Snowshoeing in Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, just a short drive north of Squamish is a nice and easy snowshoe trail in the winter. Usually from December to March you will find the entrance gate to the park on the Sea to Sky Highway closed. Some winters, you will see a mountain of snow, plowed from the highway on and adjacent to the gate. If you have snowshoes you can climb over this mountain of snow quite easily and make your way across the parking lot to the the trailhead and bridge.
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park has the amazing, Sea to Sky Trail run right through it and you will notice several signs and mapboards along the trail. The Sea to Sky Trail runs for 180 kilometres, from Squamish all the way to D'Arcy. The Sea to Sky Trail runs along the Sea to Sky Highway for a while until it reaches Brandywine Park, where it then heads into the wilderness around Whistler. It winds through Whistler for over 30 kilometres before finally coming out at the Sea to Sky Highway, well north of Whistler Village.
The trail to Brandywine Falls is very easy, wide and flat making it suitable for anyone. If you don't have snowshoes, you could probably get to the falls without them, however if lots of recent snow has fallen, you will get fairly wet on the way.
You will notice the Sea to Sky Trail veers off from the Brandywine Falls trail, just before the falls viewpoint. This section of the Sea to Sky Trail is very nice. Easy and wide, the trail zig-zags through the forest avoiding the train tracks and coming to some nice viewpoints. The highlight of this section of the trail beyond Brandywine Falls is the amazing Whistler Bungee Bridge that you come to in just 3 kilometres. This amazing, purpose build bungee bridge spans the massive Cheakamus River chasm far below. The bridge, being part of the Sea to Sky Trail is open to hikers, bikers, snowshoers and cross country skiers, year-round.
Winter Parking Directions for Brandywine Falls
The parking lot to Brandywine Falls is blocked by snow in the winter and you must park outside the gate along the highway. There is plenty of room for several cars. Located about 25 minutes north of Squamish there are big and difficult to miss signs indicating, "Brandywine Falls Provincial Park". You will see the obvious area to park outside the gate (gate is usually buried in snow in the winter). From Squamish you will se Brandywine Provincial Park will be on your right. You will then have to put your snowshoes on immediately and scramble over the wall of snow to access the parking lot. You will then be in a suddenly, serene setting of snow covered picnic tables and see the wonderful, covered bridge across the Cheakamus River leading to the amazing Brandywine Falls viewpoint.
More Squamish Snowshoe Trails
Elfin Lakes is a wonderfully accessible, skiing and snowshoeing paradise at the southern end of Garibaldi Park. An amazing destination on its own, Elfin Lakes is also part of a gateway to so much more. The Gargoyles, Little Diamond Head, Opal Cone... There is a wonderful, extremely well equipped hut and campsites as well as a ranger station at the lakes. Staying at the amazing hut costs $15. Elfin Lakes starts out ascending through deep forest, reaching the Red Heather Hut after 5k. This is a small warming hut equipped with a wood stove complete with a stack of wood free to use. Though sleeping here is for emergencies only, the Red Heather Hut is warm and welcoming. The final 6k from this hut to Elfin Lakes takes you along a beautiful ridge with amazing views of snowy mountains all around. The sheer distance of this snowshoeing trail ranks it as difficult. Also, there is a considerable amount of elevation gain and loss along the way and you move through several gradual peaks and valleys. is a beautiful 25k round-trip snowshoeing trail in Garibaldi Park, just 25 minutes north of Squamish. Beautiful snowy meadows surrounded by mountains everywhere you look. Black Tusk towering in the distance so close and blanketed in wonderful, beautiful snow. You can snowshoe this route via on one way and by on the return journey. The / trail forks partway up, left goes to , right to Garibaldi Lake (the trail joins again at the far side of both). , so massive and dramatically beautiful in the winter, a huge frozen valley. The downside to this hike is the length of hiking to get to the beautiful parts. In the summer it's not so bad as the trailhead is a moderately difficult 9k from . In the winter however, the trailhead parking lot is unplowed almost down to the highway. So just to get to the summer trailhead requires about a 2k uphill snowshoe slog. If you snowshoe the beautiful route to and return via the route is 25 kilometres long and very strenuous as a one day snowshoe trip. TheBrandywine Falls is a fantastic snowshoeing route that leads to the amazing Whistler Bungee Bridge. Just a 25 minute drive north of Squamish gets you to the parking and trailhead at the edge of the Sea to Sky Highway. Snowshoeing from the parking lot (edge of highway in the winter) to Brandywine Falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. Brandywine Falls drop an amazing 66 metres (216 feet) into the chasm far below that the viewing platform extends over. Another trail extends past this viewing area leading to another, quieter area overlooking Daisy Lake. This area is just a short, minute or two walk from the first viewing area. During the winter months the parking lot gate to the large parking area is locked and buried in snow. The snowplows make room for cars at the edge of the highway making Brandywine Falls, the Sea to Sky Trail, and the Cheakamus Bungee Bridge accessible year-round. You can often hike to the falls on foot if the snow is hard enough, but most likely you will need snowshoes or skis between December and March. This area is popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. Over the next fifty years this wreckage has evolved into an absolutely amazing place to snowshoe, the Whistler Train Wreck. The cost to clean up the wreckage was deemed too high, so 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 in the summer, and a great place to snowshoe in the winter. The 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.