Whistler is known as a sporting paradise, but the sheer beauty of the area is recognized internationally. Tour companies offer day trips from Vancouver and people often visit simply to soak in the mountain environment and to try and spot bears. Whistler is close enough to Vancouver to be accessible, yet wild enough to be truly Canadian.
The majestic coastal mountains are snow covered, animals are common and British Columbia maintains a series of provincial parks throughout the region. Sightseeing in Whistler is reason enough to visit, and here, Culture Trip looks at the best places to enjoy it. Beautiful British Columbia is a reasonable moniker.
This connecting gondola and cable car system is the pinnacle of sightseeing in Whistler and reason enough to visit. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are connected by the Peak 2 Peak cable, and two of the cars have glass floors. Gondolas take you up and down either mountain. It is easy to hike or walk from the various lifts. On a sunny day the views are simply unbelievable.
Perhaps surprisingly, the drive to Whistler and beyond is as worth the journey as the destination itself. Leaving Vancouver, the highway is designated 99 and leads first to the village of Horseshoe Bay (where ferries leave for Vancouver Island), then turns north towards Whistler. The road can be busy, but the drive is spectacular and well named as it follows a fjord before climbing further into the mountains.
On the edge of Squamish about half way to Vancouver from Whistler, the Shannon Falls are 1,100 feet (335m) high and offer easy parking, a paved path and in spring, thunderous water. The falls are BC’s third highest and the most popular picnic stop on the Sea to Sky Highway. Watch for eagles!
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Whistler is a resort that has been designed for pedestrians. This is particularly appealing in a North American context. The village can be very expensive, but the architecture is attractive and the shopping popular. Bars and restaurants are everywhere and a range of international brands is present. There is no point in visiting Whistler without enjoying all the resort has to offer.
Just south of Whistler Village, in the Callaghan Valley, the area was developed for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The park area has both winter and summer sporting activities, and visitors can try biathlon shooting year round. The facilities are well worth visiting and, in winter, this is a place to cross-country ski and skate. The ski jumps are among the most modern in North America.
Paths around the resort area open all of Whistler to visitors. Alta Lake, within the municipality, can be safely visited by bike, as can the wilder areas frequented by all the animals of the region. Road and touring bikes can be rented in the village, along with mountain bikes for the exciting downhill trails. Bear spray is strongly recommended.