Monday, 25 August 2014

Hike to Whistler Train Wreck

Here is an easy hike to do in Whistler, and is about 6 km in total length. It took about 1.5 hours to do return with stops to see the viewpoints and to spend time at the train wreck too.

Start at Function Junction to get to the trailhead. The path is behind Olive's Organic Market (a great place to stop for some food and bakery items if you need some). The path is right behind the building, through the parking lot. 

Once on the trail, look for a sign directing you towards the train wreck.  This should be the path straight ahead, not the Flank Trail heading back to Alpha Lake. 

Walk along the trail for a while and then you will come to a gravel clearing. Look for two painted rocks on the left hand side. This leads you to the continuing trail. 
Turn down this trail on the left hand side, and soon you will go under the highway underpass , walking along the rocks by the river for a short section. 

Continue along the trail and soon you will come to some railway tracks. Cross tracks and look for a pathway on the opposite side. Some people walk along the tracks to the train wreck, but I would avoid doing this, as you will miss the viewpoint of a beautiful waterfall, and also the tracks are still live and trains do run along them at least once a day, so try to stay off the tracks and be aware when you are near them. 

Find the trail once again across the tracks and follow it .

 Soon you will see a gorgeous waterfall and viewpoints of the river. I love the blue green color of the water, so vibrant! This is a nice place to stop and enjoy the beauty of the area. 

The trail will pop out again at the train tracks. Just follow to the left of the tracks for a moment and you will find the trail again on the left hand side. 

Keep to the left of the tracks
The trail on the left hand side of the tracks will now lead you to the train wreck. Soon you will see the train cars though the trees, a somewhat eerie sight. It is estimated that a train crashed in the late 1950's, but clean up of the wreck was deemed to be too expensive so the cars were just left. 

The forest has grown in around the cars, with the train cars now just a scar on the landscape. A unique part of this story is the way in which what was deemed to be garbage has now turned into a feature, both artistically and recreationally. The cars are covered in graffiti and some really beautiful and interesting artwork, ever evolving as others come to leave their mark on the cars.

There are also remnants of mountain bike ramps and jumps around the train cars, signs of life in an otherwise quiet place in the forest. 

Stay for a while and explore, then turn around and head back the same way you came, back to Function Junction. 

A side note: Be sure to check out Function Junction when you are done, there are lots of great retail stores there, like Purebread  (delicious bakery), Whistler Brewing Company, Olive's Organic Market, as noted above and it's even fun to check out the Whistler thrift store , The Re-Use It Centre, just to see what they have (sometimes this is a good place to get used ski gear, bindings, etc.. for cheap). 

Have fun exploring! 

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