge is the centre of activity on much of Whistler Mountain.  It is where the Whistler Gondola drops off and next to where the Peak 2 Peak Gondola crosses to Blackcomb Mountain.  Restaurants, patios, gift shops and even the fantastic Umbrella Bar perched at the edge of the newly expanded outdoor patio with incredible mountain views.

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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If you arrive at the Roundhouse Lodge via the Whistler Gondola, you can enter it without going outside.  On the main level you see the large staircase on your left that takes you up to the restaurants and patios.  Past the stairs you see a gift store and on the left are the washrooms.  Another gift store is on this floor near the main entrance that takes you outside with an immediately striking view of the Peak Express Chair rising up to the summit of Whistler Mountain.  At the summit, the new Cloudraker Skybridge is easily visible spanning the large gap above Whistler Bowl.  From where you are standing, outside the front steps of the Roundhouse Lodge, you can walk to the Peak Express Chair in 5 minutes.  Or start hiking the easy hiking trails that descend off to the left just beyond the Peak 2 Peak Gondola building.  Or you can hike up the fairly exhausting, but beautiful Pika's Traverse and Mathews' Traverse for an hour to the summit of Whistler Mountain.  Another option is to cross over to Blackcomb Mountain via the amazing Peak 2 Peak Gondola.  On Blackcomb Mountain you have similarly good hiking trails, gift stores, restaurants and patios.  When you finish on Blackcomb Mountain, you can return to Whistler Mountain on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola again or ride down on the new Blackcomb Gondola.

The Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain

The Roundhouse Lodge gets its name from the original building that stood about where the new Umbrella Bar sits today.  Back in 1966 a round shaped building was built with a big fireplace at the centre.  A simple building designed mainly for skiers to warm their feet and relax.  There were not even washrooms, electricity or running water in the first Roundhouse incarnation.  In the years that followed additions and improvements were added.  A lower floor was installed and running water was piped in, allowing for toilets and a kitchen.  Inevitably, with Whistler’s massive growth in popularity, the original Roundhouse was completely redesigned and replaced.  In 1998 the huge, very functional, and very not round, Roundhouse reopened.  For a beautiful history of the Roundhouse Lodge and Whistler check out the wonderful Whistler Museum.  This photo below is from their excellent blog.

The Original Roundhouse Lodge

Whistler Mountain has a dozen named hiking trails that range from extremely easy and short to very challenging and long.  All of them are pretty beautiful on their own, however all of them tend to be combined with others into routes, depending on what hikers are after and how much time and effort they want to put in.  Another factor is the time of year and snowpack.  In May and much of June, for example, you won’t have the Peak Express Chair running and almost every trail will be still buried in snow.

Roundhouse Lodge Whistler Mountain

If you are short on time and want to get to the obvious highlights, you will ride the Whistler Gondola to the Roundhouse Lodge, ride the Peak Express Chair to the summit of Whistler Mountain, see the Cloudraker Skybridge and Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk, inuksuk, Interpretive Walk, then ride back down to Whistler Village.  If you are wanting more of a hike, you will not return via the Peak Express Chair, but instead hike the Half Note trail and check out the snow wall on Mathews’ Traverse.  This route takes only a couple hours, but takes in a tremendous variety of sights and endless viewpoints.

Whistler Mountain Russet Lake Map v20

For a more challenging and longer hike, the High Note trail is about a five hour trek that covers much of the Half Note trail and continues along the ridge toward the Musical Bumps.  The trail then bends back through the beautifully lush, green valley in the shadow of Whistler Mountain, past lakes and through rocky terrain to arrive at the Roundhouse Lodge.  If you are after a full day or overnight hike, then you can continue the High Note trail onto the Musical Bumps trail deep into Garibaldi Provincial Park.  This trail takes you to Russet Lake, a hidden feeling lake in the midst of a pretty spectacular setting.  At the foot of The Fissile, a stunning pyramid shaped, red mountain that Whistler Village was designed to allow for views of!

Roundhouse Lodge Whistler Mountain

Hiking Trails Near Roundhouse Lodge

The Spearhead Loop Trail is EasyThe Spearhead Loop trail is a short, very easy, 1.2 kilometre or .7 mile loop trail that begins just past the Peak 2 Peak Gondola building.  It descends down a gravel path to a snowmaking reservoir before looping back to where it started.  The last section from the reservoir to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola building there are three trail junctions.  The Harmony Lake Loop trail bends around the back of the reservoir and through a lovely alpine forest to Harmony Lake.  Another trail junction at Harmony Lake goes left to another loop trail section of the Harmony Lake Loop trail or continues past the lake to yet another trail junction to the High Note trail and the Musical Bumps trail.  Or you can take the trail to the right and follow the short, but challenging trail section of the Harmony Meadows trail back to the Spearhead Loop trail.  The third Spearhead Loop trail junction, just before reaching the Peak 2 Peak Gondola building, is the wide gravel road hiking route, Pika’s Traverse.  This long and continuously steep ascent takes you to the summit of Whistler Mountain along a very beautiful and constantly scenic route.

