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Things to do in Whistler Summer

There’s a reason Whistler-Blackcomb is known internationally as one of the world’s best mountain resorts, and while famous for its epic snow and winter ski season, it’s a year-round playland with offerings for all kinds of visitors. Whether hiking, shopping, river rafting or just taking in the unique coastal mountain vibe, guests will enjoy the summer for the mild weather, remarkable mountain views and endless adventures. There are many things to do in whistler summer.

Flowers in Whisler mountains

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations help visitors to Canada plan their dream trip. Our itineraries are personalized to each guest’s needs and interests, meaning that you can choose your destinations, hotels, activities, and train experiences. There are several ways you can visit Whistler while on a train trip in Canada. Guests on the Rocky Mountaineer's Rainforest to Goldrush route will have time to explore this stunning mountain town. You can also add a day tour or longer visit to any Vancouver train trip.  

Here are the top things to do in Whistler in the summer

1. Peak 2 Peak Gondola

A family on the Peak 2 Peak gondola in Whistler

Though known casually as Whistler, the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb officially make up the resort and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola (1) is the first of its kind to connect them. Built in 2008, it has one of the longest free-span cable rides in the world (1.88 miles) and is the fastest way to get from one side to the other. Offering 360 degree views of Whistler Village, the surrounding mountain ranges, glaciers, lakes and forests, Peak 2 Peak offers the most elevated perspective available — without getting in a plane — and is a top thing to do in Whistler in the summer. 

The Peak 2 Peak is one part of the Whistler summer gondola experience. Access the Peak 2 Peak by getting the Blackcomb Gondola or Whistler Village Gondola. After your gondola ride, you can explore the beautiful alpine hiking trails that lead you to glaciers, wildflowers, and lakes. 

2. Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre in Whistler

The state-of-the-art Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre has won awards for preserving and promoting the two dominant Indiginous cultures from the Sea to Sky Corridor. Built as a blend of a Squamish Nation Longhouse and lil’wat isken (pit house), visitors to the centre can learn about each group’s history in the region from knowledgeable cultural ambassadors, who enrich their storytelling with artifacts, art, and drum ceremonies.

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3. Accessible hiking trails

Whether you have an hour or a day, Whistler has a trail to meet your needs — some trails are wheelchair accessible. Hiking is a top thing to do in Whistler in the summer. With forests stretching in every direction, visitors can stretch their legs on the forest trails of the Lost Lake Loop, which consist of flat, forgiving pathways surrounded by swimmable glacier-fed lakes and amazing vistas.

For something a little less time consuming, the Train Wreck hike is a well-loved local favourite that meanders along the Cheakamus River and over a bridge, ending at a set of abandoned train cars-turned-art-installation. Starting at Cheakamus Crossing just south of Whistler Village, the Train Wreck trail also connects to a more significant network of trails for those looking for a longer, or more challenging hike. The trail to Whistler’s Rainbow Lake is a perfect excursion for those looking for something not too long and not too short, with a bit of elevation. While swimming in Rainbow Lake is off limits (it supplies the region’s drinking water), nearby Alta Lake is a great alternative.

#1 Travel Tip: Book everything early

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Whistler accommodation often sells out months in advance. In addition to securing your hotel, you’ll want to make restaurant and tour reservations. Your Vacation Advisor can help you do this.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

4. Dining experiences

Group of diners enjoy a meal outside on a sunny day

If you've added a tour to Whistler to your West Coast train vacation, you can expect some great food and drink, with many options in and around the Village. There are also less conventional ways to take a meal, such as the Canadian Wilderness Adventures ATV salmon bake. With a final dining altitude of 6,000 feet, visitors will be wined and dined on fresh local salmon after an all-terrain-vehicle climb to the top of Blackcomb Mountain’s Crystal Hut. Ask your travel advisor about adding this experience to your vacation. 

If covering a lot of culinary ground in a short amount of time is an objective, Whistler Dining Tours has a tour for any taste. Their guided walking tours for dinner and lunch are typically a few hours long and include some of Whistler's best restaurants and experiences, like champagne sabering in a 15,000 bottle wine cellar and eating at some of the wonderful, if lesser known, restaurants Whistler Blackcomb has to offer.

5. Summer bobsleigh lessons

Summer bobsleighing in Whistler

A legacy of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler’s Olympic Park (WOP) is a safe place to try something completely new. While well-endowed with a network of hiking trails and summits that meander through the gorgeous Callaghan Valley, summer bobsleigh lessons are available through the WOP’s Sliding Centre and are a top thing to do in Whistler in the summer. There's also biathlon and target shooting at the Olympic Shooting Range — something to really challenge those looking for a memorable experience. A nine-hole disc golf course is also on offer.

6. Golfing in Whistler

A golfer lines up his shot on Chateau Whistler's golf course, whilst a person waits, flag in hand in the distance.

Golfing is a top thing to do in Whistler in the summer, and the 18-hole Nicklaus North Golf Course is a par 71, top-tier golf experience designed specifically for the unique valley bottom geography. One of only five courses in the world bearing the Nicklaus name, golfers will be challenged and excited by the links’ topography. Whistler also offers three other challenging courses, all located close to the Village and designed by award-winning golf course architects. Big Sky, designed by Robert Cupp, is a par 72; Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.m is a par 72; and Whistler Golf Club is a par 71 course designed by none other than Arnold Palmer.

