Whistler is one of the best ultimate adventure destinations in British Columbia. Few places get on our radar that keep us coming back again and again for more adventure. Whistler always seems to have more to discover, and unique places to discover too, like the Whistler Train Wreck hike.
One of our favourite hikes to do in Whistler is to the Train Wreck. The Train Wreck site is a popular attraction and is located near the Cheakamus River, just south of Whistler. The outdoor art gallery is celebrated for its visual juxtaposition of metal and nature, history and culture. These rusty box cars have been transformed with a little spray paint into a really unique outdoor art gallery.
We brought the kids along for the fun this time. The kids became so wide-eyed by the train cars around them. Most of the 4.5km (out and back) trail to the Whistler Train Wreck site is easy. The trail only one very short steep downhill section near the suspension bridge, but the hike is definitely easy enough for all ages.
The suspension bridge you cross needed to be added back in 2016. This is because people would illegally (and dangerously) hike to the train wreck along train tracks.The added bridge has a fun locomotive feel. Crossing the suspension bridge, you’re crossing the Cheakamus River rushing below you. Once you’re across the suspension bridge, you’re almost there.
Related Story – One Of Whistler’s Best Waterfalls: Alexander Falls
A short distance away from the bridge, you’ll find yourself surrounded by box cars. Seven box cars have been painted again and again by local artists. Just like how the rings of a tree stump show the age of trees, the layers of paint show years of beautiful artistic expression. The sight is both eerie and beautiful. Mountain biking ramps have also been built.
How did the box cars even get there?
According to research from the Whistler Museum, the train derailed in 1956 when a freighter heading south from Lillooet came too fast into an area under track repair. It was the fourth engine that turned a rail and caused the train wreck. The wreck happened in a rock cut after the boxcars, which were loaded with lumber, got jammed and blocked the line. A logging company owned by Whistler’s Valleau family was hired to remove the cars with their heavy duty logging machines. The trains were dragged up the tracks and rolled into the forest where you find them today. Now, after 65 years, the forest has continued to thrive around the box cars. A twisted mystery for years, it is nice to now have some insight into how it all happened.
Take a look at the trail and what we found:
Related Story – Vallea Lumina: Whistler’s Forest Of Enchantment
Related Story – Dancing In The Treetops In Whistler
Related Story – Flying Through The Sky And Feeling Like Superheroes
How to get to the Whistler Train Wreck:
- From Vancouver, head north on the Sea to Sky Highway towards Whistler.
- As you are approaching Whistler, take a right at Function Junction, onto Cheakamus Lake Road.
- Veer right onto Legacy Way, and take the bridge over the Cheakamus River.
- Take the next right on Jane Lakes Road.
- You’ll pass the Cheakamus River Forest Service Road on your right.
- Just beyond the service road you will see a parking area to your left.
- There is signage for the Train Wreck Site.