Whistler Hiking Map Short Trails

The Harmony Lake Loop Trail is EasyThe Harmony Lake Loop trail is another short, fairly easy loop trail, similar, to the Spearhead Loop trail, but deeper into the lush valley wilderness.  A bit longer than the Spearhead Loop trail at 1.9 kilometres or 1.2 miles, the Harmony Lake Loop trail is a continuation of the Spearhead Loop trail and both trails together can be hiked from and back to the Roundhouse in an hour or two.  The combined distance hiked is just over 3 kilometres or just under 2 miles.  With fairly gradual elevation change overall, the Harmony Lake Loop trail and the Spearhead Loop trail are the only really good hiking option if you are with very young kids.  There is a height/age restriction on the trail to the Peak Express Chair, so if you have kids under 5 years old, you won’t get on.  You can hike the beautiful Pika’s Traverse Road to the summit of Whistler, but it is quite a gruelling trek for very young kids.

Harmony Lake Loop Trail on Whistler Mountain

The Harmony Meadows Trail is steep but short, moderately challengingThe Harmony Meadows trail runs parallel to the Harmony Lake Loop trail and is a fair bit tougher than the previous two trails here.  It is a short trail, but very steep, winding and lots of loose rock to lose your footing on.  With the steep elevation change, you get beautiful cliff views over the Harmony Lake Loop trail, and the massive valley that separates Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  At 1.6 kilometres or 1 mile, the Harmony Meadows trail connects the High Note trail/Musical Bumps trail to the Harmony Lake Loop trail and/or the Spearhead Loop trail.  If you have hiked this area before, you may notice the adjusting and renaming trail sections.  The Harmony Meadows trail was previously part of the Musical Bumps trail, though it has been changed a bit and you will notice lots of zig-zags along the new route with "No Hiking" signs over the old, more direct sections.  It appears that the new trail configuration is not much different than the old, slightly different route, and seems to avoid a section that was buried in snow well into the summer.

Hoary Marmot on the Spearhead Loop Trail

If this is all sounding a bit confusing, don’t worry, there are quite good signs at each trail junction indicating where everything is.  There are the occasional mapboards to go with the very user friendly trail signs that point in the direction of each trail and even show the distance to the Roundhouse.  You can easily just wander through these trails and decide at each junction where you want to go.  All but a couple of the trails in this area return back to the Roundhouse Lodge.  Keep in mind that all these trails, Harmony Lake Loop, Harmony Meadows and the Spearhead Loop trails are relatively easy due to their comparatively short hiking distances, however all have steep sections with loose rock.  Baby strollers won't get far and if you are prone to losing your footing on irregular terrain, you should be aware.  Having said that, all these trails are pretty kid friendly and short enough to keep them interested.  The constantly zig-zagging, ascending and descending terrain is quite fun and very scenic.  Also, nearly all hikers in the area head straight toward the summit of Whistler Mountain and even on extremely busy, summer days, these trails remain quiet and largely forgotten!

Historical Books Related to Whistler

A Passion for MountainsSlumach's GoldIf you have been to Sloquet Hot Springs, you likely had no idea that you were in the midst of a century old mystery of a lost gold mine.  Several books have been written about it and the History Channel even made a six episode show called Curse of the Frozen Gold.  The show was quite entertaining with the characters exploring the mountains around Sloquet.  The hot springs even appeared in one episode as they searched nearby for the mysterious hidden vein of gold.  The excellent book, Slumach's Gold: In Search of A Legend lays out the history and theories in enticing detail.  The next time you find yourself lounging in Sloquet Hot Springs, you will inevitably glance around and wondering if you are sitting near the hidden gold mine.  A Passion for Mountains by Kathryn Bridge is a fascinating look at Don and Phyllis Munday's prolific exploration of the mountains in BC.  Based out of Vancouver, they were dominant figures of the climbing community in the early 1900's.  In 1923 they visited their friend Neal Carter in Alta Lake(Whistler) and explored the mountains around the valley.. many for the first time!

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May is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler.  The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens.  Whistler is fairly ...
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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

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The short, winding, and ever-changing hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is the same as the much more popular trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail, and the trail quickly ...
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