Outdoor adventurers find plenty of thrills in this four-season Canadian mountain resort town.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just like to get outdoors, you’ll find lots to do in Whistler, British Columbia’s top outdoor mountain resort. From hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, zip lining, and rock climbing in summer to skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and bobsledding in the winter months, Whistler has it all, just a two-hour drive from Vancouver along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99). Campers have options at Whistler, too, whether you prefer glamping in a yurt or cabin, parking in an RV site, or pitching a tent in the backcountry with views of the glacier-topped peaks.
With cabins, yurts, campsites for RVs and tents, and Valley Trail access to town, Riverside Resort is a top option for camping close to the village. To the south, both Whistler Village RV Park & Campground and the provincially managed Cal-cheak Recreation Site have RV sites and tent camping. Backpackers can follow well-marked hiking trails to a number of locations in the nearby mountains, including Garibaldi Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Wedgemount Lake, and Russet Lake. You can reserve some backcountry tent sites through BC Parks.
Midway between Vancouver and Whistler, bordering both the mountains and Howe Sound, Squamish is a growing adventure town with a fun, local vibe. Several sections of Garibaldi Provincial Park, where you can hike and camp, are convenient to Squamish, as are Porteau Cove (with waterfront campsites directly on Howe Sound), Stawamus Chief, and Alice Lake provincial parks. The town has a 35-site municipal campground (with no power or hookups), plus several privately run camping areas.
Heading north from Whistler on Highway 99 takes you quickly into the wild, an area prime for a camping trip. Nairn Falls Provincial Park is a 20-minute drive north of Whistler, and the extremely popular Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is beyond the town of Pemberton, about an hour from Whistler Village. The more remote Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park also has lakeside campsites.
The best time to camp, hike, and mountain bike at Whistler is May through early October. Fall is especially nice, with somewhat fewer crowds and vibrant color in the trees. May and June are often less busy, too, although they tend to bring more rainy days. Snow typically starts to fall in November and lingers at high elevations into summer. Whistler-Blackcomb normally opens for the ski season around the U.S. Thanksgiving week and closes in April.