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Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the way to or from Whistler. The falls drop from a 66 metre(216 feet), unnaturally abrupt looking cliff to the valley below. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is such a popular, accessible and beautiful sight that it has a large and elaborate viewing platform directly opposite the falls. Located just 20 minutes south of Whistler, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is just off of the Sea to Sky Highway. The impressive falls are just one of a few sights to see in Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. Swim Lake, the Whistler Bungee Bridge and the Sea to Sky Trail running through the park make it a hiking, biking, jogging, snowshoeing paradise.
Very impressive falls from a great viewing platform
Convenient, free parking off the Sea to Sky Highway
Sea to Sky Trail here continues to Whistler Village
Fantastic, unmarked route to the base of the falls
Swim Lake and the Bungee Bridge are close by
Idyllic sitting areas overlooking the falls and valley
You can set off from Whistler Village by bike on the Sea to Sky Trail and reach the falls in about an hour or two.. and rarely emerge from forest! The Sea to Sky Trail miraculously avoids roads and civilisation for most of its 33 kilometres. The Whistler section is 33 kilometres long, however the Sea to Sky Trail extends south and north of Whistler even further. If driving from Vancouver, keep your eyes out for the Brandywine Falls sign on your right about 25 minutes north of Squamish or 20 minutes south of Whistler Village.
The parking lot is immediately off the highway and the short 1 kilometre trail takes you over then alongside Cheakamus River to the viewing area. The only facilities in the park are pit toilets and picnic tables and there is no charge for hiking or for parking your vehicle in the park. The gate off of the highway is locked at night and in the winter so at these times you simply park at the edge of the highway and hike past the gate. In the winter you often see people strapping on snowshoes for the short trek to the falls in the snow. The falls are great and convenient to visit anytime of the year. In the summer months it can be busy, but the rest of the year you often have the falls to yourself. Viewing the falls at night, under a full moon is quite a memorable experience.
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is attached to the wonderful Sea to Sky Trail which runs between and beyond Whistler and Squamish. It is a wide, gravel biking and hiking trail that will eventually extend north to Pemberton. Most visitors to the park just have a quick trip to the falls viewpoint and back and miss out on some amazing sights further along. Just a couple kilometres from the parking lot on the Sea to Sky Trail you will come to the amazing Whistler Bungee Bridge. The bridge is beautiful, huge and atrociously expensive looking. The area around the bridge is so remote feeling that when you catch sight of the Bungee Bridge, you almost gasp in surprise. There are viewing areas along the frighteningly abrupt cliffs and lots of space on the bridge to see the sights. Whistler Bungee operates here usually only when bookings have been pre-made, so often the bridge is deserted and serene. The folks at Whistler Bungee are very friendly and welcome you to watch people jumping and even try to coax you into trying.
Swim Lake is another interesting sight to see in Brandywine Falls Park and is at the end of a short and easy trail off of the main trail near the train tracks. The start of the trail takes you across a small, covered bridge over the river. The trail then continues along the river and leads to the wonderful viewing area across from the falls. The trail then continues another hundred metres to another viewing area. This viewpoint overlooks Daisy Lake, the massive lake that Brandywine Falls empties into. On a sunny day, Black Tusk dominates the skyline here. An unmarked trail continues from this viewpoint and continues along the cliffs and to a very difficult trail down to the base of the falls. The first section requires lowering yourself down by rope, so should only be tackled by the adventurous and very fit.
Swim Lake once had a cute little pier which made it amazing for swimming, however you will now see the pier at the bottom of the lake. Several winters of heavy snow has permanently waterlogged it and it sits on the bottom like an old shipwreck. Due to the overgrown shoreline and narrow and few entry points, Swim Lake is not terribly inviting for a swim. It is however, seldom visited and you almost always have the lake all to yourself and once you get a few metres out you find yourself in a swimming paradise. The entry points on this idyllic lake are few, but aside from that it is pretty nice.
Brandywine Falls Hiking Trail Map
Brandywine Falls has the Sea to Sky Trail run directly through it, allowing for quite a bit of further hiking and biking. The Whistler Bungee Bridge is a great, short hike from the falls. Alternatively, you could drive directly to the bridge by heading north on the Sea to Sky Highway, towards Whistler and turn right at the big sign for Whistler Bungee on Cal-Cheak Forest Service Road(see map). For a bigger map of the area click the map at the top of this page.
History of Brandywine Falls
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park was established in 1973 as a campground and recreational area. The origin of the name for Brandywine Falls is suspected to have come from a wager by two surveyors. Legend has it that Jack Nelson and Bob Mollison, working for the Howe Sound and Northern Railway made a wager for a bottle of brandy for who could guess how high the falls were. Measured by a chain, Mollison won the wager and bottle of brandy and Nelson named the falls Brandywine.
Camping Near Brandywine
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park used to have a campground years ago, but it was removed as it was not a very functional and large enough space to adequately accommodate the numbers that came here every year. That's a good thing, however, as the new parking lot is very well designed and spacious enough to park the largest of RV's as well as dozens and dozens of cars. The parking lot has a nice picnic table area and some interesting murals of the history of the area.
Camping is actually quite good in the vicinity of Brandywine Falls. Just across the highway from the Brandywine Falls parking lot, and just 1 kilometre towards Whistler you will see on your left a big sign for Whistler RV Park & Campground. This relatively new campground is quite nice, located up on a ridge overlooking snowy mountain peaks including Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. A possible drawback to this campground is that it is far south of Whistler Village, but if you have a vehicle that shouldn't bother you too much.
