How to get to the Whistler Train Wreck
Last Updated on October 3, 2022
The Whistler Train Wreck is one of the most unique things to do in Whistler and a fascinating nature meets industry and art experience. It’s a short hike (about 1 kilometer or .6 mile) through a beautiful forest and across a new sturdy yet bouncy suspension bridge. This is a must do stop driving into Whistler from Vancouver.
Parking Pass: None
Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash. My dog got a bit nervous on the suspension bridge, but he did fine with encouragement from us.
Cell phone coverage: Good.
Accessibility and Mobility: The trail is mostly smooth without much elevation gain. There are a few steps and the suspension bridge moves quite a bit, but you can hold on to the side. The trail is shared with mountain bikes, so pay attention to your surroundings if you’re hiking.
Where is the Whistler Train Wreck?
Since 2016, the Whistler Train Wreck can be hiked to safely from the parking lot after the suspension bridge was built over the river. Before that, there was another much less safe and sketchy way to access it over train tracks, and the bridge was built to give people safe and legal access to the site.
The parking lot is off Jane Lakes Road near the Athlete’s Village from the 2010 Olympics. The Whistler Train Wreck parking lot is about 9 kilometers (about 5.5 miles) from Whistler Village, on the way into Whistler from Vancouver.
To get to the parking area, turn off the Sea to Sky Highway on Cheakamus Lake Road. If you’re coming from Vancouver, it’s a right turn (left if you’re coming from Whistler Village). Keep right at the Y in the road, which becomes Legacy Way. Just after crossing the Cheakamus River, turn right on Jane Lakes Road and the parking lot will be on the right. If you enter the condo area you’ve gone just a bit too far.
Park here and find the trail next to the road and then a big sign where you enter the forest.
How did the Whistler Train Wreck happen?
The Whistler Train Wreck happened in 1956, when a freight train loaded with logs was trying to make up time and came through a tricky section of track way too fast. No one was hurt in the accident, and some of the box cars were able to continue their journey. The three cars that remained were too damaged and stuck in the forest to be retrieved and over time graffiti artists turned them into a really unique scene of industry and the natural world.
When is the best time of year to visit the Whistler Train Wreck?
The Whistler train wreck trail is open all year. In winter, use extra caution as ice and snow make the trail and bridge slippery. Snowshoes may be needed in winter when there’s a lot of snow.
It is generally snow free throughout the late spring through fall months.
There are bears in this area so it’s a good idea to hike in a group and consider carrying bear spray. There are numerous signs letting you know what to do if you see a bear (most important – do not run). Pack out all your trash with you and stay alert on this trail.
The trail itself is quite straightforward and easy to follow. The trail is mostly flat, which a few short sections up and down and a few stairs.
The trail is about 1 km (.6 mile) from the parking area, through a lovely forest. The trail is also a mountain biking trail, so keep your pets on a short leash and your children close and pay attention to bikes.
About 2/3 of the way to the train wreck from the parking lot, you’ll reach a trail junction with the Sea to Sky Trail. The sign is covered in graffiti, but you want to go RIGHT here.
In a short distance you’ll descent a bit to the suspension bridge over the Cheakamus River.
Once you cross the bridge, you’ll see the graffitied train wreck box cars stuck among the giant evergreen trees that block most of the sun.
Wander around until you are ready to return, heading back across the suspension bridge and LEFT at the trail junction to return to the parking area.
Where to stop for food and drink after
The Whistler Train Wreck trail is very close to Function Junction, which is a great place to grab a beer or some food after your hike. Functional Pie is great for pizza, and Whistler Brewing also has good bar food.
Electric Vehicle Charging near the Whistler Train Wreck
There is EV fast charging in Whistler Village as well as in Squamish.