Destination Showcase: Whistler, BC - The Perfect 4 Day Itinerary

Jul 5, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
Views: 6,725    Faves: 23    Comments: 0


Whistler, BC
The Perfect 4 Day Itinerary
Words: Andrew Daly // Photography: Chris Pilling & Nathan Hughes // Video: Peter Wojnar

Presented by Tourism Whistler.


Whistler is known as a mountain biking mecca, with its world-class bike park and over 300km of singletrack in the valley. With all that and a ton of other stuff to do on your down days, it's tough to know where to start. Well fear not, because we have designed a perfect four day itinerary.



Day 1: I Only Ride Park

It’s an easy choice… Whistler Bike Park. World renowned and in a class of its own. With the addition of the new Creek Zone it's even better. Opening only a couple of weeks ago, it represents a mix of flow and tech—truly classic Whistler style riding.


The biggest additon to the Whistler Bike park in quite some time is open for business and business is good.
The biggest addition to the Whistler Bike park in quite some time is open for business, and business is good.

Earth Circus
Earth Circus


If the turns aren t enough for you there s pleanty of hits along the way.
If the turns aren't enough for you, there's plenty of hits along the way.




Creek Zone offers up beautifully crafted flow trails such as Insomnia and Earth Circus which will have your cornering dialled in in no time. They are designed as top to bottom flow trails with high speed lines and doubles to keep you on your toes. Classed as intermediate (blue) trails, they are a great place to start your Creek Zone exploration.

Roll em double em scrub em. the choice is yours.
Roll 'em, double 'em, scrub 'em. the choice is yours.

Insomnia will have you laying awake at night counting the number of corners you railed in a 3 minute run
Insomnia will have you laying awake at night counting the number of corners you railed in a 3 minute run

Ever hear of velcro dirt Yeah this is better.
Ever hear of velcro dirt? Yeah this is better.

Lots of options to play on
Lots of options to play on


Now that you’re warmed up the next trail should be Delayed Fuse - roots, rocks, chutes and tight switchbacks Delayed Fuse is an advanced (black) trail that embodies the technical singletrack Whistler is known for.


Delayed Fuse Creek Zones current Flagship tech trail offers fast riding with no shortage of soft dirt littered with challenging roots.
Delayed Fuse, Creek Zones current Flagship tech trail offers fast riding with no shortage of soft dirt littered with challenging roots.

The locals seem to approve
The locals approve

Creekside Gondola open for business 10am to 8pm daily
Creekside Gondola is open 10am to 7pm daily

Creeksides new bike carriers make your ride to the top about chatting with friends not avoiding a tire to the face.
Creeksides new bike carriers are awesome.


After your first few runs you’re likely grinning ear to ear. The Creek Zone is full of other new trail options including Midgard into South Park, and accesses existing trails like BC’s Trail. From the top of the Creekside Gondola the rest of the park is easily accessible with options to scoot down to the infamous Garbanzo Zone or access the Top of The World trail at the top of the Peak Chair via Big Red Chair. And if they're on your bucket list, go hit the WBP classics of A-Line, Dirt Merchant, Schleyer, etc.


Ride first then enjoy some apres at on of whistlers best patios GLC.
The iconic Dusty's patio, one of Whistler's best patios.


Rounding out your day at either Dusty’s Bar in Creekside or the Garibaldi Lift Co in Whistler village (GLC) for apres, you’ve just nailed day 1 like a local.


The iconic Dusty s patio


Dusty s plates up some fantastic ribs
Dusty's plates up some fantastic ribs
Great atmosphere and a pool table found at Dusty s in Creekside






Day 2: Explore Beyond The Park

Using Trailforks you can explore all the riding Whistler has to offer. Get amped to hit one of Whistler’s most classic trail zones, opposite the valley from the bike park. More mysterious than the bike park, Whistler's Westside is an intertwining network of the best technical trails on the planet. This might be a good day to go with a guide or link up with some locals, so that you can make the most of your time, but a good place to start is the old classic Danimal.


Arbutus Routes guides will brief you on your day of exploration.
Arbutus Routes guides can help with day of exploration.

No whistler trail ride is without its climbs
No whistler trail ride is without its climbs

Improve your skill with a little coaching along the way
Some coaching.
Trail brief
Trail brief.

Then send it

Line choice makes a difference and the locals know all the lines.
The locals know all the lines.



Trail Forks providing valuable information to keep you on track.
Trailforks keeping you on track.


The Westside is also an area that is home to the Lord Of The Squirrels (LOTS) trail, an alpine epic that takes around 4-6 hours to climb into the alpine and descend superbly built intermediate single track; mountain and lake views are in abundance. Above average fitness and knowledge of backcountry travel is recommended.


