Last Updated on August 8, 2021
Parkhurst Ghost Town is still a lesser-known hike in the Whistler area. The trailhead starts down a service road and because the start of the trail is unmarked, it takes a little more effort to find your way.
What Is Parkhurst?
When Parkhurst was a thriving town, it was a small logging settlement that started in 1926 and was located along the beautiful Green Lake in Whistler, British Columbia. The Barr Brothers Logging Company had purchased the land from a widow named Mrs. Parkhurst. Soon after, a mill and housing were built. It is said that around 70 loggers worked in the area each summer. The mill would close from two to five months of the year due to the snow.
The Great Depression hit and the mill went under. The mill was bought out by another logging company and became Northern Mills. A fire caused the mill to burn down in 1938, but it still managed to bounce back, with a school and shop being added. The mill could not withstand when the industry took another hit in the 1950s, and by 1966 Parkhurst was abandoned.
To learn more about Parkhurst Ghost Town, there is more information on the Whistler Museum website.
How Much Of Parkhurst Remains?
Today there really is not too much left within Parkhurst that is standing. You will notice some historical artifacts throughout the forest, as well as things like a toilet and bathtub. You will see the areas where buildings once were, but are no more than a pile of rubble today. Our favorite remnants from the Parkhurst Ghost Town are a truck, a cabin full of graffiti art, and an old vehicle. It is interesting to see it all being consumed by the forest.
Off The Beaten Path
This trail is a little off the beaten path. Ensure you have your essentials with you, as well as ensure you practice Leave No Trace.
Distance: 7.7 km loop
Difficulty: Moderate (some route finding is necessary)
Time: 2-3 hours
Elevation Gain: 221 m
Best time to go: April to October
Directions To The Trailhead
Go North from Whistler on Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway. You will drive along Green Lake. Follow the signs for Wedgemount Lake trail, and turn right onto Wedge Creek Forest Service Road. You will cross a set of train tracks and a single-lane bridge. Turn right at the fork and follow the road until you hit a dead-end, after passing two locked yellow gates.
The service road does have potholes but is 2WD accessible. Our Honda Odyssey family van had no issues reaching the trailhead.
These Google Map directions will also help you to find your way to the trailhead.
Parkhurst Ghost Town Hiking Directions
There is no signage marking the trailhead to start your hike to the Parkhurst Ghost Town. You will not see a trail marker until you see the trail entrance into the forest.
After you park near the yellow second gate, you will see a graffiti-covered cement slab at a forest entrance a few feet from the gate. Pass the cement block and follow that trail into the forest. You will first cross a bridge that looks like it has seen better days and then must wander along some train tracks. Be careful, as trains still run along the tracks today. The train tracks split off into left and right. Stay along the tracks on the right, and you will eventually see a trail marker that leads you into the forest on your left. I realize how confusing that may sound, so this is what you will want to be walking along:
You will see a sign when you enter the forest, and another directing you when you get close to the Parkhurst Loop portion of the trail. The trail itself is easy to follow, has trail markers, and is well-worn.
When you come out of the forest, turn right to follow the Parkhurst Loop portion. You will notice that the direction you came from is marked as the “harder” trail to get there on the trail marker. When you finish the loop and end up back at the “harder” trail marker to leave, if you do not wish to return the way you came, you can take the “easier” marked trail. However, you will be walking along a long gravel service road, as well as wandering through a path that is overgrown and almost hidden by bushes. After taking the overgrown and boring service road, we thought that it may have been better to return down through the gorgeous forest.
You can also do the trail in the opposite direction, by following the service road that is behind the second yellow gate, until you reach a trail marker. This way, you will want to follow the Sea to Sky Trail signs. You will know you are going in the right direction by crossing a bridge at Wedge Falls and above Wedge Creek about 750m from the second yellow gate.
Also keep in mind that this part of the trail, while you are walking along the service road, is completely exposed to the elements. It was a 34-degree day when we did this hike and this part of the trail was not fun. It was a lot cooler and enjoyable to take the trail through the forest.
Parkhurst Trail Maps
When you do this trail, we recommend that you have Alltrails on your phone for the beginning part. It will give you some confidence that you are going in the right direction. When you get to the Ghost Town Loop, there is also a hiking map that you can follow to help you.
We would highly recommend finding the trailhead by starting the trail in the direction that we did, from behind the cement block, instead of wandering down the service road behind the second yellow gate. Especially if it is a hot day, I would also recommend retracing your steps back through the forest for a nicer hike after exploring the Parkhurst Ghost Town Loop.
As it was a hot 34-degree day when we did the hike, we really could use a cool-off. We took our time and kept hydrated, but it was so nice to be able to dip our legs into Green Lake. When you are walking along the Parkhurst Ghost Town loop, you will notice a trail or two that branches off the main trail. Follow that trail, carefully cross the train tracks; the tracks are still active today. You will further see more trails to take you to small beach pockets along Green Lake. It was the perfect way to have a little refresh.
Fun Fact: When the mill was in operation, you could only reach Parkhurst by train.
There’s plenty to explore in Whistler:
Hiking The Whistler Train Wreck Trail
Snowmobiling Thrills In The Whistler Backcountry
Alexander Falls In Whistler
Snowy Adult Getaway To Whistler
Vallea Lumina: Whistler’s Forest Of Enchantment
Whistler Treetop Adventure
Biathlon Rifle Shooting At Whistler Olympic Park
A Thrilling Summer Bobsleigh Experience In Whistler
Whistler has what feels like a never-ending amount of unique and gorgeous hiking trails. The Parkhurst Ghost Town hike is among one of the most unique. If you enjoy this trail, you will also want to experience another ghostly-feeling hike by doing the Whistler Train Wreck.
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