Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler near what is now Function Junction. Seven train cars were left scattered next to the Cheakamus River. As it turns out, time
and local effort has transformed this mess into a wonderful work of art, an extraordinary bike park, and a great place to hike. The Whistler Train Wreck. Cheakamus River winds its way, crashing and emerald green along the length of the Whistler Train Wreck, and there are several spectacular river vantage points that shouldn't be missed. The whole length of the train wreck and Cheakamus River hike is 3 kilometres (each way) and the trails go along the beautiful river as well as several, widely spaced train wrecks. The Whistler Train Wreck trailhead is now located in Cheakamus Crossing. The new bridge connecting Trash Trail and the Train Wreck Trail was finished in July. There are a couple very convenient places to park very near the trailhead to both the Trash Trail and the Sea to Sky Trail.
After heavy use in recent years, the old Whistler Train Wreck trail will now return to a peaceful obscurity. The old trail began at the Flank Trail, trailhead behind Olive's Market in Function Junction, and took you under the constantly changing highway underpass. Graffiti in this wonderful area on the large cement foundations seems to constantly be added. A creek flows though the underpass on its way to connecting with the much larger Cheakamus River. The Flank Trail trailhead is easy to spot if you know where to look. If you don't write down these directions before you head out you will likely have trouble finding it. Memorize or print the trail map below and you will be able to locate it easily. A small "Flank Trail" sign sits at the edge of Alpha Lake Road just before Alpha Lake Road bends sharply right(just before Olive's Market). The Flank Trail immediately runs into the deep forest as it follows the river away from Function Junction.
The Whistler Train Wreck trail is easy to spot as it is well used. Just about 50 metres into the Flank Trail as you bend around the Olive's Market parking lot you will come to the large Flank Trail mapboard. The Flank Trail continues straight and the(usually) unmarked Train Wreck trail heads off left along the right side of the creek. There is only one part of the trail that may get you lost. About five minutes into the trail you will exit the forest and walk along a wide, clear gravel area. Keep your eyes out for the trail across the clearing marked with two large, painted rocks on either side(see directions, map and videos below for better trail descriptions of where to go and where not to).
Walk through the trees for about 100 metres and you will see and hear the Sea to Sky Highway ahead. You have to turn left here and follow the trail to the river where the highway overpass it. Continue along the trail under the overpass and continue on the trail. At this point you will be walking in a strip of forest about 40 metres wide with the highway to your right and the train tracks about 30 metres to your left. Follow this trail for a couple minutes as it winds past enormous and ancient, giant cedar tree stumps. You will abruptly come to a small creek in your way. This "creek" comes from a giant drainage pipe under the highway.
At the creek look to your left and you will see the trail lead to the train tracks, don't cross the tracks, but rather, just before the tracks turn right, follow the trail at the edge of the tracks past and over the creek and then pick up the trail again as it veers away from the train tracks into the trees again.
Just ahead the trail will end at the train tracks and you will have to carefully cross the tracks here (the only train tracks crossing you will need to do). Keep in mind that walking along the train tracks is illegal and potentially dangerous. Fortunately, travelling on the train tracks to access the Whistler Train Wreck is completely unnecessary due to the new bridge across the Cheakamus River in Cheakamus Crossing.
The first part of the Train Wreck is not train wreckage, but instead some amazing views of the Cheakamus River. This extraordinarily beautiful river crashes violently through here and various viewpoints can be found along the trail. After a few amazing viewpoints, the Cheakamus River forces you back towards the train tracks. Walk past this bend in the river by keeping well left of, off and away from the train tracks. The trail picks up again on the left and descends into the forest again. This is the stretch of forest that contains seven train wrecked cars strewn over one kilometre. Some perched at the edge of the Cheakamus River, others mangled against trees. It is amazing to see the impossibility of where they rest.. with huge trees all around. In the decades since they crashed and wrecked here, trees have grown all around.