Okay… get ready for a lot of pictures. This was easily one of my favourite hikes with the boys. I will start by describing Brandy Wine Falls; however, the real attraction on this day was the Whistler Train Wreck… Stay tuned!
Brandy Wine Falls. I have been going here since I was a kid. I have hiked here, camped here, picnicked here, stopped to go to the washroom here. It is about 15 to 20 mins out from Whistler Village and right of the Sea to Sky highway. There are many trails here including a trail to Lava Lake and the Bungee Bridge, but the reason most people stop here is the falls.
From the parking lot it is a very accessible, stroller and wheelchair friendly, 1 km hike to the lookout point with pretty much zero elevation. The hike takes about a half hour, yet you could stay at that lookout point examining the 70m drop and taking selfies for quite sometime.
If you keep hiking down the trail about another 100m you come to another lookout point that provides sight lines down the entire valley. This day was a little smokey from all of the local forest fires, but we could still see quite far.
After a little practise scrambling up boulders we headed back to the van and we continued towards Whistler turning off at Function Junction onto “Legacy Way” and then right on to “Jane Lakes Rd.” Follow the signs directing you to the train wreck parking and look for the sign to mark the “Sea to Sky Trail” that heads off into the forest.
I had not been this way to the Train Wreck before. The only other time I had been you had to walk down the train tracks to get to it; however, due to the popularity of the area, an new gravel trail and suspension bridge have been built to access the area and I have to say they did an amazing job. The trail is approximately 2km and should take you 1 – 1.5 hours. The trail is well maintained packed gravel. It is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs; however, there are some steep spots, especially heading down the switch backs towards the Cheakamus river and suspension bridge (see photos) and it is a bit of a workout getting back up. It is worth it though, the suspension bridge alone is a beautiful piece of art, but it’s what is on the other side that will stun you.
One you get to the other side of the suspension bridge the trails curls up and to the right. I wasn’t sure I could get the stroller through but if you go right to the top of the trail there are two fallen trees that you can squeeze between and then it opens up into softer forest floor with roots spread out enough that you can navigate between. There are 7 boxcars in total 5 are sort of clustered in this area. There are 2 more a couple minutes downstream but these are not accessible by strollers or wheelchairs.
Now, make sure you take your camera. I love graffiti and urban art and the juxtaposition of these giant metal containers covered in graffiti against the backdrop of the brown and green trees and blue green of the river is almost surreal. My boys fell in love with the both the sensory input of the vibrant colours and the simple awesomeness of giant chunk of rusted metal settled against the tree trunks. This boxcars have sat in their current location since about 1956.
Side Note: Wanna give your kids something to do the night before you go? Have them research the Whistler Train Wreck. It actually remained quite a mystery how the boxcars got to their current location. (I won’t wreck it for you – See what I did there).
My son took my camera for a while and played photographer, climbing, squatting to get certain angles. We were there exploring for quite a while and it is a great place to sit and have a snack and some water.
When you are ready to leave, head back across the suspension bridge and back along the same trail. It is more uphill on the way back.
For a treat… You are 5-10 mins outside of Whistler Village. Take your pick, but our favourite is the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Candy Apples, caramel and m&m covered cookies (the size of your face), fudge, amond bark, bear paws, and all kinds of other treats. We go for the ice cream. It is unbelievable. I’m pretty sure I put on weight just from the smell in there 🙂