Located in the province of British Columbia, is this beautifully unique Whistler train wreck hike. The moment I saw colorful photos of the railway compartment peaking through the green forest, I knew I had to explore it when I visited BC.
In this post, we have put together a detailed guide on visiting the train wreck trail with pictures for inspiration for your trip!
How to get to the Whistler Train Wreck Hike?
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Here are the basics and logistics for getting to the trailhead
- Located in: Whistler, British Columbia
- Nearest Airport: Vancouver, BC
- Best time to visit: May to November
- Entry fees: No
- Public transportation: No
- Parking: Yes, available nearby
- Level: Easy
- Distance: 2 kilometres or 1.24 miles (round trip)
Train Wreck Hike in Whistler: Trailhead
The Train Wreck site can be accessed at the south end of Whistler in the Cheakamus Crossing neighborhood. There is no public transportation available to get there. You can either drive or take a cab and ask for the ‘train wreck site’.
From Vancouver International Airport, you can embark on the north on the Sea to Sky Highway towards Whistler. You can take a bus or drive to get to Whistler town.
If driving, take Highway 99 and follow Cheakamus Lakes Road to Legacy Way. From there, turn right off of Legacy Way onto Jane Lakes Road.
You will find the trailhead, located at the bottom of Jane Lakes Road. There is a big sign that welcomes you to the trail.
Opposite the trailhead is a parking area. So park your vehicle and walk across the road, and hit the trail.
Parking is located at the Interpretive Forest parking off Cheakamus Lake Road on the east side of Highway 99.
History of Whistle Train Wreck
The train wreck dates back to 1956 when CN boxcars were derailed. It was loaded with lumber that got jammed and blocked the line.
So several of the wrecked compartments that were blocking the train tracks were pushed into the forest and left there – unattended. When you visit today you won’t see any signs of derailment, it just looks like it was perfectly ‘staged here’ with graffiti art.
The actual incident happened a few miles away, and it was not inside the forest.
When you take a peek into the train cars you will find they are rusted. They are hollow inside.
It is believed that the train was speeding, and derailed near the Cheakamus River, just south of the community of Alta Lake (Whistler).
In the beginning, not many people knew about the CN boxcars. In the 1990s, it was urbanized and made all pretty with colorful graffiti – and it’s unique in the middle of the deep forest with ancient trees; and the canyon makes it a nice getaway for the weekend, for photo and nature lovers.
Today the trail is well marked and it has signs leading you to the seven boxcars and the colorful sight!
Hike to the Train Wreck Site
Once you reach the trailhead, follow signs to the train wreck site. This short trail also takes you over a suspension bridge, offering scenic views of the Cheakamus River and the canyons.
The hiking route follows the Sea To Sky Trail. The majority of the trail to the Whistler Train Wreck site is easy, with only 30 m elevation gain. You will love the gravel route amidst all the greenery.
The suspension bridge and the Cheakamus River view are particularly stunning. Do spend some time here, soaking in the views.
This suspension bridge was built in the summer of 2016 to allow visitors to access the train wreck site safely (rather than trespassing illegally on the railroad’s property). The bridge connects trails on the east and west side of the River, and it is located about 800 meters into the hike.
After crossing the suspension bridge, you will only have to walk a short distance up the hill, and then you will find the train wreck site. Once you are there you will find the painted box cars.
Do take the time to walk around and check out the wreck. Take photographs, wander around and just enjoy the view.
At this site, you will also find new ramps that have been built for mountain bikers.
Trash Trail – an alternate option
With the network of new hiking and biking trails, you can also access the Train Wreck Hike in Whistler via the Trash Trail.
For this route, take the singletrack as you return to the Cheakamus side of the bridge and follow along the river. You will be greeted with rushing rapids, and waterfalls.
The Trash Trail is slightly more challenging than the previous one I highlighted. You can expect elevation, and uneven terrain and will be best enjoyed by those with a good fitness level.
Good to know: You will love to know that there are biking routes to enjoy and form a part of the South Whistler Mountain Bike Trails.
What to pack for a hike?
For a nice and easy hike, remember to pack/wear the following items
- Wear hiking shoes or boots. This is a must. The trail is uneven, and goes through a forested area. Here are my favorite pair
- Apply sunscreen. When you are enjoying the outdoors, sunscreen is important for protection
- Waterproof jacket. Do pack a lightweight waterproof jacket when you hit the trails. It rained when I was hiking (in the month of August)
- Adhere to bear safety tips
- Don’t forget your camera!
Things to do in and around Train Wreck Hike
The Function Junction neighborhood is located near the Train Wreck Trailhead. When visiting from this side, the trailhead is located behind Olive’s Market. Function Junction is a cool area where you can hang out, dine and just enjoy a stroll.
From here, you can also embark on the Flank Trail. This trail goes right across the Valley, providing stunning views of Whistler Village and of course mountains – Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.
The Flank Trail also has a ton of biking and hiking trails. Plus there are a ton of wooden bridges and pretty sights to behold. The alpine landscape is gorgeous and it welcomes you to many pretty lakes and greenery!
As the trailhead is located along Highway 99, you can also explore many BC provincial parks when driving from Vancouver to Whistler. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is one to consider. It is located along the Sea To Sky Highway (Highway #99) between Squamish and Whistler and is worth a stop if visiting the area.
So there you have it. I hope you found this post on visiting the Train Wreck site in Whistler useful in planning your trip.
I completed the trail solo, and it is safe to do so.