Parkhurst Ghost Town Hike RatingWhistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as the most unusual and interesting. Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on the edge of Green Lake from the 1920's to 50's, way before Whistler was Whistler. Up on the ridge where Parkhurst sits, the views are sensational. Green Lake far below, glows green in a way that doesn't quite look real and has to be seen to be believed.

  • Several routes to get there
  • Interesting old relics everywhere
  • Many gorgeous places to camp
  • Seemingly endless network of trails
  • Famous Toad Hall house was here!
  • Stunning views of Green Lake
  • Many hidden places to explore
  • Relatively quiet place to hike
  • Easy access by boat
  • Confusing with few trail signs

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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From Parkhurst Ridge overlooking Green Lake you can see Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain to the left and Mount Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain directly across.  There are plenty of great aspects about Parkhurst Ghost Town such as the countless old relics from nearly a century ago, the massive network of trails through and around the town, and the incredible views of Green Lake from several locations.  You have emerald green forests, sunny hilltops, hidden waterfalls, clifftop viewpoints, and quite a lot more.  Also, Parkhurst is easily accessible by boat from the Green Lake boat launch just off the Sea to Sky Highway.  The famous Toad Hall skiers photo was taken in Parkhurst at the old Soo Valley logging camp at the north end of the lake.  Most visitors to Parkhurst miss nearly all the interesting sights in and around Parkhurst by sticking to the old Parkhurst Trail, Parkhurst Loop Trail and returning via the Green Lake Loop Trail/Sea to Sky Trail.  The Parkhurst Loop Trail is nice and takes you around the middle of the old town, but the Parkhurst Trail is a little boring and the Green Lake Loop/Sea to Sky Trail directly behind Parkhurst is a bit ugly and uninteresting.  The Sea to Sky Trail is only useful for Parkhurst if you are getting there by bike or hiking in from Lost Lake.  The section of the Green Lake Loop/Sea to Sky Trail from Lost Lake to Parkhurst is very nice, with beautiful views of Green Lake.  After Parkhurst the Green Lake Loop Trail/Sea to Sky Trail takes you into the trees, along gravel roads and under power lines.  The Parkhurst Ridge Trail that connects from the Parkhurst Trail is the best way to hike to Parkhurst and takes you up to some stunning views of Green Lake before connecting to the Parkhurst Loop Trail.  Returning via the Parkhurst Trail avoids the Sea to Sky Trail and makes it a partial loop trail, though you retrace your steps along some of the Parkhurst Trail to do it.

Parkhurst Whistler Map v13

Remnants of Parkhurst's Past

If you have a good wander around Parkhurst today, you can find remnants of its past almost everywhere you look.  From several old disintegrating trucks from the 40’s and 50's to the absurdly and improbably located car from the 70’s being consumed by the forest.  Along the shore of Green Lake, you will find a monstrous old Caterpillar tractor manufactured in 1939.  Abandoned here in the 1950’s, it looks as if the driver parked it one day and just never returned to work.  In fact that may have been the case as one day in 1956 the sawmill at Parkhurst shut down forever and the town was abandoned.

The Old Logging Town

For a logging town in the 1950's having everyone suddenly leave was not unusual and in the case of Parkhurst, when the sawmill shut down every winter, all the workers would leave to find work in Vancouver.  When Parkhurst was abandoned in 1956 the big Caterpillar tractor was probably simply parked at the edge of Green Lake with the expectation that it would be retrieved later.  Maybe it was too expensive or difficult to transport it from the far side of Green Lake.  Or maybe it sat unmoved for so long that it became unmovable.  Now, decades later it is a bold landmark overlooking Green Lake and a permanent marker, if arriving by boat, to Parkhurst Ghost Town.

Parkhurst Caterpillar D8 Built in 1939 and Abandoned Here in 1956

Parkhurst Ghost Town Caterpillar

Bushwhacking to the Parkhurst Sawmill Site

Adjacent to the huge Caterpillar tractor is a large disintegrating wooden dock that is a great place to take in the wonderful view of Green Lake.  From the dock if you look directly to the right you will see a large triangle of deep forest jutting out into the lake.  This is where the Parkhurst Sawmill once operated for thirty years.  Looking at the almost impenetrable forest now, it is hard to picture this area without trees and with train tracks extending into a large building housing the sawmill with an enormous steel chimney several dozen metres tall.  A little bushwhacking takes you to the huge, old chimney now laying on the ground in several huge pieces.  You can even locate the solid steel base of the chimney in the midst of a large bewildering clearing devoid of trees.  It takes a little investigating to realize that under about a foot of grass, moss and other forest growth you are standing on massive sheets of thick metal that once was the roof of the old sawmill.  For decades this would have been the loudest and busiest place in the area, now it is a wonderful oasis cut off from the world by the 65-year-old forest that surrounds it. 

Camping on the Old Parkhurst Sawmill Site

Parkhurst Ghost Town Sawmill

Hidden Cletrac Tractor at Parkhurst

Wandering into the jungle surrounding the clearing you can’t help noticing some very big trees.  Two trees about 50 metres tall, appear to be fused together at their base.  Called gemels, trees that merge together are not rare, but unusual enough to make you take a closer look.  This gemel conceals something extraordinary that may have caused the two trees to become one a long time ago.  About a metre directly in front of this tree a strange old metal pipe emerges from the ground.  It is noticeably angled toward the middle of the tree, though deep underground.  Circling around the tangle of forest surrounding the tree you find the source of the pipe.  Another huge, old logging tractor!  It appears as though it crashed into this huge tree and was abandoned.  Of course, the opposite is the case.  This hulking steel monster was simply left here, almost certainly in a wide open clearing in 1956 when the mill closed.  As the forest grew all around, two trees possibly hemmed together by solid steel machinery, fused together into one tree.  Laying deep within the base of this tree must be a considerable amount of iron.  This old Cletrac tractor model dates back to 1947.  Cletrac is another tractor brand similar to Caterpillar that were popular back in the day.  Abandoned here in 1956, it is now an impressive and unusual feature of Parkhurst Ghost Town.

Cletrac Tractor Abandoned in Parkhurst in 1956

Sawmill Cletrac Parkhurst

Hidden Wonders at Parkhurst

Parkhurst is a seemingly endless array of hidden wonders.  This is what makes it unlike every other place to hike in Whistler.  Other hikes have nice trails and interesting things to see such as lake views, mountain views, big trees and waterfalls.  Parkhurst has all of these and no matter how many times you go there you will find something new.  Another hidden trail to a sunny hilltop with a stunning view of Green Lake.  Or an old forgotten trail along a crashing creek that starts off very scenic and leads to areas that make you gasp in amazement.  Or another trail that disappears into a dark forest with some sort of sprawling logging machinery that is so consumed by the forest you can’t tell what it used to be.  With the forest so dark and deep in much of Parkhurst you often don’t see an overturned 1940’s van or mangled truck until you are just a few metres away.  Which makes you wonder how much of Parkhurst you haven’t found.

