It is believed that the snowshoe was invented in Canada after local indigenous peoples observed how animals such as the Snowshoe Rabbit could move across the snow easily with their wider paws. It is, therefore, no surprise that as Whistler is a Canadian resort, snowshoe trails are in abundance and range from easy to difficult so all visitors can attempt at least one of the trails and learn the skills of more slowly moving over snowbound terrain.
What to wear
Most of the people dress similar to what they would wear if they were going snowboarding and skiing. As you will be traveling through snow, it is also advisable that the pants can either be hemmed up or tucked into the boots during snowshoeing.
What to pack
When planning to snowshoe you should pack the same as you would when hiking which means you should include enough food and drink for the day but also pack lighting in case you take longer than expected and you reach back after dark. Obviously, the backpack should also hold a first aid kit in case of emergency and as you will be crossing snow, a shovel should be attached to the outside in case of getting snowed in.
As with any other outdoor activity, safety must be your first concern and you should always let someone know where you exactly intend to go and an educated estimate of the time you should be back. Although some of the trails are monitored and patrolled, others are not and so letting someone know of your intentions is particularly important if you are venturing on one of the unmonitored trails.
There are several main areas within Whistler where snowshoe trails can be found. All of these different areas have easy, moderate and difficult snowshoe trails. There is a variety of trails for any level of experience. Examples of these trails are:
Lost Lake Park
Nature Trail – This is an ideal trail to use for a picnic as the trail involves an easy walk to the lake’s beach and back, a total of only 3.2kms there and back, perhaps affording an excellent introduction to snowshoeing.
Gypsy Drum/Tin Pants – This trail involves walking a loop and although it is a more difficult trail than the Nature Trail, it is only 2.7kms and so can be undertaken by most and those that do will be afforded the best views of the lake.
Donkey Puncher – Although this trail starts on Nature Trail, as it circles the whole lake it is both more difficult in places and longer, 5.5kms.
Rainbow Falls: Although this is an easy trail and only 2kms long, it does afford views of the falls complete with hanging icicles but there is a bridge to traverse and as that bridge can have snow up to its railings, sometimes caution has to be taken in deciding whether to cross it or not.
Mid Flank Trail: With a one-way distance of 6.5kms, this trail offers walkers some great views of the surrounding terrain.
Rainbow Lake: This trail which offers fabulous views of the frozen lake is 16kms long and so is considered an all-day walk over varying terrains and so should also be considered a backcountry adventure and so should be packed for accordingly.
Train Wreck: Although 5kms long this is an easy trek which includes taking a suspension bridge across a roaring river. This particular trail is popular and as the car park at the start point is only small, walkers may want to consider taking available transit options to the start point.
Riverside Trail: This trail takes you down one side of the river and then after crossing the bridge, brings you back along the opposite side, a total of 5kms.
Cheakamus Lake: Including a 7kmwalk along a service road this trail is an all-day adventure covering a total of 28kms but does include some impressive views of the Coast Mountains.
Real Life: this is a family-friendly trail which many think is worth the 4.9km walk in order to see some of the biggest and oldest Cedar Trees in Whistler.
Lookout Explorer: Although this trek is all uphill to the Lookout Post, after a rest at the shelter, the second half of the 3.2km trail is downhill.
Alexander Falls Explorer: This 3.5km trail will take snowshoe users to a 55-meter waterfall which freezes in colder weather and so can offer visitors a surreal experience.
Resource: The Whistler Insider
Are you thinking of staying in Whistler this winter? Check our short-term accommodation here and stay with us!