A beautiful snow melt river flows its way down the mountain
A beautiful snow melt river flows its way down the mountain

No whistler trail ride is without its climbs

Whistlers west side trails are known for their rockfaces.
Whistlers west side trails are known for their rockfaces.


A proper post-Westside activity is to hit up one of Whistler’s many lakes for a dip. Rainbow Park on Alta Lake is located on the Westside, with stunning views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, plus it has volleyball nets, a beach and a swimming dock.




After your ride take in the sights at rainbow park
After your ride take in the sights at rainbow park



Lakeside Park is easily accessible right off Highway 99 or via the Valley Trail (a network of 40km of paved trails that link one end of the valley to the other) between Creekside and Whistler Village and looks back over the valley towards Sproatt and Rainbow Mountains. Lakeside Park offers a tuck shop, multiple docks for swimming, paddle board/kayak rentals, and a great local vibe.

Whistler’s nightlife offers a plethora of dining and entertainment options. From bar appetizers to family restaurants and fine dining, much like Whistler’s trails - there is something for everyone. Round out your massive second day by sampling some of Whistler Village's culinary hot spots and a few drinks at the bar of your choice.





Day 3: Rest & Recovery (optional)

The plan always starts with having another park day planned, but remember those "few drinks" last night? Thanks to them, this is now your ‘rest day,’ but we use the term loosely. There’s a reason Whistler is continually voted the number one resort in North America: there are so many things to do.

Maybe an alpine or valley hike accessible from your doorstep, a cruisy pedal on the not-technical-at-all Lost Lake trail network, a quad bike tour to the beautiful Callaghan Valley just south of Whistler, a day relaxing at the hot and cold pools of Scandinave Spa, a quick ride up the Whistler Village Gondola, or a round of golf at the Whistler Golf Club—a championship designed course by Arnold Palmer. You name it, Whistler has it.





Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Day 4: Get To The Chopper

The day you’ve really been waiting for. No perfect Whistler MTB trip is complete without heli-biking. It's is an incredible way to see Whistler from the air and get a true perspective of how vast and beautiful the region is. Providing easy access to the alpine, Blackcomb Helicopters offer reasonably priced heli-drops to Rainbow Mountain, situated across the valley from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop
Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop


Once you’ve been dropped on the peak of Rainbow Mountain and the thump of the helicopter rotors fades into the background you have all the time in the world to soak in the incredible views and pristine setting of the alpine meadows below. Recommended for advanced riders only, from the alpine you’ll descend through high speed flowering meadows into rocky, rooty, old school singletrack nearly 1700m to the valley floor. It’s a memory that’s sure to stick with you for the rest of your life and an epic way to round out your trip.


Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop

Pinkbike Rainbow Heli-drop





Presented by Tourism Whistler.
To learn more about biking in Whistler or to book a trip, visit whistler.com/bike.



109 Comments

  • + 72
 Pinkbike has their own helicopter?!?

Nice gaff if you can get it. But seriously you don't need ads to get me to want to go there, it just makes me more depressed that I can't afford to for the foreseeable future.

If your wife says do you want to have children? Just say NO!
  • + 6
 a freakin' PB heli!!!!
  • + 2
 Good lord.....
  • + 3
 I did the Pemberton drop last year, the chopper ride was definitely the highlight of that day, the trail down was kind of meh. Upper part was generic alpine xc riding and lower part was a brake burner through burned out forest. That chopper ride though, super fun.
  • + 7
 Sorry to hear...we have 6 month old and my wife was adamant we go this summer.
  • + 2
 @Jaylynx: You have the advantage of at least being on the same land mass...
  • + 1
 Step : give away all the spots .
  • + 9
 @veero I've made it over the hump, this will be year #2 of bringing my 7-year-old. He tears up the Lost Lake singletrack and last year did most of Del Boca Vista, half of B-Line, and many laps of EZ. He's done by lunchtime and its back to the room for him while daddy rides big boy trails. Granted I can drive to Whistler so it costs quite a bit less. Chin up mate, you'll make it happen someday!
  • + 2
 @Jaylynx: Dude.
  • + 3
 Oh man... kids are damn expensive. Kiss that thought of new carbon bike bye bye. It will only make you resent your current bike more haha.
  • + 16
 Pinkbike owns a sticker, Blackcomb Helicopters owns a helicopter Wink
  • + 2
 I'll be there the first week of August with my wife. Kids will be with my mom. I'm not rich but I'm making it happen. Just sayin'.
  • + 0
 What kind of toilet paper would you recommend while staying in BC?
  • + 0
 Blackcomb Helicopters is your ticket to heli-biking!
  • + 1
 @twozerosix: Motivating to read this comment dude... expecting my first son end of August about to list my DH bike for sale... I know I'll be back in a few years and in the mean time I'll get the odd ride on the shore on my trail bike. Lucky to live in Vancouver for sure.
  • + 2
 @gramboh: cool man congrats. Start saving for his bikes - don't get the junk that 'normal' kids ride - and my only other advice is try as hard as you can to not give up your 'set' riding times/days. For me its Sunday morning. Everything in the world will conspire to steal my Sunday morning. Has to be non-negotiable. Wake up at 4am, whatever, you can't take it.