If you would rather a more wilderness style camping, with few to no RV's then the Cal-Cheak Recreation Site is an excellent choice. The highway turnoff is located just 3.4 kilometres from the Brandywine Falls parking lot, heading towards Whistler. After turning off the highway you will almost immediately see the campsite on your right, and further along on your left. This campsite is beautiful, wild and in between two dramatically beautiful rivers, Cheakamus and Callaghan. All the campsites are drive-in and just steps from a gorgeous river view.
Parking, Biking & Public Transit Directions to Brandywine Falls
To find the trailhead to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park from Whistler is easy. From Whistler Village, drive south on the Sea to Sky Highway for 11 kilometres. You will see a large entrance and parking lot on your left and plenty of Brandywine Falls Provincial Park signs on the highway. Parking is free, however camping is not permitted in the park. Biking to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is an amazing, though too long for most, option to get there. The Sea to Sky multi-use trail connects the park to Whistler Village by a wide, often two lane and paved bike trail. As you leave Whistler Village the trail is wide, paved and passes one great lakeside park after another. Can you get to the Brandywine Falls trailhead by public transit? The short answer is not really, as Whistler Transit buses don't stop even close to the highway turnoff to the parking lot.
More Waterfalls In & Near Whistler
Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141foot waterfall just up the Callaghan Valley, just 15 minutes up Callaghan Valley Road. The turnoff to Callaghan Valley road is just a couple minutes up the highway towards Whistler on your left. Open year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several of the 2010 Olympic events were held. There is a nice viewing platform on the edge of the cliff across from the falls which crash fantastically into the valley below. The parking area and viewing platform at Alexander Falls is one big area just 40 metres from the main road (to Whistler Olympic Park). The adventurous can find the obscure trail that leads to both the top of the falls as well as, with great difficulty, to the base of the falls. The drive to Alexander Falls is fantastic and with lots to see. As soon as you turn off from the Sea to Sky Highway into the Callaghan Valley you ascend quickly into the mountains. Bears along the roadside are frequently seen as they seem to have a particular fondness for the fields of grass that grow in the sunny meadows that surround this recently constructed, paved road... Nairn Falls: (20 minute drive north of Whistler): Easy, flat trail, 1.2k easy hike to falls. Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the elaborate viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above. The beautiful, green water rushes through the deep and angular channels of rock. Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located just a short 20 minute drive north of Whistler. From the large parking lot the well marked trail runs along the Green River for 1.2k to Nairn Falls. The trail is very easy and is hike-able year-round. Though considerable snow falls in the winter months here, the trail remains passable.
There is quite a large and beautiful campground at Nairn Falls as well. Located right next to the parking lot there are 94 vehicle accessed campsites that disappear into the forest adjacent to the Green River. Rainbow Falls: (20 minute drive north of Whistler): Steep but short trail, 0.5k hike to falls. The beautiful and easily accessible Rainbow Falls are located just a short, half kilometre from the Rainbow Lake trailhead. Most hikers don't notice or make the short detour to take a look at Rainbow Falls on their way to Rainbow Lake. Rainbow Falls is a crashing section of falls that runs for several metres and visible at several locations. If you hike to Rainbow Lake you will encounter a couple other falls that are also considered Rainbow Falls, however, this section is generally regarded as "Rainbow Falls". The trailhead is a short 20 minute drive from Whistler Village. There is parking at Rainbow Park at Alta Lake as well as lots of room at the Rainbow Trail trailhead. In the winter there is quite a lot of snow to deal with, however this is a popular trail and you will likely find the snowy trail padded down from snowshoes and walkable without snowshoes even in the depths of winter. Shannon Falls: (45 minute drive south of Whistler): Steep but short trail, 0.3k hike to falls.
We Rent the Best Hiking Gear at Bargain Prices!
Buying hiking gear is expensive and confusing. Let us take the time and trouble out of getting hiking gear for you. We have the best quality and highest rated hiking gear on the market, and bring it to you at bargain prices. We rent individual items or complete hiking and camping kits. Our complete kits for one or two people consist of everything you need to hike in Whistler except clothes, food and water! Reserve today and hike into paradise! Whether you are short one backpack for your group or need to fully equip everyone, we have you covered. We rent all the best, highest rated hiking gear you will need to enjoy hiking in and around Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park. We are proud to offer the best gear at the best prices. Fully equip yourself with backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, sleeping pillow, complete cooking stove system(stove, fuel, pot, cup, fork, spoon and coffee press), first aid kit, camp towel, knife and trekking poles. All you have to bring is food, water and clothes! We put all the fun back into hiking and remove the boring and expensive parts. We will deliver your full set of hiking gear, packed and ready to hike. You then hit the trail into paradise for a night.. or two.. or more, call us when you get home and we will pick up everything. You don't have to worry about figuring out what to pack or buying expensive equipment. We bring the best to you and at bargain prices. Why? Because we love Whistler, love hiking, love camping and we are passionate about hiking in Whistler. We will do everything in our power to make you have the most amazing hiking and camping trip of your life. And it starts with getting you the best gear, prepacked and delivered to you, without you having to spend a fortune buying gear. You can rent individual items or entire hiking/camping kits. Whatever your need, we have what you need to get you on the trail! Have a look at what we have to rent here!