Abandoned Van Wreck in Parkhurst Ghost Town

Railside Forest Van Parkhurst

A Third Parkhurst Ghost Town Tractor

Most people visiting Parkhurst have seen the menacingly beautiful Caterpillar tractor at the shore of Green Lake but never encounter the well-hidden Cletrac tractor in the old sawmill forest mentioned above.  There is also a third Parkhurst tractor, very well hidden in the forest just a few metres from the train tracks, yet impossible to see until you are standing right next to it.  Of the three tractors in Parkhurst, this one is the most captivating because its huge plow is being lifted by the trees growing around and under it.  The solid metal plow that must weigh four thousand kilograms is slowly rising off the forest floor due to the relentless growth of trees underneath.  It is a remarkable sight to see a tremendously heavy piece of machinery being lifted by the forest.

Caterpillar Plow Lifted by Forest in Parkhurst

Caterpillar Plow Lifting

Parkhurst Plow Tree

Just a few metres away is another extraordinary battle going on between yet another plow and the forest.  A similarly huge and heavy plow has a tree growing through a triangle shaped opening that appears to be well under half the diameter of the tree.  So this large, 67 year old tree has continued to grow out of this narrow triangle and still managed to grow to a considerable height.  Like many other sights in Parkhurst you find yourself staring in bewilderment at how completely the forest has consumed the old town and what else you might find in this remarkable place.

Tree Squeezing Through Plow Abandoned in 1956

Parkhurst Plow Tree

Who Owns Parkhurst Ghost Town?

So many things make Parkhurst Ghost Town such a great hiking destination.  Where it is located is fantastic as it is very close to Whistler Village, but feels very remote.  With no roads on the far side of Green Lake, access is restricted to trails and with the train tracks running through the old town, little has changed.  Aside from the power lines and logging activity nearby, Parkhurst has been left pretty much as it was.  The land that Parkhurst sits on was privately owned for years, but the train tracks and lack of road access must have made it unappealing to develop.  Most locals, if they thought about it at all, would have assumed Parkhurst sat on Crown Land.  So when Whistler purchased the land in 2017 it came as a surprise and to many a relief to learn that it now is in fact public land.  The long term plan for Parkhurst is to preserve some of the old relics similar to Rainbow Park.  At Rainbow Park you find some of the old cabins preserved as well as nice murals depicting the history of the park.  There seems to be no rush to develop the park and it has been untouched since 2017, and likely will remain so for years to come.  The aerial photo below roughly shows the land purchased by the Resort Municipality of Whistler in 2017.  The peninsula in the middle is where the various incarnations of sawmills at Parkhurst were located.  Most of the houses in Parkhurst were concentrated directly across the train tracks from the sawmill.  The small bay at the far left is where the famous skiers photo was taken in front of Toad Hall.

Parkhurst Land Purchased by RMOW in 2017

Parkhurst Land Purchased in 2017

Spider Web of Trails in Parkhurst

Another great aspect of Parkhurst is the spider web of trails that run throughout it and the remarkable feeling you get of finding a special place seemingly forgotten by the world.  From the beautiful meadow high above the train tracks, to the suddenly deep forest where you find yourself in a game of finding the next pink tree marker or risk wandering off the trail.  The trail markers are numerous, and though getting lost is easy, you can only stray a few metres before the river or steep terrain push you back onto the marked trail.  Often you will emerge from the forest to the train tracks and where moments before you had no idea where you were, you now see Green Lake, Whistler MountainMount Sproatt and realize you are exactly where you want to be.  Once up on the ridge above Green Lake where the centre of Parkhurst is located, the forest takes on a spooky feel.  Trees are spaced far apart and with branches only high up give the forest a strangely desolate look.  With the forest canopy a solid mass of merging treetops few shrubs grow and the ground is carpeted with a brilliant green moss.

Emerald Green Forest Floor in Parkhurst Ghost Town

Parkhurst Emerald Green Forest

Collapsed and Crushed Houses in Parkhurst

As recent as the 90's a few houses remained standing, but the merciless winters with crushing snow have collapsed all but one house and another tottering shed. There are also a couple of completely collapsed houses, but for the most part the town has disintegrated.  Unexpectedly, even in the deep snow of winter, stumbling on remnants of the old town are frequent.  Finding the abandoned vehicles in Parkhurst is like a game as you wander around the maze of trails.  The old rusty car, the even older trucks, and collapsed old houses at almost every turn.  Some of the old houses appear to have had more dramatic endings than simply collapsing under snow.  It is quite a sight to see as you walk through the deep forest of Parkhurst over a bright emerald green carpet of moss, to abruptly come to a vertical wall of mangled tree roots.  Where a faint trail through the forest once was now comes to a sudden end.  Peering over barrier of dirt, boulders and roots you see a huge tree extend quite some distance past the wrecked house it crushed.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Blowdown Tree Wall

Parkhurst Tree Wall

Parkhurst Ghost Town House Crushed by Deadfall

Parkhurst Fallen Tree

Parkhurst Trail Stats:

Driving There: 15 minutes north of Whistler Village(13 kilometres/8.1 miles)  Hiking Distance: 3.3 kilometres/2.1 miles, one way from the Wedge Creek trailhead to Parkhurst via Parkhurst Ridge TrailHiking Time: 50 minutes there, and 50 minutes back.  Start Elevation: 627 metres/2057 feet.  End Elevation: 698 metres/2290 feet.  Elevation Gain: 71 metres/233 feet.  Fees: None  Campsites: No  Camping Allowed: No  Difficulty: Moderate, mostly easy with some steep and winding terrain. Some trails are not well marked and tricky to follow.  Kid Friendly: Yes, short enough to be relaxing and plenty of fun things to see.  Stroller Friendly: No  Dog Friendly: Yes

Parkhurst Ghost Town Trails & Routes

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 some trail sections overlap.  For example, the Green Lake Loop Trail 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 Trail.  Also, half of the loop in the Green Lake Loop Trail 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 Trail(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 Trail.  Starting from Lost Lake near Whistler Village, you can hike or bike to Parkhurst along the Sea to Sky Trail/Green Lake Loop Trail 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 v14

Getting to Parkhurst by Boat

Canoe Icon WhistlerYou can also get to Parkhurst by water in a variety of ways.  Directly across from Parkhurst is Green Lake Park, a very small park off Lakeshore Drive with parking for about 5 cars, some picnic tables, washrooms and a small beach.  You can launch your boat from here and paddle across to Parkhurst in 2 minutes.  Alternatively, you can park and launch from the Green Lake pier a few hundred metres away at the end of Summer Lane.  This beautiful public pier is a bit more convenient if you have a big heavy canoe and only slightly further than from Green Lake Park.  Both of these launching areas are just off the Sea to Sky Highway.

