By Judi Zienchuk September 10, 2014 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
While Whistler’s two mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) might be best known for their winter skiing potential, it doesn’t mean that there is any lack of hillside activity come summer time. During summer and into fall, you’ll see both mountain bikers and hikers taking advantage of the dry peaks and alpine meadows before the snow comes.
While it’s technically possible to hike from the base of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains to their summits, trekking up is ill advised as all of the trails and pathways are used primarily for mountain biking. Instead, most people opt for a gondola ride, which whisks you from the village base to the summit, then hike around the peak. Gondola rides start at a daily rate of around $50, and includes access to the coveted PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, the longest and highest lift of its kind in the world, stretching from Whistler to Blackcomb mountain. It offers absolutely spectacular views of both peaks as well as an aerial view of Whistler village.
If you make it out during the early summer months, many of the hiking routes are still restricted by the amount of snow covering both of the summits. While this might limit some options, it results in one of Whistler’s most unique hiking opportunities: trekking through snow walls! You can hike through these via Pika’s and Matthew’s traverses, a well-maintained route cut between a series of snow walls stretching up to 10m (3.2 feet) high. I was absolutely stunned at the fact that while it can reach upwards of 20 degrees celsius in the village in June, the mountain peaks remain below 10 degrees celsius and covered in snow. Routes through the walls take an average of two-hour roundtrip after taking the Whistler Village Express gondola.
When things begin to heat up in mid-summer, more trails open up. One of my favourites is the route to Blackcomb Lake. Formed from glacier runoffs, the lake never gets as warm as Lost, Alpha or Green lakes at the base of the village. However, it provides the perfect backdrop for a mid-hike picnic while absorbing panoramic and breathtaking views. A hike to Blackcomb Lake will take about one-hour roundtrip after taking the Whistler Village Express and Peak to Peak gondolas.
Late July and August bring alpine wildflowers into full bloom. These delicate blossoms blanket entire hillsides with colour, and can be seen from most chairlifts and hiking routes around Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
Regardless of when I choose to set out on a hiking excursion here, there is always a seemingly infinite amount of picture-perfect Kodak moments to be had, including posing for photos at the mountaintop Inukshuk and Olympic Rings, a reminder of Whistler’s moment in the spotlight as co-host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
To top everything off, the Roundhouse Lodge near the Peak 2 Peak platform on Whistler Mountain is the perfect place to stop for some post-hike treats. My favourite is the Wine & Dine at 6000ft BBQ Series, which takes place over dinner every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer. Whole Hog Fridays, Slow Roast Prime Rib BBQ Saturdays and Pacific Seafood Grill Sundays give plenty of variety while enjoying some live music on a mountain top patio—a perfect viewpoint for appreciating the day’s efforts.
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