Any Vancouverite can tell you that some of the best hiking in the province is found in and around Whistler, just a couple hours outside Vancouver, BC. Some of the most Instagram-worthy shots are found amongst picturesque glacial lakes like Garibaldi or Joffre Lake. However, these can involve quite a bit of advanced hiking and full day excursions.
Train Wreck Trail, on the other hand, is an easy, family-friendly hike just a 10-minute drive outside of the village. The trail leads to where a timber-laden train derailed over 60 years ago. Today, the mangled boxcars are scattered over a 1km radius and have become an extraordinary bike park, hiking destination, and iconic work of art for Whistler.
Located just south of Whistler, the Train Wreck Trail follows a gravel path as it winds its way through the towering cedar and fir trees, alongside the emerald green rapids of the Cheakamus River. Where the path meets the river, you cross a newly-completed, wooden-planked suspension bridge which offers some fantastic views of the mountain river rushing below.
The Train Wreck
The train derailed in 1956 just south of Whistler when it came to an area of repair along the tracks, traveling at more than twice the speed limit (35mph in a 15mph zone). To clear the tracks, the seven battered boxcars were strewn amongst the dense forest, where they still lie today. Over the decades, the adventurous mountain bikers have turned the train cars into a series of complicated jumps and tracks. At the same time, the abandoned cars also became a destination for graffiti artists. A sign at the site even notes that 40 years ago, in an Australian travel guide, the boxcars appeared as a place to stay cheaply in Whistler!
The combination of the lush green surroundings, the impossibility of where the boxcars rest, and the colourful graffiti art layered amongst the metal has made the Train Wreck one of Whistler’s most unique and photographed spots.
While it is a quick and easy 30 minute hike, it is definitely recommended to allow yourself plenty of time to explore the boxcars. The Train Wreck Trail follows the Sea to Sky Trail as it winds through the Cheakamus Valley. For the best driving and parking directions, I recommend checking out the Vancouver Trails website, where they provide maps and other useful details about the trail.
If you are looking for more easy hiking adventures from the city, make sure to check out the Othello Tunnels Trail! You can also read about where to find the best post-hike doughnuts in Vancouver (because you did good with all that hiking, you deserve a treat!)
I hope you enjoyed this post, please let me know in the comments below if you have any other hiking favourites in BC or beyond!