Green Lake Pier and Boat Launch Across from Parkhurst

Green Lake Pier to Parkhurst

Parkhurst via the River of Golden Dreams

If you are really up for an adventure you can canoe the River of Golden Dreams to Parkhurst Ghost Town.  This amazing route will take you a couple hours to cover the 8.5 kilometre distance from the launch point at the end of Lorimer Road near Whistler Village and the end point at the Caterpillar tractor at Parkhurst.  Not only is this a beautiful and relaxing paddle through a wonderfully meandering river, but it gives you the opportunity to explore Green Lake.  Though much of the lake is bordered by train tracks and houses, the far end of the lake is very nice as it is surrounded by forest and short trails to cliffs.  There are two docks at Parkhurst, one big one next to the giant Caterpillar tractor and a little one further down the lake next to the train tracks near the cliffs along the Parkhurst Ridge Trail.

Parkhurst Dock on Green Lake

Parkhurst Ghost Town Dock

The Main Parkhurst Ghost Town Trailhead

As Parkhurst is located at the north end of Green Lake, most visitors to Parkhurst drive to the far end of Green Lake via the Wedgemount Lake turnoff from the Sea to Sky Highway, then drive the short logging road to the unmarked trailhead near the old bridge over Wedge Creek.  From here you have a few possible variations to get to and from Parkhurst.  The Parkhurst Trail, the Parkhurst Ridge Trail, the Green Lake Loop and the Sea to Sky Trail.  The Parkhurst Trail is the most direct trail to Parkhurst at just 2.6 kilometres.  It is mostly through deep forest and not terribly exciting.  The Parkhurst Ridge Trail is slightly longer at 3.3 kilometres, but considerably more scenic and interesting.  The views of Green Lake from the top of the ridge are fantastic and it is wide, flat and wonderfully secluded.

Parkhurst Ridge View of Green Lake

Parkhurst Ridge View

Green Lake Loop & Sea to Sky Trail

The Green Lake Loop Trail and the Sea to Sky Trail follow the same route to Parkhurst except for the first kilometre, where the Sea to Sky Trail follows a gravel road whereas the Green Lake Loop Trail ascends through a nice forest adjacent to Wedge Creek.  Both of these routes to Parkhurst Ghost Town are roughly the same distance at 3.1 kilometres and are a little uninteresting.  The Sea to Sky Trail is good if you are biking in as it is a wide, multi-use trail designed for easy biking and hiking.

Sea to Sky Green Lake Loop

Parkhurst Ghost Town Regions Map

Parkhurst Regions MapParkhurst Ghost Town encompasses quite a large area with several very distinct regions numbered 1 to 15 on the map shown here.  The regions are defined by proximity to trails, train tracks, creeks, Green Lake, Green River as well as topography.  The first area you will encounter after you cross the disintegrating bridge over Wedge Creek is the wye.  In railroad terminology a wye is the large train tracks turnaround area which traces a large triangle shape and allows trains to exit the main train tracks and turnaround (1). 

Parkhurst Ghost Town Regions Map v4

The Parkhurst Wye

The wye area is not particularly nice and is just the quickest way to get to the Parkhurst/Green Lake Loop entrance into the forest.  The best thing about the wye is the beautiful mountain views you get on a sunny day.  When hiking towards Parkhurst you get a nice view of Rainbow Mountain in the distance, while on your hike back to the trailhead you see Mount Cook, Armchair Glacier and Wedge Mountain directly ahead.  In the middle of winter when the sun is is low in the sky, the wye is the only part of this hike you will get lots of sun. 

Zoomed in View of Armchair from Parkhurst Wye

Armchair Glacier Parkhurst Wye View

Parkhurst Trail aka Green Lake Loop Trail

Opposite the main tracks from here you have quite a deep, dark forest running along Green River (2).  Here you will find a few signs of the old Parkhurst as well as a well-defined, though very overgrown dirt road.  Hiking and sometimes bushwhacking through this forest eventually squeezes you between Green River and the train tracks and you emerge near where the Parkhurst/Green Lake Loop Trail enters the forest.  Following the Parkhurst/Green Lake Loop Trail, you will see the inviting forest on your left ascend fairly steeply up into the distance (3).  A few trails lead up into the nice hilltop area that seems to go on forever.  It is nice up there as the trees thin out and you get a lot of sun and some great views.  Also, this large hilltop wilderness is very rarely visited and is an excellent place to set up camp for the night along one of many grassy plateaus.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Hill Tent

The Old Road Through Parkhurst

On the other side of Parkhurst Trail and across the train tracks is another deeply forested area extending to Green River and the end of Green Lake (4).  This forgotten corner of Parkhurst is where you will stumble upon several interesting remnants of the old logging town.  Some big steel logging machinery lays in the forest here like dinosaur skeletons.  A couple old 1950’s trucks, an overturned van from the same era and some huge abandoned train fuel tanks.  Several stacks of cut lumber lay along rows in the dark forest alongside the overgrown gravel road that runs roughly parallel to Green River.  The road abruptly ends where Green River meets Green Lake.  Looking across Green River you can see the remains of a log bridge that once spanned the river here.  On the opposite shore you can still see the road continue through the forest and bend left, up to almost merge with the Sea to Sky Highway.  This old dirt road hasn't been used in decades and is very overgrown.  Where it bends left was the old site of Toad Hall, the famous photo from the early 1970's of the skiers wearing only ski boots.  A century ago, old maps show this road and bridge was the only route through the area.

1923 Map Green Lake

The Parkhurst Ridge Trail which extends off the Parkhurst Trail takes you high up into the rocky hills crisscrossed with deadfall. The well marked, though meandering trail takes you under and over dozens of fallen trees and ascends quickly up to a series of beautiful hilltops.  Surrounded by deep forest all around, these hilltops are gorgeous on a sunny day and remarkably serene.  Few hikers seem to veer off the Parkhurst Trail and venture up into this tranquil place (4).

Ridge Trail Hilltop Camp in Parkhurst

The Parkhurst Ridge Trail descends quickly down the rocky hills and into an emerald forest along the shore of Green Lake (5).  Though you are in a deep, dark forest the brilliant green colour of Green Lake can be seen between the tree trunks.  Winding through the forest you ascend up the ridge and through a strangely beautiful tangle of fallen trees, hilariously winding trail up and around rocky outcrops and frequent glimpses of Green Lake.

The terrain is strangely arid along the ridge and you have a choice between hiking the nice route back from the lake or the more adventurous and scenic route along the edge of the cliffs.  Along the cliffs you don't have much worry about falling off as you never get too close to the edge, but you do pass under several very large, fallen trees that look ready to collapse onto you at any moment.  The ridge is such a mess of mangled dead trees and hardy krummholz that you can't help but find it really fun to hike through.  Also, it doesn't hurt that around every bend you get another stunning view of Green Lake.

Parkhurst Ridge Trail 8

Parkhurst Ridge Trail Viewpoint

From the ridge viewpoint the Parkhurst Ridge Trail then descends down to the train tracks and heads back up into the forest and further along Parkhurst Ridge (6) to the Parkhurst Loop Trail (7).  More great views of Green Lake on your right and yet another emerald forest on your left.

