Lay of the Land

Flag for Local Knowledge Lists


The Whistler Valley, nestled in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia, forms the crest of the Sea to Sky corridor. Alta Lake (630 meters) is the summit of two watersheds that flow north to Pemberton and south to Squamish. While better known for it's skiing, Whistler is home to incredible off-road cycling.

There are several pretenders to the Best Biking on the Planet crown. But if there's a place that combines the legendary free riding, cross country trails, family routes and the world's leading lift serviced downhill park of Whistler Mountain, I haven't seen it. Add to that the legendary North Shore, Squamish, Pemberton and the south Cilcoten just down the road and it's undeniable. This is the spot! It's rare that any issue of a mountain biking magazine goes to press without a photo of riding somewhere in the Sea to Sky Corridor.

Whistler Village is the pedestrian oriented hub of the valley and is linked from Whistler Creekside in the south to Emerald Estates in the north by over 30km of paved multi-use Valley Trail. This scenic and relatively flat route forms the backbone of human powered travel in the community, offers a great introduction to the area and is the jumping off point for a myriad of more ambitious rides. Unless your riding with kids or dogs there's no need to get in your car once you're here. Most rides are within a half hour spin from the Village.

The Valley Trail also accesses Meadow Park Sports Center with it's playing fields and water park, Rainbow Beach, Lost Lake, Wayside, Lakeside and Alpha Lake Parks which are a great opportunity for a quick swim, picnic or washroom break. You can find the Valley Trail from anywhere in the resort easily by looking for the signs and the Valley Trail info kiosks.
The original idea for the trail was spearheaded by Trev Roote, a long time Parks and Rec volunteer, and brought to life by the vision and hard work of Tom Barratt, who realized the value of this year round amenity.

Historically, riding and trail building in this area developed organically, in an unstructured, unplanned and often helter-skelter environment. Reclaimed old logging and exploration roads, game paths and traditional hiking routes often formed the nucleus of a trail system. New routes, legal and not so legal appeared overnight and didn't necessarily coincide with property lines. Be aware that land ownership may vary from private to public. While we don't endorse this style of trail creation, it has resulted in one hell of a bunch of trails.

The municipal government (RMOW) with the assistance of the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) has recently begun to develop new routes such as Comfortably Numb and improve and maintain select trails in the valley. Some developers are even getting on board. Realizing that their developments would interrupt a trail (and probably not wanting dirty mountain bikers bouncing into their back yards) have designed and constructed new routes to link up the old paths and in some cases donated money to other large scale cycling projects.

We are fortunate, in Whistler, that off-road cycling has enjoyed a largely friendly relationship with the people of the area (probably because most of them ride) and we would like to keep it that way, so please obey all signs, respect other folks and the environment.