This may come as something of a surprise, but more people now visit Whistler in the summer than in winter. Why? Because although Whistler enjoys international renown as a ski resort (one of the finest in the world, we might add), Canadians and travel-savvy adventure seekers everywhere know that Pangea’s home has a hell of a lot to offer after the thaw. Make no mistake, this is a year-round town.
So what exactly is on offer? Here we take you through some of our favourite summer activities, how to do them, and who to go with.
When the snow melts in late spring, the wooded slopes around Whistler echo to the sound of merry mountain bikers taking on the bumps and jumps of mile after mile of single track. Whistler is a world-class destination for downhill and cross-country mountain biking, a veritable hotspot for those who love off-road adventures.
Many of them flock to Whistler Mountain Bike Park for knuckle-whitening downhill runs, all of which are well-maintained (and some of which are just about gentle enough for Pangea’s owners). The Park also offers tuition and guided tours.
Away from the Park, a number of operators offer bike rentals and guided tours on the trails around Whistler. Cross Country Connection is one of them.
Who doesn’t love a summer hike? Around Whistler you’ll find scenic alpine trails that’ll have you traversing through pristine forests, across gorgeous flower-filled meadows, and alongside some of British Columbia’s most beautiful lakes and rivers. Don’t miss the High Note Trail, which offers unforgettable views over Cheakamus Lake.
If you’re looking for a guide, Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures can help. They offer half-day, full-day and multi-day hikes around Whistler and Blackcomb.
Also highly recommended are Whistler Eco Tours, whose tour options include short interpretive nature walks, a ‘moderate’ rainforest walk and full-day adventures with private guides that have expert knowledge of the local flora, fauna and geology. They also specialise in kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking adventures.
Fancy hurtling head first towards the glacial waters of the Cheakamus river from a 50 metre high bridge? Of course you do.
Around 15 minutes south of the village is Whistler Bungee – “Whistler’s Ultimate Adrenaline Rush”. Admire the basalt cliffs, old growth forest and stunning mountain vistas before launching yourself into the abyss.
Whistler Bungee have operated since 2002 and have a perfect safety record.
Reconnecting with nature is easy in Whistler (did you know it was named after the whistling sounds the local marmots make?), but one way to take your love of the wilderness a step further is to head out on a bear watching tour. As well as finally finding out the answer to that age-old rhetorical question, you’ll get to see (and take pictures of) black bears in their natural habitat and learn about local ecology. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even catch a glimpse of a coyote!
Whistler Discovery Tours offers various Land Rover excursions led by knowledgeable guides with expertise in ecology and wildlife photography. One of the most popular is their ‘Evening with the Bears’ sunset tour.
WHITE WATER RAFTING.
If it’s high-octane, adrenaline-pumping, paddle-until-you-can’t-feel-your-arms-anymore kind of adventures you’re after (just kidding about the arms), we recommend you head straight down to one of the local rivers for some white water rafting. It’s without doubt one of our favourite summertime activities in Whistler.
One very popular local outfit is Wedge Rafting. For over 20 years they’ve been helping thrill-seekers experience what they call ‘riverspeed’ – the ancient rhythm of the river. Wedge Rafting offer tours on the Cheakamus (family-friendly), Green, Elaho, and Squamish rivers. Our co-founder, front and centre in the photo, was so scared he wet himself…
Also offering a variety of tours, including an epic 10-day adventure on the Tatshenshini, are Canadian Outback Rafting, another highly reputable operator. Check out their ‘Scenic Twilight Float’ on the Squamish for something a bit more sedate.
One of the best and most exhilarating ways to take in Whistler’s jaw-dropping scenery is to get up above the forest canopy and glide across the valley on a zip line. This is probably the closest you’ll ever come to knowing what life’s like for a bird! Just ask our Tech Head who’s trying his hardest to fly in this photo…
Whistler is blessed with two great ziplining operators. Ziptrek Ecotours offers an “entertaining combination of aerial adventure and exploration” with a dose of education on the environment. Most tours start from the Carleton Lodge, just across from the Whistler Gondolas.
Superfly Ziplines promise to have you soaring across mountain valleys and through old growth forests. Their adventures begin with a 4×4 trip up Rainbow Mountain.
Taking a backcountry ATV tour of British Columbia is one of our favourite things to do during the summer here in Whistler, and of course it’s a great way to really get to know the region’s diverse terrain. Several operators offer tours departing from the Village.
Check out Whistler ATV for open and private tours for riders of all experience levels. Canadian Wilderness Adventures also offers multiple tours around Whistler, Blackcomb Mountain and the Callaghan valley.
Please note this is just a partial list of the incredible activities and operators in town.
Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for more insight and more tips and tricks to experience the best of the unique mountain town of Whistler on a budget.