Parkhurst Ridge Emerald Forest

The Parkhurst Loop Trail is a roughly triangular shaped trail that runs though the centre of the old ghost town.  Only one fully intact house remains and because of the haunting mural painted on it by Kups in 2011, has been known ever since as the Blue Face House

Blue Face House by Kups

The Parkhurst Loop Trail has a couple side trails that lead you to the train tracks and shore of Green Lake.  The huge Parkhurst Caterpillar can be found menacingly perched on the shore here (8).  Parked here permanently almost 70 years ago, this huge log mover is now a permanent feature of Parkhurst and very interesting to see up close.  It marks the forest entrance to Parkhurst if you are arriving by boat.

Parkhurst Whistler Caterpillar

If you don’t mind a bit of bushwhacking you can find your way into the point of land that juts out into Green Lake and was the site of the Parkhurst Sawmill (9).  Here you will find another Caterpillar tractor being consumed by the forest.  This one is being lifted off the forest floor by the relentless growth of trees.  If you look at the huge, solid steel plow you will see it is suspended off the ground by several powerful trees.

Parkhurst Caterpillar Plow

Next to this Caterpillar is another wonderfully strange interaction between a plow and the forest.  Another huge, steel plow lays in the forest and the forest has grown through it.  One tree has managed to push its way through a triangle opening and grow into a fairly large tree, despite being forced through a narrow opening near the ground.

Parkhurst Plow Tree 26

Bushwhacking further into the forest you will find the abandoned Cletrac tractor and plenty of remnants of the old sawmill.  The metal roof of the sawmill lays hidden under the forest floor, though reveals its presence by preventing large trees to grow.  This accounts for the large, tree-free area within the otherwise deep forest.

Sawmill Tent 24 Parkhurst

If you can manage to bushwhack your way out of the old sawmill site and follow the shore of Green Lake for a few dozen metres you will come to a nice mossy clearing in the forest (10).  A few cement foundations indicate that the sawmill extended along the lake and old pictures show that this was a raised platform next to the train tracks for loading and unloading.

Sawmill 7 Parkhurst Ghost Town

Back up past the Parkhurst Loop Trail is the old Parkhurst Trail (11).  This is the trail most hikers use to get to and from Parkhurst.  It is a nice trail that winds through the deep forest but is a much less scenic alternative to the Parkhurst Ridge Trail.

The Parkhurst Trail

Back around the back side of Parkhurst the Sea to Sky Trail/Green Lake Loop extend around to the Parkhurst trailhead.  Here you will find two very nice trails that are very rarely hiked, the Wedge Falls Trail (12) and the Green Lake Loop Trail (14).  The Green Lake Loop Trail is well travelled along the route it shares with the Sea to Sky Trail, though the small section that runs through the forest along Wedge Creek (14) is almost entirely forgotten.  The small unmarked trailhead is found on your left just 30 metres after you cross the crumbling Wedge Creek bridge.

Wedge Creek Bridge 6

This very nice, winding trail through a nice old forest with some good views of Wedge Creek.  It ascends up along Wedge Creek for about 1 kilometre before it merges with the Sea to Sky Trail.  If you turn left where the trails merge and follow the sound of crashing water you will come to a bridge with a great view of Wedge Creek Falls.

Wedge Creek Falls 22

A faint trail ascends up the right side of Wedge Creek and is immediately beautiful.  Various rock shelves jut out over the crashing, emerald water.  There is always quite a dramatic log jam making the falls an impressive sight.  As you skirt the cliffs up Wedge Creek the crashing water rushes in a wildly zigzagging way below.

Wedge Falls Trail

The trees are fairly well marked with flagging tape which makes hiking along this route fairly easy to follow.  It is not a defined hiking trail, but rather a winter route for skiers coming down from Wedge Mountain.  In the winter you might be able to cross the creek and follow the marked route that continued across Wedge Creek to link up with the Young Lust Trail (13) and circle back down to the Parkhurst trailhead or continue up Young Lust to where it connects to Comfortably Numb.  Comfortably Numb is a 25 kilometre bike trail that snakes through the forest well above Parkhurst and extends to Lost Lake.

Beautiful Wedge Creek Near Parkhurst

One area of Parkhurst that is almost completely forgotten is possibly the most well known.  The famous naked skiers picture taken in front of Toad Hall in the early 1970’s was taken in the grassy field at the end of Green Lake (15).  Back in 1973 this now empty field was home to several abandoned work houses, previously occupied by Soo Valley Logging Company workers.  The area was taken over by ski bums for a couple years and the famous photo was taken shortly before the houses were destroyed.  Because the old Soo Valley Logging houses are long gone the area is just a nice, sunny area in a quiet corner of Whistler.

This piece of land was part of the Parkhurst lands purchased by Whistler in 2017.  You can’t hike there from the Parkhurst side as Green River is too wide and fast, but paddling there by boat is easy enough from the Green Lake boat launch.  You can also park along the side of the highway just past the Cougar Mountain turnoff.  The old access road to the Soo Valley logging camp is no longer used and overgrown, but you can spot it easily from the highway by the big yellow gate blocking it.  If there is snow on the highway you will have to park elsewhere and walk in.  The turnoff to Cougar Mountain is not far, has lots of room to park, and just a 5 minute walk away.

Toad Hall Parkhurst 6

Most hikers heading to Parkhurst follow the most obvious, though least scenic circle route along the train tracks to the main Parkhurst trail through Parkhurst then back via the Sea to Sky Trail.  This circle route is 5.5 kilometres long plus another kilometre or two through Parkhurst.  It is the least scenic as it completely misses the Parkhurst Ridge Trail that takes you over some fun and varied hilly terrain that leads to the beautiful ridge viewpoint.  Up on the cliffs high above Green Lake you get a tremendous view down the lake and Whistler Mountain towering in the distance.  The Parkhurst Ridge Trail then continues down to the train tracks for a few metres then crosses into the forest and ascends quickly into the emerald forest that lays at the centre of Parkhurst.

Parkhurst Trail & Ridge Trail

Parkhurst Ridge Trail IconThe trailhead and parking area to Parkhurst Ghost Town are unmarked but easy to find.  From Village Gate Boulevard in Whistler Village you drive north on Hwy 99 for 11.9 kilometres and turn right at the sign for Wedgemount Lake, cross the bridge over Green River.  Turn right and follow the gravel road on the right for just over 1 kilometre.  You will come to the end of the road with a colourful barricade.  This is the unmarked trailhead for Parkhurst.  There is plenty of room to park just back from the barricade on the right.  You occasionally see a van or two here car camping, but there is room for several cars to park.  The yellow gate on the left is actually the Sea to Sky Trail, though the trail sign is missing.  The yellow gate on the right is often open and runs parallel to the Sea to Sky Trail for a few hundred metres then merges with it before the bridge below Wedge Creek Falls.  This road is a maintenance access road and the yellow get may be locked at any time though you do see people drive up there occasionally.

