Most people who visit Whistler-Blackcomb never leave the village or the ski hills. But more adventurous folks take advantage of the incredible hiking Southwest B.C. offers.
One popular hike is to Black Tusk, near the north end of Garibaldi Lake.
Take a look at my Black Tusk travelogue to get more details.
Photo courtesy of Peter Matter
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is a very well known attraction in British Columbia most likely because it is about 13 km (8 mi) south of Whistler. The waterfall is quite impressive though and it deserves its reputation. It is a 66 m (216 ft) drop from the crest of the falls to the canyon below. Brandywine Creek then flows a short distance into Daisy Lake.
One significant disclaimer would be that the falls will be fairly difficult to reach in the winter months. The parking area and trail are not groomed and the snow pack in the area can become quite substantial.
Traveling South along Highway 99 from Whistler, go 13 km (8 mi) and follow the Provincial park signs.
If you're a hardcore skiier/rider then you'll want to test out Whistler/Blackcomb's backcountry. To give you an idea of the geography concerning my particular trek: Singing Pass trail leads from Whistler village, between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, all the way back to Overlord glacier, continuously climbing in elevation along the way. In the summer months this is a great way to get back there but it is definitely a trek and a half. In the winter, the hardcores start out from the top of Whistler's peak chair and traverse across Picolo, Flute and Oboe and continue towards the hut at the base of Fissile. Fissile is a jagged peak looming just to the right of Overlord Glacier and it can be seen all the way back from Whistler's in-bound terrain as jutting out by its lonesome into the sky. It takes a day to traverse all the way back there to the hut. One can overnight in the hut and then attempt the Fissile climb the following day. When I was 19, dumb and gung-ho I clambered up Fissile with no avalanche or safety equipment, trudging along in the footsteps created by wiser, older backcountry fellas that were using ice axes and crampons. It was definitely steep and I couldn't fathom looking down behind me. Nevertheless, in an hour and a half I had scaled Fissile and then proceeded to carve out 150+ turns in untouched, knee deep powder in the month of April - and it hadn't snowed in a month. This was the north face of Fissile (no sun!) and it was the most pristine experience of my life.
Just fyi, the picture here simply shows a very small section at the very base of Fissile mountain. We carved these turns upon arrival at the hut before the main trek to the top. 5 of us made it to the hut but only 2 of us attempted the Fissile climb. Not for the faint-hearted. Some great pics in the Fissile Trip travelogue!
Up in the lower part of Callaghan Valley some miles south of Whistler is a major wilderness, but with open access. Near the Olympic site developments up here is the lovely Alexandre Falls. There is a small parking lot, a few vbenches and a fence preventing people from falling over the cliffs and into the gorge in pure amazement.
Shannon Falls is worth a quick stop on your way to Whistler. Located near Squamish just off Highway 99, these are the third highest falls in British Columbia. There are also nice hiking trails in this park. The parking at the entrance of the park off the highway is paid parking. Spaces are kind of limited when there are a lot of visitors.
Rainbow Falls is near the beginning of the Rainbow Lake Trail which can be found near the cemetery on Alta Lake Road...not too far from Alta Lake and the HI hostel. Rainbow Falls was a nice little spot, and, best of all, there was nobody around...I had the place to myself. Had to hike up a twisting road for a while to reach the falls, and I also had just scene some bear tracks in the area...so that made the hike a little more interesting. Anyway...the falls are very scenic but not too big - it was worth the trip though. Further up the trail it was snowbound or else I would have gone on. The tourist center hands out maps of Whistler that will give directions to the trail.
I went looking for bears on some trails around Whistler. Could only find bear tracks in the snow. This picture was taken on the Rainbow Lake Trail. Yeah, I can tell the difference between dog and bear tracks...I hope. If you're foolish enough (like me) to go looking for bears and need survival tips or just want more bear info, check out the websites.