Hold on to the DH if possible!
  • + 1
 @Kitejumping: give the Britannia Squamish heli drop a try. Truly a bucket list ride.
  • + 0
 @twozerosix: Thanks man. I hear you about schedules, other dads have told me the same thing. I'll be aiming for the same thing, early morning weekend local ride.
  • + 0
 @fecalmaster: username checks out
  • + 2
 @Kitejumping: That middle part to the cabin blows doesn't it...
  • + 1
 @Kitejumping: We did this as well in September of last year, agree with the assessment. Will try Rainbow mountain this year, though it may be a little above our pay grade.......
  • + 1
 I jump without a kite like a real man!
  • + 62
 Day 5 declare bankruptcy
  • + 33
 My last five Whistler trips have gone as follows. day 1, Squamish trails. Day 2-5, ride park. Day 6, drag aching body out of bed and ride more park, even though your body's screaming for mercy. Day 7-10, ride more park and struggle with grip strength and pain the whole time. Day 11, 16 hour driving mission back to home. Day 12, call in sick to work because you can hardly move.
  • + 2
 @cthorpe fk yeah!!
  • + 19
 Only one day in Squamish? SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
  • + 4
 @scott-townes: yeah, got better bike options now. Next trip will entail more days in Squamish and hopefully Pemberton too.
  • + 6
 Worth dedicating some days for the valley trails in Whistler. The park is fun but the valley trails adds diversity and some would argue even more fun.
  • + 1
 Add in a day or two of North Van and this is basically the trip I had 2 weeks ago. Still going through recovery/withdrawals. Also add a few days of wrenching because now your bike is HAMMERED.
  • + 1
 Sounds like an awesome trip!
  • + 26
 Hi Pinkbike! Just so you guys know, Blackcomb Helicopters is currently in the process of applying for tenure to operate a guided heli-biking service including the development and maintenance of sustainable mountain bike specific trails. At this point we are only able to offer chartered flights to certain existing backcountry trails, where guests will be unguided and responsible for their own ride. Please stand by for updates on our existing application and the future of this program.
  • + 3
 Hi, can you hire me?
  • + 7
 After 8 years of one or two trips to Whistler in the summer I have come to conclude that any multi day riding trip to BC, and especially Whistler should be prepared for by solid weekly training of at least two months, or plan for 3 to 4 days of riding in a week. Only park rats can handle day after day in the park, not to mention your bike which will take a beating as well. Unles you ride 4 to 5 days a week take a day between park days, your forearms will thanks you. If you riding in the valley be prepared for a bunch of climbing, a 60 minute climb will get you 5 to 15 mins of descending depending on your speed, so three to four runs will be the most anyone can handle in a day. I would train hard to go to Whistler, that way you can do three or four days of riding, and get maybe 20 laps in the bike park and five-ish runs on valley days. My worst day in the park was day three of three, only 6 laps and two crashes, followed by multiples beers and burgers. My best day was 21 laps, my son kicks my ass up there and can ride day after day for about a week. I have yet to do Top of the world, we bought tickets one years but that day was almost zero visibility and misting, no point in wasting that trail on that day. Buy your park tickets in guest services, the night before if you think of it, it's right beside the outdoor tickets booths under the GLC and usually way smaller lineups.
  • + 2
 Great advice about preparation. There are plenty of options for more 'mellow' trails on rest days too!
  • + 7
 Mystic -> on the rocks -> happy hour -> lord of the squirrels was worth the climb. With how well the climb trail was graded, it seemed easier than you would expect getting up there.
  • + 0
 Either I'm too weak, or my 11 speed wasn't geared right for it. I walked probably 30% of it and I was passing people that were still trying to ride
  • + 4
 @Icehawk: I was on an 11 speed - 32/42 when I went up last year. There are definitely some steeper sections, but everything is ride-able. Rode up while stopping once or twice after those steep bits to catch my breath. There were definitely tons of people taking a much slower pace, though. It's not a trivial climb, even if the trail itself is gorgeously buffed.
  • + 3
 Also better descent than heli-drop for sure.
  • + 2
 @Icehawk: As a midwesterner, I ran 30/42 on my 29'er. Think it took me somewhere between 1:30-to 1:45 to climb with being in "September shape". Stopped once or twice for 5 min., to let our group catch up. A 32 may of had me put a foot down.
  • + 1
 @tuskenraider: if you were on an orange ibis I think you were climbing faster than most midwesterners that day.
  • + 2
 @Kitejumping: I was, woah........
  • + 6
 Out senior leadership team was just in Whistler...alas stuck indoors talking about ways to make money...to pay my salary so I can afford this.
  • + 5
 oh yeah, i was there too. i signed up for the 1/2 day workshop by pinkbike called "how to secure enough ad revenue to turn yo' pedally bike into a 'choppa". apparently my SEO is a little outta wack and i'm not getting alot of engagement on social.
  • + 6
 You're only in Whistler for 4 days and you're gonna take a rest day?!?! You crazy!
  • + 3
 Just spent 3 weeks in BC. 1st half was straight bike park, couldn't take a day off despite knowing there is unreal trail riding! Two of those day were on Sunshine Coast at Coast Gravity Park (go if you haven't!). 2nd half touring/hiking through Whistler/Squamish/North Van. Such a rad place.
  • + 6
 What is the definition of "reasonably priced heli-drops"?
  • + 3
 150-180$ or so
  • + 2
 Here is a great resource for planning your Whistler trip. It’s also rich on Trailforks data and routes so you can plan your rides when outside of the bike park.