Parkhurst Trailhead Parking

The Parkhurst Trail starts at the colourful barricade and into the forest.  Almost immediately you come to the old, crumbling vehicle bridge over Wedge Creek.  Across the bridge on your left you will see an old picnic table and fire ring next to Wedge Creek.  Just a couple dozen metres further along the main trail and you will pass an unmarked trail on your left.  This is the Green Lake Loop Trail and is a beautiful trail that takes you through the nice forest here parallel to Wedge Creek and merges with the Sea to Sky Trail near Wedge Creek Falls.  As continue past the Green Lake Loop Trail you will emerge from the forest and into the wide open area with the train tracks turn around area.  Cross the tracks that bend to the left and continue walking parallel to the main tracks on your right.

Parkhurst Trail Wye Section

After about 400 metres, just past where the train tracks merge again you will see the Parkhurst Trail on your left and a small Green Lake Loop/Parkhurst Trail sign.  Follow this trail into the deep, dark forest.  After about 500 metres along this very straight trail you will come to an abrupt fork in the trail.  The left fork is where the Parkhurst Trail continues for 1 kilometre to connect with the Parkhurst Loop Trail.  This section of trail is not terribly exciting and not nearly as nice at the Parkhurst Ridge Trail which is found by taking the right fork.

Parkhurst Trail Fork

The right fork takes you immediately down to the train tracks.  Bear left onto the train tracks and in about 100 metres you will see a marshy area on your left and the train track bend to the right further ahead.  On your right you will see a faint trail ascend up the rock cliff.  This is the Parkhurst Ridge Trail.

Parkhurst Ridge Trail Entrance

The rock slope flattens and you will find yourself on a ridge above the train tracks.  The Parkhurst Ridge Trail is very well marked with tree ribbons and lots of deadfall trees that fell across the trail and have been chainsawed out of the way.  This trail zigzags constantly as it ascends through the hostile, yet strangely beautiful, rocky terrain with fallen trees everywhere.  You will get a workout for the next 600 metres as you wind through the forest, in and out of gullies.

Parkhurst Ridge Trail Deadfall

Despite the numerous trail markers, it is easy to lose the trail momentarily, however you always have a good sense of where Green Lake is ahead from occasional gaps in the trees.  This trail is magnificent on a sunny day as the trees are sparse and you catch some great views of Whistler and Blackcomb framed by trees.  There are several beautiful hilltops to sit down and take a breather as well as plenty of amazing grassy areas to put up a tent.

Parkhurst Ridge Trail Tent

The Parkhurst Ridge Trail ascends up, snaking in and around some rocky hills before abruptly ascending down into the deep, dark emerald forest next to Green Lake.  You should see a faint trail veer off to the left running parallel with Green Lake on your right.  Follow this beautiful trail for a couple hundred metres and it snakes through the forest and rocky outcrops.  There are a couple faint trails here, but don’t worry about getting lost as long as you keep Green Lake on your right you will ascend up to the amazing viewpoint at the top of Parkhurst Ridge.

Parkhurst Ridge Trail Sunrise

Parkhurst Ridge is an incredible spot for a lot of reasons.  Of course, the view is spectacular.  Absurdly vivid green coloured water.  Snowy mountains all around.  Wonderfully varied clifftop terrain with easily accessible cliff plateaus leading like giant steps down to the water.  The forest on the ridge is sparse enough to be always sunny, but with plenty of trees to make it feel secluded.

Parkhurst Ridge Trail Camp 8

The trees on the ridge are quite impressive as well.  Many absurdly hardy and contorted lodgepole pines grow in bizarre ways.  Bent over from harsh winters they have a strange beauty in their hardy, weather battered forms.  One particular lodgepole pine on the ridge, judging by its trunk diameter must be over 50 years old, but stands only a couple metres tall.  Next to this extraordinary krummholz tree is an absolutely incredible place to camp.  A flat, mossy clearing at the edge of the cliff, surrounded by trees but plenty of views of Green Lake.  Just a couple metres away is the flat clifftop overlooking Green Lake with the sturdy, old picnic table nestled against the trees.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Ridge View

The Parkhurst Ridge Trail continues down from here and emerges at the train tracks.  If you cross the tracks and walk for a couple minutes keeping Green Lake on your right you will see a tiny wooden hut on your left.  This is an old crumbling relic that used to store supplies for maintaining the railroad.  Next to this little house you will see the continuation of the Parkhurst Ridge Trail.

Railway Hut to Parkhurst

It quickly ascends up along the ridge for about 500 metres and into a beautiful emerald forest overlooking Green Lake.  Here you will start to see signs of the old ghost town.  Old cans and bottles and further along a few flattened houses.  Wandering through this beautiful forest carpeted with bright green moss.  Faint trails zigzag through the trees and lead to the well-defined Parkhurst Loop Trail.  This triangle shaped trail runs throughout the old town tracing a route that was once a dirt road.  The old road then extends directly out of the town, opposite to Green Lake and connects to the Green Lake Loop trail and the Sea to Sky Trail that run parallel to the lake all the way to Lost Lake and Whistler Village.

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

There are just two houses left standing in Parkhurst and both are found near where the Parkhurst Ridge Trail meets the Parkhurst Loop Trail.  The Ghost Shack is a small, hilariously leaning one room house that looks ready to fall over at any moment.  It is pretty solidly put together though as it has been leaning over like this for at least a decade now.  The floor has long disintegrated and its slope seems to be from one side sinking into the dirt or at least rotting from the bottom up.  One side, on the outside you will see painted, “Ghost Shack”, and further along the side, “I’d be there to dry each tear”.

Parkhurst Ghost Shack

Not far from the Ghost Shack is the much sturdier Blue Face House.  Back in 2011 Kups, a Whistler local and now professional muralist painted a hauntingly beautiful, 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.

Kups Blue Face Parkhurst

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.

2021 Parkhurst Whistler Murals

There is even a cute little chimney poking out of the room, though of course the stove is long gone.  There was an old rickety metal bed frame covered with a foam mattress, but now that is mangled across the floor.  There was some mention by the Resort Municipality of Whistler when they purchased this land in 2017 to restore this old house.  The long term plan is to make Parkhurst into a park somewhat similar to Rainbow Park in that surviving relics would be cleaned up and interpretive murals set up on front of them.  One tricky feature of Parkhurst that stands in the way of any development is the train tracks running through.  Developing Parkhurst into a park would encourage visitors to an area with multiple railroad crossings and an access bridge that is disintegrating.

Sea to Sky Trail to Parkhurst

Sea to Sky Trail Hiking to ParkhurstSea to Sky Trail Biking to ParkhurstThe Sea to Sky Trail is an excellent way to bike or hike to Parkhurst from Whistler Village.  If you start from Lost Lake the trail is 6.3 kilometres long and ascends through the forest behind Lost Lake and up around the back side of Green Lake.  High up above Green Lake you get incredible views over the lake and snowy mountains beyond.  The back side of Green Lake is comparatively quiet and most of the time you are passing through beautiful forest and along scenic rocky hilltops.  The Sea to Sky Trail was just constructed a few years ago and mostly overlaps existing trails which is why you often see other trail names along the route. 

