Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
Provincial Park is a beautiful stop in between Squamish and Whistler. It's about 25 minutes north of Squamish, 11k south of Whistler. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. Most people miss the other viewpoint from above the falls, from the train tracks bridge. To find it is easy. As you walk toward the falls from the parking lot you will have to cross train tracks. Standing at the train tracks look to your right and you will see a bridge that the train tracks cross. Walk over to that to see the falls from above. Amazing!
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 is locked and buried in snow. The snowplows make room for cars at the edge of the highway making Brandywine Falls open year round. With the deep snow however, you may need snowshoes.
Brandywine Falls is popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The Sea to Sky Trail runs through Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and you will immediately see Sea to Sky Trail signs from the parking lot. From the parking lot you cross the covered bridge, turn right and after just a couple hundred metres you will see a Sea to Sky Trail branch off to the left. This trail meanders through the forest and rises up to a plateau with views of Black Tusk and the distant Daisy Lake. Further along, (3 kilometres from the trailhead), you will come to the amazing Bungee Bridge that crosses the Cheakamus River from a dizzying height.
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. 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.
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.
Years ago, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park was a campground, however this is no longer the case. No camping is allowed, although there are about a dozen picnic tables in a wonderful setting around the parking area. The parking lot gates are locked 8am to 8pm, so if you plan on visiting the park outside these hours be sure to park outside the gates without blocking anything.
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park Trailhead Directions
To find it just keep your eye out for the Brandywine Falls sign about 25 minutes north of Squamish. The falls will be on your right. For much of the winter you will find the gates to the parking lot closed. If you encounter this, simply park as close to the gate as possible and hike from there. You will likely see a couple cars already parked there doing the same as you. Beware though, in the depths of winter you may have to walk through some deep snow, bring snowshoes if you have them.
More Sea to Sky Area Trails
is the centre and base for much of the hiking in . The is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly undisturbed mountain lake. There are no trails around the perimeter of the lake with the exception of the small section leading to the campsite, so your view of the lake is a sea of unnaturally coloured water ringed by swaths of forest and a magnificent glacier towering in the distance. The water is painfully cold, though plenty of brave hikers swim here as well as camp. The camping area is well laid out and stretches deep into the forest with 50 tent clearings. You can, except for the busiest of days, put your tent out of earshot and sight of others. The trail to Garibaldi Lake from the Rubble Creek trailhead, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway takes about two hours. Black Tusk is a mountain of unbelievable beauty. It possesses the incredible distinction of looking more impossible to climb the closer you get to it. Even when you are close enough to touch its vertical, black and foreboding sides, you wonder in amazement how anyone can ever reach the top. It’s vertical on all sides. The barely distinguishable trail skirts its edge along the ledge of a perilous scree slope that runs around its trunk. As you scramble precariously along the trail you come to a chute heading almost straight up. Again, even this close you will wonder, as almost everyone else at this spot and say to the hiker next to you, “I don’t think this is a safe way to go.” Then you pause and look around. Many take a seat at this moment and marvel at the view. Spectacular. Just spectacular. Walk over to that to see the falls from above. Amazing! Alice Lake is a great place for camping swimming, fishing and hiking.