ridespots.com/destination/whistler-british-columbia
  • + 3
 Heli-biking seems like it's the height of self-indulgent wankery, but iit's really only about 300$ a pop for the unconnected punter. That's really not much if you're on the ultimate bikation.
  • + 5
 You're a loser if you golf on day 3.
  • + 3
 OMG I live here.! OK I live on the North Shore and have to pass Squamish to get to Whistler. Rainbow heli shuttle on my bucket list.
  • + 1
 I hate you in the very best way! / soooo jelly!
  • + 2
 @boxxerace:
A house here cost wayyyyy over a million bucks.
Most expensive cell phone bills
Insurance is crazy expensive.
It's great living here if you have a very well paying job.
  • + 1
 @Sshredder: I have heard! Same thing is starting to occur down here in the Seattle area. Median is just over a million Canadian (converted), but still not as nuts as BC / Vancouver.
  • + 1
 IF you were going to Whistler with a family, which trails would you hit? 13yr old boy and 12yr old girl, who ride all cycling disciplines (MTB, road, track and CX), so can handle their bikes but haven't experienced somewhere like Whistler. Plus Mum and Dad in tow!
  • + 2
 Warm up with Lost Lake, there's something for everyone in there. Danimal North, (the trail featured in this video) is a true Westside classic and would be great for the whole family and certainly offers up some challenges. The bike park also has options for all riding types. Use Trailforks for trip planning, it will give you a great understanding of the variety of trails Whistler has to offer and will help you pick those relative to your style and ability.
  • + 1
 This area is pretty good with kids, and the trails around it. www.trailforks.com/trails/riverside There's a neat loop you can do where you ride up one side of the river, cross the suspension bridge and then ride back down the other side. It's bear country, so have a bell on your bikes. (pretty safe bear country, just don't try and pet them).

www.trailforks.com/trails/cheakamus-lake-trail This is a nice scenic and well rounded ride that's not super tech. Gets up to a gorgeous lake.

Don't beget the bike park. Lots and lots of super fun green and blue trails that kids ride all day long. Don't be surprised to see 8 year old Canadian kids out riding you (and me). Also, the jump and skate park and surrounding play things are really fun to ride with your kids, or session yourself. This is next to the river that separates Blackcomb and Whistler. Somehow it's not marked on Trailforks, but you can see it here: www.google.com/maps/place/BMX+Park/@50.116608,-122.951138,309m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xc58c3196ff2598c4!8m2!3d50.1166574!4d-122.9511628?hl=en-US

Have fun and explore a bit. Trails on Blackcomb are bliss!
  • + 1
 For trail riding - definitely start in Lost Lake, from there you can work your way up to Cut Yer Bars and Westside (Andrew's suggestion of Danimal is excellent - it has some challenging features but there's ride-arounds for everything). Trailforks is your best friend!