Green Lake Sea to Sky Trail View

The Sea to Sky Trail passes through Whistler Village and overlaps the Valley Trail where it starts at Blackcomb Way.  The Valley Trail/Sea to Sky Trail passes between Lot 1 and Lot 2 then turns left before crossing Fitzsimmons Creek.  With Fitzsimmons Creek on the right and the parking lots on the left the trail continues past the bike park and the skateboard park then passes under Lorimer Road.  From here you have a couple routes to get to Lost Lake, the main Lost Lake Trail or the Bridge Meadow Trail which runs roughly parallel with Blackcomb Way.

Lost Lake Pier in Whistler

At Lost Lake next to the main beach, you will see the trailhead sign for the Sea to Sky Trail next to the washrooms.  The Sea to Sky Trail/Molly Hogan Trail then ascends up into the forest around Lost Lake and at 2.7 kilometres you pass the wonderful Green Lake viewpoint.  The Sea to Sky Trail then continues up the back side of Green Lake, ascending a few hills and numerous gorgeous views.  2.9 kilometres from the Green Lake viewpoint you will see a small sign on your left for Parkhurst.  This short trail takes you down to the Parkhurst Loop Trail and into Parkhurst Ghost Town.  From Lost Lake the distance is 6.3 kilometres.  Whistler Village to Lost Lake adds another 2.5 kilometres to the journey.

Parkhurst Ghost Town by Boat

Parkhurst by BoatGetting to Parkhurst by boat is a great option if you have the opportunity.  You can canoe or kayak down the beautiful River of Golden Dreams by starting at the end of Lorimer Road.  This meandering river is slow moving and you often see a beaver or a bear, and often both while making your way to Green Lake.  Once at Green Lake you have to paddle the length of it with the slight current at your back to help you along.  Look for the enormous Caterpillar tractor perched on the edge of the lake and park your boat there and follow the short trail up to Parkhurst.

Parkhurst Ghost Town by Boat

Alternatively, you can use the Green Lake boat launch just across from Parkhurst. There is room for parking near the dock/boat launch and it is just a short 7.7 kilometre drive from Whistler Village.  From the Green Lake boat launch to Parkhurst via canoe is just a few hundred metres or about 5 minutes.  Finding this well hidden boat launch is actually very easy.  Just drive north from Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway for 7.5 kilometres.  Turn right onto Summer Lane, then immediately left and follow it straight to the dock.  You can park about 5 metres from the pier and boat launch.  Yet another way to reach Parkhurst by boat is via Green Lake Park. If you back up from the boat launch area and back onto the paved Summer Lane follow it as it bends towards the lake, take the next right and you will see the Green Lake Park sign and room for about four cars to park.

Parkhurst By Boat Map v3

This is a cute little park with picnic tables and park benches looking out to the lake.  The tractor is just 350 metres from the beach here.  If the water wasn't bitter cold, year-round you might want to swim across, it's that close.  Occasionally in the summer you see locals paddling little inflatable boats across from here.

History of Parkhurst

History of ParkhurstThe small logging town called Parkhurst came into being in 1926 when the Barr Brothers Logging Company purchased the land from a recent widow looking to sell.  Mrs. Parkhurst sold the land and a small house which quickly transformed into several small houses, bunkhouses and a steam powered sawmill on the point of land that still conspicuously juts out from the shore.  Soon there were 70 loggers working the mill and living much of the year in the town that was now named after the original owners of the land, Parkhurst.  The Great Depression hit the logging industry hard and unable to sell what they produced and the mill went into receivership.  In 1932 the mill was purchased by another logging company and was back in business under a new name, Northern Mills.  It was to be short lived however, as a fire destroyed the mill in 1938.  It was rebuilt and the town once again grew in size to include a school and a store.  Parkhurst continued as a small logging town until the logging industry slowed down in the 1950's and in 1956 Parkhurst was finally abandoned.  

Sawmill at Parkhurst 1937

When Whistler Mountain opened as a ski resort in the winter of 1965/66 and Highway 99 was constructed thousands of skiers flocked to Whistler.  Transient skiers discovered Parkhurst and lived in some of the remaining houses.  Ski bums inhabited every available space to sleep in Whistler and gave birth to the legendary Toad Hall on Alta LakeToad Hall, a rented house, became a party house that gained a reputation known Canada wide.  In 1969, when the owners discovered what was happening they evicted the residents and demolished the house.  Within months, Toad Hall was resurrected near Parkhurst at the north end of Green Lake.  The Soo Valley Logging Company had recently vacated their logging camp and it was taken over by skiers.  This second incarnation of Toad Hall became the one famously memorialized in the photo of the naked skiers.  The photo was taken in the spring of 1973 after it was known that the buildings were to be removed in the summer.  Today, only one house, the Blue Face House remains standing.  This house must have been one of the houses mentioned in Jack Christie's book, The Whistler Outdoors Guide published in 1992.  In it he recalls "At present there are two houses occupied, one with a well-developed garden and a small barn."

Timeline of Parkhurst

1902: The Parkhurst’s pre-empted a parcel of land along the shore of Green Lake.  Little is known about the Parkhurst’s except they built a small house and raised a family. 

1926: After Mr. Parkhurst passed away, the Parkhurst’s sold their property to the Barr brothers of Mission, BC.  William, Malcolm and Ross Barr moved their lumber operation to the Parkhurst land.  They constructed a sawmill and some houses for workers and named it the Parkhurst Mill.  

1928: Malcolm Barr drowned in Green Lake when he fell from a boat while working logs on the lake.

1930: The Parkhurst Mill did well for the first three years of operation until the Great Depression hit and demand for lumber evaporated.  Unable to even cover the costs of transporting the lumber, the Parkhurst Mill went into receivership.  With the mill closed and all the workers gone, the receiver hired Ross Barr and his wife to watch over the mill until a buyer could be found.  They were paid just $50 per month and a barrel of coal oil to burn in their lamps. 

1932: Parkhurst was purchased by B.C. Keeley and Byron Smith.

1933: The Parkhurst Mill was reopened under the name Northern Mills.  Ross Barr was hired along with Denis DeBeck to manage the new mill.

1937 Northern Mills Parkhurst

1938: Northern Mills was destroyed by fire and what could be salvaged was moved to the north end of Lost Lake and rebuilt there.

Parkhurst Northern Mills Fire in 1938

1939: The mill was moved back to Parkhurst as the Lost Lake location was too far from the railroad to be feasible.  The new mill at Parkhurst was rebuilt and operations resumed.  Parkhurst grew in size as the mill prospered once again.

1948: The Kitteringham family (Olie, Eleanor and their children Ron, Jim and Linda) lived at Parkhurst from 1948 until the mill shut down in 1956.  During that time Parkhurst employed about 30 men, including millwright Olie.  For the first few years the Kitteringhams were the only family to stay at Parkhurst through the winter.  They made extra money shovelling the snow off the mill’s buildings so that they wouldn’t collapse in the spring when the rains made all that snow very heavy. 

