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Free activities in Whistler: The Ultimate Guide to Whistler on the Cheap

lakes side park lounging.

The Ultimate Guide to Whistler on the Cheap

Whistler can be an intimidating destination to visit. Prices of accommodation, food, and activities can drive many to search for a cheaper, more affordable vacation destination. However, if you make your way up to Whistler even for a day trip, you can keep things on the cheaper side with a couple of tricks. Packing your lunch is an easy way to save your pennies. To help you save we have come up with a couple free activities in Whistler for you to try out.

The Train Wreck Hike

A great free activity in Whistler that does not take a big time commitment and has a very rich heritage is the Trainwreck hike. The trainwreck hike takes you to a number of old boxcars moved from the site of an old train wreck in 1956. The hike begins in Function Junction with an easy walk over to Cheakamus and the Jane Lakes FSR. The hike is relatively short and takes you through the beautiful old-growth forest, then across the Cheakamus River via a suspension bridge. You will then find the painted box cars that have sat in the forest for decades. The easy hike is around 2 kilometers round trip with plenty of signage. For more in-depth instructions, you can check it out on Vancouver hikes.

Mountain Bike at Lost Lake

If you bring a bike with you on your vacation, a great way to spend an afternoon is in Lost Lake or Whistler valley’s world-class mountain bike trails. These trails are free to access and with maintenance courtesy of the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA). If you are riding in the area frequently, we recommend purchasing a yearly WORCA membership to help with trail upkeep, signage, and new trails. However, if you are up for just a day or riding the trails for the first time, there is no expectation for a donation or trail permit. The trails around Lost Lake are great for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers, providing some technical challenges and flowy single and double track. If mountain biking isn’t your cup of tea, the cross-country ski trails from the winter turn into great gravel biking loops for summer activities.

Lounge at Lakeside Park

If you are looking for a more relaxing activity, there are many spots to relax by the lakes on a hot summer day. Lakeside Park is an ideal spot to set up for the day and catch some rays. Lakeside Park is on Alta Lake, the warmest lake in the Whistler valley, making it great for swimming and spending time in the water. At Lakeside Park, there are docks to jump off, a designated swimming area for the younger guests, and many amenities provided by Backroads Whistler. Backroads provide a food and beverage stand with small snacks, drinks, ice cream, changerooms, and bathrooms. If you are feeling ancy, you can rent a canoe, kayaks, peddle boats, and paddleboards from Backroads for a morning or afternoon. For on-shore activities, there is a playground for children, picnic benches with BBQ stands, and a large grassy area for relaxing, and sports. 

Free Activities in Whistler’s Museum

The Whistler Museum is a great way to learn about the history of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and the municipality as well. Entrance fees are by donation only, with the recommended donation being 5$. The museum covers many aspects of Whistler’s history, the heritage of the ski resorts, logging, and the development of mountain biking. With interactive exhibits to keep all ages engaged and learning about the history of Whistler.

Visit Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is on the way to Whistler, just south of Function Junction. The provincial park features a massive waterfall known as Brandywine Falls. The fall’s water source is from the Brandywine basin high above in the snow-covered mountains. You can walk the loop around the falls and view them from a safe distance at the top showing the beauty and force of the water. If you are looking for a little more of an adventure, there is a trail with some scramble sections that leads to the bottom of the falls to give another perspective of the waterfall. Brandywine falls can be a great addition to the start or end of your trip as it is easily accessible from the highway for both north and southbound traffic.

See the Sights of the Sea to Sky Highway

The Sea to Sky Highway is often just a part of the journey to a destination holiday or vacation, but it can be part of the holiday itself. There are many lookouts, viewpoints, and provincial parks along the journey from North Vancouver to Whistler or Pemberton. On a nice sunny day, you can take your time stopping along the way at spots like Porteau Cove, Furry Creek, Britannia beach, and the Tantalus lookout. These viewpoints and recreation areas can be great ways to break up the drive and view the beautiful aspects of British Columbia and the Sea to Sky.

Shred the Whistler Skate Park

If you are looking for a little more adrenaline, you can head to the Whistler Skatepark. The newly redesigned park was re-opened in 2020 with a new street plaza to join the snake run and vert park. The skate scene is pretty big, with many high-caliber skaters. When skating or riding, it is best to follow proper park etiquette to ensure no collisions or close calls happen. If you are on a bike, it’s best to clean your tires before entering and only ride BMX or dirt jump bikes with slick tires.

Play in the Grass at Rebagliati Park

Rebagliati Park is conveniently in between Blackcomb upper village and Whistler village. This nicely tucked away park provides an area of solitude and fun. A great place to play ball sports, relax, do yoga and appreciate the surrounding nature. Arts Whistler regularly holds exhibits and light shows in the park for an evening of fun. Rebagliati parks’ backdrop with old-growth trees and Fitzsimmons creek running beside it, gives many a great break from the bustling village stroll.

Play Volleyball or Spike Ball at Rainbow Park

Rainbow park on the west side of the Whistler valley offers a plethora of activities and a ton of space to spread out and enjoy the lakeside. The Park offers three beach volleyball courts, a large grassy field, a dog park, a swimming area, docks, and occasionally a food truck for snacks and hydration. On the west side of the valley, Rainbow park gives an incredible view of Whistler and Blackcomb, showing off their snow-capped peaks and their ski runs. You can access Rainbow park by driving from the north or south along Alta lake road, taking the shuttle from the village, or taking the valley trail by bike, skateboard, or on foot. 

Frolf (frisbee golf) at Lost Lake

The Frisbee golf course in Lost Lake is a great way to challenge yourself and keep you occupied for a while. If you’re on a time restriction, the highly recommended 27-hole course can be split up, into three nine-hole disc-golf courses. The 27 holes travel all over the lost lake trail systems providing great exercise and lay of the land. The course starts and finishes a short walk from the Scandinave spa allowing for easy access by car, or if you arrive by bike there are bike racks to park your bike. Enjoy a morning or afternoon at the disc golf course walking through the Lost Lake area.