Definitely make sure to check out the bike park, especially the new Creekside trails (shown in this video!).
  • + 2
 Thanks all, really useful info and tips. A trip over isn't on the cards for this year, due to the kids racing the European youth road tour in Holland, and then a trip to Les Gets to watch the WC. But next year...
  • + 2
 Why oh why do they keep their lids on everywhere they go! Of course while on the bike but walking into a restaurant, on the dock by the lake inside the bike shop? Commercialized cheese wiz.
  • + 10
 Oh god it's my pet peeve. People in the grocery store wearing a helmet, on the bus, waiting in line at MEC...
  • + 5
 @brianpark: evidently they are practicing safety first, and they should paint those lids safety orange
  • + 3
 And while you're at it...take that goddamn piece of fruit outta yer beer, ya numbnut. Fercrissakes.
  • + 1
 @geephlow: second that motion...
  • + 6
 We have really bad hair...
  • + 2
 Like really bad hair ... especially me , im balding really bad like george castanza , can you blame me for keeping that hidden
  • + 1
 @georgiaa: Yup, me too. Sadly I look better with the helmet on than off. :-(
  • + 2
 I was there just one year ago exactly...just talking my buddy about how awesome the trip was...planning on heading back next year for another round.
  • + 4
 Fancy, privileged, entitled, but.....I still want to go.
  • + 2
 People buy $10K bikes is why!
  • + 1
 oh Whistler. I did one day guided tour with Arbutus Routes and it was raining the whole time.. Still had a great time nevertheless. Will try and come back next year... It is a longgggggggggggg way from Sydney Australia
  • + 1
 Ah Whistler. So good, every time. Here's a playlist of YouTube trail videos and Whistler hacks: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRVzAUZu_3ns1hkFSCX9eHESooMGtM0kY
  • + 3
 Those last four shots are $$$$$. That's all you really needed!
  • + 1
 God forbid normal people try to access this places on their own, probably end up in jail! This is only for these people you see here that paid for this trip!
  • + 1
 Creekside and Westside areas are all easily accessed by many riders. Check out the Trailforks app, it's the best way to find trails suited for your ability.
  • + 1
 In the close up shot of the guy and girl with their gear just unloaded from the heli....what shorts does the guy have on?
Need new shorts and would love some extra pockets.
  • + 3
 @hbar314 How do you not know thats Tippie? The guy is an Icon not just that guy.
  • + 1
 tippie is sponsored by maloja..
  • + 1
 @oleole Thanks man!
  • + 2
 A place cannot be "a Mecca." It is either Mecca, or some other place. /pet peeve.
  • + 1
 That is a dope location, really looking forward to riding there this summer.
  • + 2
 8 days until my 4 days in Whistler, so stoked!
  • + 1
 This pretty sums up my weekends,a park day then north, or west side. i want the heli tho!
  • + 2
 Dillon!! you Son of a Bitch!!
  • + 1
 So how much would that cost me Anyway I'll do two days shuttling from Vancouver since sleeping at Whistler is expensive
  • + 1
 Camp at the campground. It is affordable and a great place to stay. Better than commuting.
  • + 1
 @MMOF: Can you recommend a campground?
  • + 3
 @johnnyo5: there's the Riverside RV + campground. S of town there's Cal-Cheak. N of town there's camping closer to Pemberton
  • + 1
 If you take a rest day on day 3 in Whistler, there's a special place in Hell for you.
  • + 2
 Some sweet pics there, thanks!
  • + 2
 Day 0: Win lottery, continue with days 1 through 4
  • + 1
 I am here now for a 4 day bike vacation and agree with all but heli as it is not necessary and expensive.
  • + 1
 Why the 50t dinner plate cassette when you can helicopter or take the gondola to the top?!!
  • + 1
 Ah Whistler. The capitol of Austrailia.
  • + 1
 See you in October Whistler, you little diva.
  • + 1
 Rainbow's End heli-drop: would you take a DH bike or a 150/150 trail bike?
  • + 2
 Trailbike everytime for that trail. You still have to exit via tech jank once you get to Flank
  • + 2
 @leelau: Thanks Lee. Holistic tech jank through classic Whistler west side... #blessed.
  • + 1
 No Helicopter running today,snow on the tops.boo hoo.
  • + 1
 Only one day of peddeling? Those lazy units.
  • + 1
 Is that the same lakeside park as in the Rush song?
  • + 1
 Can the public do heli bumps yet?
  • + 0
 high class shredding.......far cry from the old dirtbags with trucks and blankets and flats of beer! CM!
  • + 4
 MTB.....the new golf!
  • + 1
 Can you do one of these for other areas? Say for example the okanagan?
  • + 4
 We are shooting one for the Okanagan as we speak so keep an eye out for it. Kootenays too.
  • + 1
 Warning: NSFW..
  • + 1
 Get to the choppaa!

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