Last Updated on June 10, 2023
In 2021, my daughter Rachel, granddaughter Madi, and I decided to make a trip to Whistler with one goal in mind: find as many waterfalls as we could.
The drive along the Sea-to-Sky highway towards Whistler is stunning with vibrant green trees running up the slopes of the mountains on the right-hand side and the ocean on the left. We were in awe of the intoxicating beauty surrounding us.
Our first stop was Horseshoe Bay. We like grabbing lunch here and Madi loves doing down to the beach to find shells. I enjoy watching the ferries entering and leaving to the dock.
Our second stop was Porteau Cove Provincial Park, located on the eastern shore of Howe Sound. You can’t help, but marvel at the views over the Sound while taking in the ocean, distant islands, and towering mountains far off. It’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs, walk along the old pier or beach, or get even a better view from the tower.
If you have time, bring a picnic lunch and watch for native seals, porpoises and sometimes even whales.
Porteau Cove is also well known for its scuba diving. There are a series of artificial reefs and two sunken vessels, as well as a fantastic array of marine life that provide exceptional diving opportunities.
If you have time, visit the Britannia Mine Museum.
As you approach Squamish, there’s a Forestry Road on the right-hand side after passing the Sea to Sky Gondola. From the entrance, we had to drive down a bumpy gravel road for about 3.7km. I thought for sure one of my tires would go flat.
Once we parked the car, we made our way down another gravel road towards the trail. There was an outhouse in the middle of nowhere, but I’m sure hikers appreciated that.
The trail to the waterfall was shaded by trees. As we got closer, we could hear the roaring sound of water crashing over the huge rocks.
We found out later that we took the wrong trail! That only means that next time, we can explore the other trail!
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
This gorgeous cascade along the Sea-to-Sky highway is the biggest, most impressive waterfall in the Whistler area. Also, it’s a convenient location and accessibility attracts more people, making it one of the most popular sight-seeing stops along the highway.
From the parking lot, it’s only a 10 or 20-minute walk to the waterfall. The viewing area gives ample space for people to watch the water crashing as it heads toward a free-falling 70-meters into a deep pool below.
There is a legend that the falls (and subsequently the creek) were named by a couple of railway surveyors who bet a bottle of brandy on who could accurately guess the height of the falls.
After viewing the waterfall, there are several other hiking and mountain biking options in the area. If you’re looking for a lake, the Swim and Lava Lake trails begin from here.
Another of Whistler’s most spectacular cascades is Alexander Falls, located in the Callaghan Valley region near the area where the 2010 Olympic Nordic events took place.
The waterfall is easily accessible by car and the viewing platform is right next to the parking lot, so no walking or hiking is required. This cascade drops an impressive 43-meters over three sections and is about 12-meters at its widest point.
The source of the water comes from Madelay Creek which is fed by several rivers and creeks in the Callaghan Valley region. The best time of year to view the falls is late-spring or early-summer. During the winter months, the waterfall freezes due to its high elevation.
This gorgeous falls is situated near Pemberton, approximately a 20-minute drive from Whistler. The scenic views on the trail toward the waterfall were breathtaking.
We took our time meandering along the path and taking photos. The left side of the trail went straight down a massive cliff.
As we continued walking, we could see the river down below. When we got to the waterfall, we stood in silence, listening to the crashing sound of the water hitting the rocks.
I have to say that I was thankful for the barbed wired fences surrounding the viewing area that were there for safety.
On our way back, we decided to find a way to get down to the river. As we were enjoying the views, we were surprised by a speed boat making its way toward the waterfall.
Rainbow Falls Loop Trail
We had missed this waterfall on a previous trip to Whistler, so this time we made sure to give ourselves some time to explore. The trail had a few ups and downs, but we all managed to keep up with each other.
As we walked towards the waterfall, we enjoyed scenic views of the mountains behind the trees as we listened to the sound of the thundering waters ahead of us.
We stopped at the edge of the cliff to take it all in. The thunderous roars of the water crashing down was my highlight!
Rachel and Madi enjoyed exploring the fascinating tree roots while listening to the magnificent sounds of the falls.
Whistler Trainwreck Trail and Miller Creek Trail
The Train Wreck site and suspension bridge can be accessed at the south end of Whistler in the Cheakamus Crossing neighborhood. At Highway 99, follow Cheakamus Lakes Road to Legacy Way. Turn right off Legacy Way on to Jane Lakes Road. The trailhead is located at the bottom of Jane Lakes Road.
This trail is a long-time favourite among hikers and mountain bikers. Train Wreck features graffiti-covered train cars and spectacular views of Cheakamus River.
The hike to the suspension bridge and train cars is approximately 1 km.
After you take photos of the trainwreck, walk over the suspension bridge and follow another trail (Miller Creek Trail) towards the Cheakamus River. Here you’ll find a stunning waterfall that begs to be explored. It’s an easy route for hikers. Just keep walking until you hear the thundering roar of water crashing on the rocks.
I’ve loved waterfalls since I was a little girl when my parents took the family to visit one of my favorites – Shannon Falls. To stand in front of a massive amount of thunderous water crashing down on rock and cliffs is magical.
When I visit a new place in this big, beautiful world, I begin to research the waterfalls nearby. It’s in my soul! They give me such peace.