Late July hiking in Whistler area - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Default Late July hiking in Whistler area

Hi folks,

I'm an east-coaster heading to the Whistler/Garibali area for a few days the last weekend of July. The plan is to do some day hiking with my wife and baby in the baby backpack. Because of the baby, we were looking to keep the hikes below 10 miles (16k) round trip, and less than 1000m (3000 feet) elevation gain. The two hikes I have been thinking of are Brandywine Meadows and the High Note Trail (yeah, I know it'll cost $98 for the chairlift for High Note).

But since I've never been to the area, I wanted to get feedback from people better acquainted with the area.

Questions:
--any word on whether the High Note Trail will be open the last week of July?
--more generally, should we expect trails to be clear of snow by then?
--are there other trails we should be considering?
--how about trail conditions--muddy or decently solid?
--should we expect daytime high temperatures around 90F?
--are there any issues with driving to the Brandywine Meadows trailhead?
--finally, can we expect to see wildflowers this time of year?

Thanks folks!

Will from DC
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 10:27 AM
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Brandywine Meadows is nice. There are two trailheads for Brandywine meadows. A 2WD trailhead and a 4WD high clearance trailhead. Both require you to drive on some length of logging roads so you may not want to bring your vehicle to either (I am assuming you are renting a car?) I haven't done the hike from the 2WD trailhead but I believe it is quite rough and steep.

I'd suggest taking a look at Garabaldi Lake/Taylor Meadows. It's a little longer than you are thinking but you can access it easily on a paved road and the trail is very well maintained so it may end up being an easier day. You could practically take a off-road stroller on the trail. The trail will be much busier than Brandywine Meadows. There is still snow at the top - not sure if it will melt by then.


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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 10:39 AM
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>>any word on whether the High Note Trail will be open the last week of July?
Maybe. There's a lot of snow still up there right now and it depends how fast it melts. Whistler Mountain waits until the snow is mostly gone before opening this trail. Last year it wasn't open until mid August.

>>more generally, should we expect trails to be clear of snow by then?
In the alpine there will probably still be snow patches.

>>are there other trails we should be considering?
Barkley Valley near D'arcy (great wildflowers)
Rainbow Lake
Garibaldi Lake (18km round trip, but a very good trail)
Elfin Lakes (22km round trip, but a very good trail)


>>how about trail conditions--muddy or decently solid?
Should be generally good, but depends on the trail.

>>should we expect daytime high temperatures around 90F?
Maybe in the valley bottom. Up on the mountains 60-70F would be more typical and it could just as easily be 40F or 50F.

>>are there any issues with driving to the Brandywine Meadows trailhead?
Lower trailhead is fine. Upper trailhead requires a 4x4.

>>finally, can we expect to see wildflowers this time of year?
yes, especially on steeper south facing slopes where the snow melts sooner.

Thanks folks!

Will from DC
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 10:57 AM
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Originally posted by scottN

>>Barkley Valley near D'arcy (great wildflowers)
[/quote]

Do you have any details on Barkley Valley and the road in? Thanks.

Cheers!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 12:01 PM
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when you are carrying a kid, you are looking at getting the most bang for your buck, or in this case, the most spectacular trail for the least effort. My wife and I did the High Note carrying our 1-year-old and would recommend it greatly. Try for a weekday (less busy). There is a bail-out point called the Half-Note Trail. (I love my wife dearly, but I should not have told her about that bail-out! The kid was fine.) They won't let you take your kid up the Peak Chair, so expect a 1,000ft elevation gain hike up to the start of the High Note, as a warmup.

You mention the cost: Find a coupon for the gondola before you get to whistler. (7-eleven? or Entertainment book?)

Garibaldi Lake and Elfin are both great suggestions, and more "in nature" but with a lower view-to-effort ratio. (Garibaldi, think +3hours of hiking one way before reaching the lake.) If you bail after 2 hrs, you have a 4 hr day without the view--still nice, but not the big payoff.

You have a car: I also very much enjoy the High Falls Creek trail in Squamish (search this site). Think 2000ft elev gain and 10kms which are both within your limits.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 12:21 PM
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When we hiked with our first baby (23 years ago [:I]) we liked Cheakamus lake, about 12 km round trip of low-elevation, quite level walking along the beautiful Cheakamus river. Runs through stately cedar-fir forest, along the lake and into back country. Really worth a go.

http://whistlerhiatus.com/whistlerhi...amus-lake.html

The four lakes at Alice Lake, south of whistler. Again quite modest effort but really nice hoof along a 6 km trail encompassing alice, stump, edith and fawn lakes. At the same location is the DeBecks hill, which is short but strenuous 275 m climb up an old road (3.0 km round trip), but the views of the Squamish river and local mountains are very nice. Also, some interesting old logging machinery on the way up for you to look at.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/exp...s.html#debecks (watch for cougars, they are there this year)
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 08:35 PM
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Go to Garibaldi lake, you will not regret. High note trail is another good one with baby. The only problem is bugs, bring a bug net .
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 10:20 PM
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Brandywine will be mostly snowcover with less than ideal travel, just went there.
80-90% snowcover. Snowpack is large in most places. UV rating will be harsh in most places, protect your baby.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
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All,

Thanks for the great feedback. A lot of votes for Garibaldi lake!

Another question on trail conditions--is there a good place (either online, at a rangers station, or in Whistler) to check on conditions more real time? Or should I just monitor what folks who have recently hiked are writing on the message board?

Thanks again.

Will from DC
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 04:07 PM
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$5 per person discounts seem to be widely available at London Drugs counters at the moment, valid for summer season Gondola hiking/sightseeing.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 05:02 PM
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Joffre Lake, north of Whistler. Thoroughly alpine, but you start from 1200 meters elevation so the climb isn't terribly long. 5 km, 400 meters, rough trail. With a baby on back you will know you've worked for it, but it is well worth it. Stunning.

Can be combined with a drive to Lillooet on the very scenic Duffy Lake Rd. The trailhead is pretty on the summit of the road, after the climb out of the Pemberton Valley. The drive is especially noteworthy because of the climactic change, from the dense wet coastal forest zone of Whistler to the semi-desert arid zone of Lillooet. Pretty dramatic mountains as well.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 09:22 PM
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I second the Joffre sugestion I never found that trail rough,but some people are afraid of the boulder field. Usually less crowded than Garibaldy as well.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 09:42 PM
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Will, you've had some good advice here. With either Joffre or Garibaldi you can't go far wrong. IMO Joffre has much easier payback for your effort. It's good practically from the car park and you could bail at the second lake and have really enjoyed it and the views. Garibaldi is a bit (quite a lot) more work for decent views but it is well worth it.

As for High Note I can give you a couple of half price passes if you want them, I have some I don't need (PM me if you want them and we can arrange for you to pick them up). If you did that and one of the two above I think you'd be very happy and probably dying to come back to this corner of BC to see more. Whatever you choose enjoy it, I'm sure you will.

ps. If you have a bit of time on your way up from Vancouver think about doing the Chief in Squamish. It won't take long, has great views and is an interesting hike if you've never been up something like it before. As with the others it's way busier at the weekends.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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All,

Joffre lake is another great suggestion, and sounds like a good option if we need something shorter than 18k round trip.

I just picked up a Deuter backpack from REI, and we are going on a test hike locally this weekend. After that, I'll have a much better idea how long the little one will last!

Thanks again!

Will

PS--Seboyle, I will take you up on your offer, look out for my DM!
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