Parkhurst in the 1940's

1956: The mill at Parkhurst closed and the town was abandoned.  The Caterpillar RD8 hidden in the forest would likely have been abandoned within months of the picture taken below.  It is located in the clearing between piles of lumber in the bottom right of the picture.  The old Cletrac tractor, also buried in the forest of the old sawmill site was abandoned in the vicinity of the big pile of lumber in the middle right of the picture.  The large gemel that the Cletrac is lodged against today and the huge old birch tree that would one day grown into the impressively surreal Parkhurst Plow Tree have yet to take root in the sandy gravel and mostly tree-less sawmill yard.

Parkhurst Mill in the 1950's

Below is another picture of Parkhurst taken in the 1950's.  The picture was taken from the clearing in the middle of the sawmill yard and appears to be just steps from where the Cletrac sits today.  The only remaining house standing in Parkhurst, if you don't count the Ghost Shack, is unfortunately not visible.  The Blue Face House looks similar to the one in the middle, left of the picture, behind the houses in the foreground.  The Blue Face House would be further behind that house, roughly in line with the large tree in the middle foreground of the picture.

Parkhurst in the 1950's

1966: Highway 99 was completed to Pemberton and Whistler Mountain opened for skiing in the winter of 1965/66.  The sudden influx of visitors to Whistler led to the remaining houses in Parkhurst being occupied by skiers.  On Alta Lake a rental house began its transformation into what would famously become known as Toad Hall

1969: RCMP issued a court order to the residents of Toad Hall on Alta Lake to be evicted and the building demolished.  The residents of Toad Hall threw one last farewell party before leaving.  Soon after the second incarnation of Toad Hall developed in the abandoned Soo Valley Logging Camp at the northern end of Green Lake near Parkhurst.

1970's Toad Hall

1973: The second Toad Hall was scheduled for demolition in the summer of 1973.  That spring, knowing their time there was nearing its end gathered for a photo in their ski gear and nothing else.  Photographer Chris Speedie printed 10000 copies in poster size and sold for two or three dollars each.  Terry “Toulouse” Spence sold copies along the World Cup ski circuit.

Soo Valley Became Toad Hall

Below is a picture taken at the same location in 2021.  Where the Soo Valley Logging houses and Toad Hall once stood is now a beautifully serene little corner of Whistler.  With no access from the Parkhurst side of Green River this piece of land is a bit isolated and tricky to get to on foot.  You have to walk in from the Sea to Sky Highway and finding parking along the highway is tricky.

Soo Valley Toad Hall 2021

1992: Jack Christie's book, The Whistler Outdoors Guide published in 1992.  In it he recalls "At present there are two houses occupied, one with a well-developed garden and a small barn."

2013: Terry “Toulouse” Spence brought a box of the original posters to Whistler Museum.  The museum sold the remaining posters from the original 10000 and was able to proudly boast that the original run of the Toad Hall poster sold out almost 45 years after it was first printed.  Reprints of the original Toad Hall poster are currently available for purchase at the museum.

2017: Resort Municipality of Whistler purchased the Parkhurst lands (200acres/81 hectares), including the land where the famous Toad Hall picture was taken.  The intent is to preserve the historic land and remaining features into a park, however it is likely to remain mostly unchanged for the foreseeable future.

Parkhurst Lands Map v3

Parkhurst Ghost Town Camping

Camping ParkhurstParkhurst Whistler BivouackingThe places to put up a tent in and around Parkhurst are numerous and range from pretty good to incredible.  One thing to keep in mind, however is that camping in Parkhurst is theoretically not allowed as it lays within the boundaries of the Resort Municipality of Whistler.  This boundary incidentally ends at the Green River bridge at the Sea to Sky Highway turnoff to Wedgemount Lake (the bridge you cross to drive to the Parkhurst trailhead).  This is why you tend to see camper vans and tents here all year-round.  Canadian law allows for public camping on Crown Land and the land north of the bridge over Green River is Crown Land. 

Green River Campsite

There are several reasons why Parkhurst is only theoretically a no camping zone.  The main reason of course is that the area is largely forgotten and for the most part wilderness.  Another reason is that the train tracks running along the shore of Green Lake and the power lines that run through the area make the area, at first glance, not too appealing to visit.  With wide swaths of trees cut down to accommodate power lines and noisy trains barrelling through several times a day, it would be difficult to justify hassling a couple of campers visiting for a day or two.  Also, the land was only purchased by Whistler in 2017, before that it was privately owned and seemingly forgotten by the owner.  Yet another, and possibly the most important reason you can get away with camping in Parkhurst is that it almost always goes unnoticed.  Deep forest, relatively quiet trails and a wonderfully spread out area has allowed the occasional campers to go unnoticed.  Certainly, if hordes of campers descend on the area and put up tents for multiple days, you would see no camping enforcement.  Hopefully that never happens and no trace, stealth campers continue to come and go unnoticed.

Trail to Parkhurst Camp

The land that once accommodated dozens of houses in Parkhurst is fairly flat and everywhere you look you spot an enticing place to put up a tent.  The ridge overlooking Green Lake is particularly good as you can put your tent up at the edge of the cliff and your entire view is beautiful Green LakeMount Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain beyond.

Parkhurst Ridge Camp

Back in the forest you get a more secluded feel and can easily find a spot where few hikers venture.  Hiking in along the Parkhurst Trail you will notice several trails ascending up on your left.  These lead to some beautiful rocky hilltops that are very secluded and very nice.  These wide open hilltops have few trees and you get lots of sun as well as mountain views all around.

Ridge Trail 10 Camp Parkhurst

If you go down to the shore of Green Lake to where the giant tractor is you will notice that if you head along the shore of Green Lake along the train tracks north for about 200 metres you will come to some old cement foundations of the sawmill and some clearings hidden in the spooky forest there.  This area has some positives and negatives.  The bad of course is the train goes by at 2am and again at 6am, just 40 metres from your tent.  If you don't mind that then this area is amazing.  Spooky, though cute little forest, steps from the lake and nice, clean, grassy areas to wander around.

Sawmill Camp Parkhurst

One of the most interesting and beautiful places to camp in Parkhurst is in the triangle of land that juts out into Green Lake.  When Parkhurst was an operational logging town this was the site of the sawmill.  Today there is one railway line that passes through Parkhurst, but when the sawmill was here there was a rail line that veered off the main line and out to the sawmill near the end of the point of land.  Another rail line ran parallel to the main line we see today and was used to load the cut lumber onto train cars.  When operational there were almost no trees on this point of land and several buildings with metal roofs.  The buildings are long gone, though the metal roofs remain on the ground.  The forest has grown over and around these large sheets of metal and few can be seen today.  You can be pretty sure that there is metal under your feet if you are in a clearing with no big trees.  At the centre of the triangle of land is quite a large clearing with no big trees.  This wonderfully sunny area is difficult to get to because of the almost impenetrable forest around it, but when you find it, it is serene and cut off from the world.  Plenty of small gaps in the forest give you great views of Green Lake and getting to the shore is not too hard.  Also, this old sawmill site is a treasure trove of old Parkhurst relics.

