Famed for the world’s largest, best-equipped and most popular ski resorts, Whistler is a popular ski and snowboarding destination, but there’s plenty to keep tourists occupied in the summertime too. From Canada’s longest zipline to black bear spotting, here are the best things to do in Whistler in summer.
What are the best things to do in Whistler in the summer?
1. Get a head for heights on the PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Gondola
The record-breaking PEAk 2 PEAK Gondola stretches between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, offering 360-degree views over volcanic peaks, coastal rainforests and ancient growth along the way. Tickets include access to both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains with over 50 km of summer hiking trails too. There’s even a special glass-bottom gondola for a real birds-eye view over the forest. Summer sightseeing tickets are available from May to September.
2. Tee up in Canada’s premier golf destination
Boasting four championship designer courses, Whistler frequently ranks as British Columbia’s best-golfing destination. Over at the base of the majestic Mount Currie, you can play on Robert Cupp’s Big Sky Golf Club, an outstanding 18-hole golf course with stunning tri-valley mountain views. Or, you could experience Nicklaus North Golf Course, a par 71, 18-hole course that winds along a gentle valley floor nestled between Green Lake and the River of Golden Dreams. Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club is equally good-looking, carved out of the slopes of the Coast range in Whistler, while Whistler Golf Club offers beautiful 007 bent grass greens in the heart of town.
3. Fly through the forest on a zipline
The Sasquatch® is the longest zipline in Canada and the USA. Spanning a jaw-dropping distance of more than two kilometres, this exhilarating high wire adventure flies high above the forest over creeks and old growth. It’s 7,000 feet of pure eco-exhilaration — and it’s only open in the summer too.
4. Go rafting
Whistler offers world-class white water rafting. Boasting some of Canada’s most thrilling rapids, adrenaline junkies can enjoy pulse-pounding twists and turns with a team of professional river guides. Popular routes include the lively Green, Lower Cheakamus, Elaho and Squamish Rivers. There are family-friendly options too, like the Cheakamus Family Rafting Trip through Paradise Valley. The Squamish Scenic Twilight Float features small splashy rapids, outstanding scenery and lots of laughs against the backdrop of sunset too.
5. Take a hike
Whistler Village sits at the foot of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, with dozens of trails fanning outwards through alpine meadows, glaciers and lakes. Many of the trails are closed during the winter due to snow cover, and even those that don’t require some serious forward planning. Whistler is a hiker’s paradise in summer.
The Valley Trail is a popular 40-km pedestrian-only paved network of paths winding between Whistler’s various neighbourhoods to lakes (perfect for a sunny swim), sandy beaches and volleyball courts.
6. Go bear spotting
Whistler and the Blackcomb Mountains are home to 60 black bears and cubs. It’s the only population of black bears in B.C. that has been studied over two decades. Come summer, wildlife enthusiasts can hop into a 4×4 and drive across the ski roads and scenic alpine ecosystems to spot the largest concentration of mother bears in the region. You can visit the bear dens and wander through old grow Western Hemlock forests and alpine meadows too. Along the way, knowledgeable guides also share insights into the local bear population and the park’s conservation initiatives.
7. Explore the Alpine village
The beating heart of Whistler’s community, Whistler Village offers restaurants, bistros, bars, boutiques, and everything in between. It comes alive in the evening, when the live music, martini nights, karaoke competitions and international DJ sets begin.
There’s also a dizzying calendar of events here throughout the summer. If you’re here in September, don’t miss Whistler Village Beer Festival. More than 60 local B.C. breweries and cideries descend on Whistler Olympic Plaza town for the week-long event. There’s also the Summertime Concert Series throughout July and August. The two-month festival hosts free outdoor concerts out on the lawn from 7:00 pm on most Thursdays and Fridays.