Sawmill Tent Parkhurst

Though the old Parkhurst Sawmill site is the most interesting and wonderfully secluded and spacious place to camp, the top of the Parkhurst Ridge Trail is definitely the most spectacular.  High above Green Lake along the ridge you will find a wide open, sunny area with the best views of Green Lake and snowy mountains all around.  There are several flat rock outcrops along this cliff and fairly easy access to Green Lake.  There is even a picnic table that someone constructed here a couple years ago.  The Parkhurst Ridge Trail runs through the beautiful forest here, snaking up and over several sunny hilltops before merging with the Parkhurst Trail about 1.4 kilometres from the Parkhurst Ridge viewpoint.

Parkhurst Ridge Camp Sunrise

If you are a fan of history, you might revel in the fact that Parkhurst was the site of the iconic Toad Hall naked picture from the early 70's.  This picture can be seen at the Whistler Museum of several people posing in front of Toad Hall wearing nothing but ski boots.  The old Toad Hall was located down at the end of Green Lake, across Green River.  Green River is too big to cross, so you have to get to the old Toad Hall site by boat or by walking in from the Sea to Sky Highway.  There is a small clearing on the right side of the highway just past the turnoff on your left to Cougar Mountain.  Just a short walk through the forest leads to the sand and gravel clearing where several small houses and Toad Hall once stood.  The famous Toad Hall photo was taken to commemorate the short, but lively history of the area shortly before the houses were demolished.

Facilities at Parkhurst

There are no public restrooms, outhouses or facilities anywhere near Parkhurst.  If you are getting to Parkhurst by boat from the other side of Green Lake you will find washrooms at Green Lake Park.  There is an outhouse at the trailhead to Wedgemount Lake a couple kilometres from the highway turnoff.  If you are accessing Parkhurst via the Sea to Sky Trail from Whistler Village then you will pass the washrooms at Lost Lake Park just before connecting onto the Sea to Sky Trail.  If you take the slight detour past the Sea to Sky Trail and stop at the beautiful Nicklaus North Golf Course at the south end of Green Lake then you will find public restrooms there as well as an amazing restaurant that is very welcoming to non-golfers.  The views are of course amazing and the food and drinks always seem to be on special, all year-round it seems.

Restrictions and Concerns at Parkhurst

Campfires Prohibited in ParkhurstNot ATV's ParkhurstAs with much of BC there are severe campfire restrictions during the hot, dry summer months.  Parkhurst is dog friendly along with the entire Sea to Sky Trail that runs the length of Whistler and beyond.  The Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain hiking trails don't allow dogs for various good reasons and Garibaldi Provincial Park doesn't allow dogs either out of consideration of the local animals in the park.  There are several excellent, dog friendly hiking trails in Whistler. The Sproatt East Trail, Flank Trail, Ancient CedarsWhistler Train Wreck, Cheakamus River, Brew Lake and all of Whistler parks are dog friendly.

Wildlife at Parkhurst

Wildlife at ParkhurstParkhurst is pretty remote feeling and you feel far from Whistler Village.  Because of the comparatively quiet wilderness around Parkhurst, encountering black bears is fairly common.  Often, if you are paddling Green Lake from the River of Golden Dreams you will spot a bear with some cubs wandering along the long stretch of train tracks on the far side of the lake. Count yourself lucky if you spot them from a canoe as you can float relatively close and still feel safe. Seeing a bear in the forest around Parkhurst is not as frequent, owing to the deep forest and hilly terrain. If there is a bear around, he will probably disappear into the shadows, retreating away from you. Beavers are also a somewhat common sight in Parkhurst.  They don't care for open and deep water, so you likely will only spot them at the end of Green Lake.  At the north end of Green Lake the lake narrows, then bulges into a small body of water that almost feels like a separate lake. Here you may get lucky and see a busy beaver swimming near the shore collecting branches and trees. If you don't see one, but hear what sounds like a large rock thrown in the water, you will know a beaver is near. They often make a walloping boom sound by smashing their huge, flat tail into the water when people are near.

Parkhurst Ghost Town Beaver

Trailhead & Parking Directions to Parkhurst

Trailhead Directions Parkhurst WhistlerAs mentioned above there are several ways to access 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, though lots of steep hills makes it a tough trek for some. Biking from the Village takes about a half an hour if you are fast, and hour if you are slow, 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. This map shows the driving directions to the unmarked Parkhurst Ghost Town trailhead near the north end of Green Lake. This trailhead gets you to Parkhurst much quicker and easier than the long trek from Whistler Village.

Driving Directions Map to Parkhurst

Parkhurst Whistler Directions Map

Parkhurst by Boat - Directions to Green Lake Park

Driving Directions to Green Lake ParkGetting to Parkhurst by boat is fast, easy and convenient from Green Lake Park or the Green Lake Pier & Boat LaunchGreen Lake Park is just under 8km north of Whistler Village(just under 10 minutes to drive there).  From Village Gate Boulevard in Whistler Village zero your odometer and drive north on Highway 99.  At 7.5km you will see the sign on your right for Summer Lane.  Turn right off the highway, then left onto Summer Lane.  Take the next right onto Lakeshore Drive and look for the sign on your right for Green Lake Park.  There is room for a couple cars to park just off the road.  The Green Lake Pier & Boat Launch is just around the corner and there is room for several cars to park there.  To find it, continue along Lakeshore Drive, turn left staying on Lakeshore Drive and look for the boat launch sign at the next bend.  Biking there from Whistler Village is quite nice and roughly the same distance.  You can take the Valley Trail past Lost Lake, then to Green Lake, around Green Lake along Highway 99 where it connects to Summer Lane.  It takes about 30 minutes to bike there and even the section along the highway is quite beautiful with views of the lake.

Parkhurst by Boat Map v3

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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!

Whistler Hiking Trails

Hiking in Whistler is spectacular and wonderfully varied. Looking at a map of Whistler you see an extraordinary spider web of hiking trails that are unbelievably numerous. Easy trails, moderate trails and challenging hiking trails are all available. Another marvellous ...
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Squamish Hiking Trails

Squamish is located in the midst of a staggering array of amazing hiking trails. Garibaldi Provincial Park sprawls alongside Squamish and up and beyond Whistler. Tantalus Provincial Park lays across the valley to the west and the wonderfully remote Callaghan Valley ...
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Vancouver Hiking Trails

Vancouver is surrounded by seemingly endless hiking trails and mountains to explore.  Massive parks line up one after another.  Mount Seymour Provincial Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Park and the enormous Garibaldi Park all contribute to Vancouver ...
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Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Clayoquot Sound has a staggering array of hiking trails within it.  Between Tofino and Ucluelet, Pacific Rim Park has several wilderness and beach trails, each one radically different from the last.  The islands in the area are often Provincial parks on their own with ...
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Victoria Hiking Trails

Victoria has a seemingly endless number of amazing hiking trails.  Most take you to wild and beautiful Pacific Ocean views and others take you to tranquil lakes in beautiful BC Coastal Rainforest wilderness.  Regional Parks and Provincial Parks are everywhere you turn in ...
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The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail was created after decades of brutal and costly shipwrecks occurred along the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  One shipwreck in particular was so horrific, tragic and unbelievable that it forced the creation of a trail along the coast, which ...
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