7. Museums in Whistler

The beautiful exterior of the Audain Art Museum featuring the totem by Xwalacktun

Touring the town's museums is a great thing to do in the summer in Whistler to get out of the heat. British Columbia’s rich artistic culture is on display at the Audain Art Museum, where guests can view a permanent collection that spans two centuries of Indigenous and historically significant art, including The Dance Screen by Haida Chief James Hart, 15 paintings by E.J. Hughes, and a steady rotation of internationally recognized exhibits.

To really understand how the resort town came to be, the Whistler Museum is a must-do. From its rustic beginnings as an off-the-track recreation spot for intrepid skiers and hikers, to its modern day status as one of the world’s best designed resort municipalities, Whistler’s story is varied and deeply interesting for anyone with a curiosity around mountain culture. Using exhibitions and interactive educational experiences, the museum presents an innovative range of programs to refine visitors’ knowledge of the region.

8. Floatplane tour of Whistler

Couple has picnic on grass next to kayak, seaplane on Phantom Lake near Whistler

Deeply embedded in a chain of mountain ranges that go as far as the eye can see, Whistler can be hard to conceptualize geographically without some serious elevation. Floatplane tours are hands- down the best way to get a proper look at the beauty of the mountains, and a top thing to do in Whistler in the summer. Tours leave from Green Lake and offer various scenic options, including the Valley tour, the Glacier tour, and the Alpine Lake Landing Tour,

Running from May through October, Whistler Floatplane Tours take between 20 minutes and a couple of hours, depending on which tour is booked. Ask your travel advisor about elevating your Canadian train vacation with a private floatplane tour and picnic. 

9. Water activities on Alta Lake

Couple canoeing on Atla Lake in Whistler

Being the biggest lake in Whistler, it’s no surprise that Alta Lake is popular during summer. The best way to cool off on a hot summer day is by swimming in a mountain lake — as you can imagine, it’s super refreshing. There are three sandy beaches and grassy areas to enjoy (Lakeside Park, Rainbow Park, and Wayside Park), depending on where in Whistler you’re staying. Canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals are available from Wayside Park for those who want to spend more time on the water. 

The parks by Alta Lake are easy to get to by public transit, cycling, or walking. You can follow the Valley Trail (a 46-kilometre car-free trail that connects all of Whistler’s neighbourhoods) from the village to Rainbow Park, then continue on to discover other lakes and parks.

10. Whitewater Rafting

Action shot of people whitewater rafting on the Squamish River

One of the most adrenaline-pumping summer activities in Whistler is whitewater rafting. Choose an adventure on the Elaho River, the Green River, or the Squamish River. Both rivers are a little outside of Whistler village, but some tour companies can pick up from Whistler and take you to the starting location. There are rafting tours for all experience levels, with routes that whizz down a selection of class 1 to class 4 rapids. Families can enjoy gentle floats down the river and soak up all the stunning scenery.

11. Scandinave Spa

View of outdoor hot pools surrounded by trees at Scandinave Spa Whistler

Scandinave Spa is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Whistler in summer. Surrounded by Whistler’s old-growth forest, the spa has dry saunas, hot pools, cold plunge pools, relaxation areas, and beautiful mountain views. Visitors are encouraged to cycle through the different areas and go on a restorative thermal journey, raising and lowering their body temperature to find deep relaxation. All of this is experienced in complete silence, away from digital devices and other distractions.  

The spa is open year-round from 10am to 9pm. Most people spend 2-3 hours at the facility, though you can extend your visit by adding on a massage service.  

12. Chasing waterfalls near Whistler

A waterfall surrounded by forest in Whistler

Nairn Falls Provincial Park is 29 kilometres (18 miles) north of Whistler. The park has lovely picnic areas and hiking trails, making it a popular destination for those that want to explore outside of the village. The trail to Nairn Falls leads you along a narrow path by the edge of the forest, following the river to the magnificent waterfall.  

Travelling between Squamish and Whistler? Brandywine Falls and Shannon Falls are both worth stopping at when driving along the Sea to Sky highway.

13. Horseback riding

Group of people horseback riding through a river in Whistler

Whistler summer activities include horseback riding through the forests, meadows, and mountains. There’s no experience necessary for horseback riding tours and there are routes and rides available for all ages and abilities. It’s a fantastic alternative to hiking or biking.

14. Shopping in the village

People stroll through Whistler village square on a sunny day

Whistler Village is a great place for a shopping spree. The pedestrian-friendly village has a range of stores that cater to all interests and it’s possible to find everything from colourful souvenirs to outdoor gear to local artisanal products. Along with well-known fashion and activewear brands, such as Lululemon, The North Face, and Helly Hansen, there’s small gift shops, like 3 Singing Birds, that showcase handcrafted and sustainable goods.  

While shopping is a year-round activity in Whistler, it’s particularly pleasant in the summer when the sun is shining, and the streets are snow-free. It’s also the perfect way to escape the heat on very hot days.

15. Bear viewing tours

Bear and cub walk across the grass in Whistler on a sunny day

If seeing bears while you’re in Canada is on your bucket list, then add on a bear viewing tour in whistler during summer. A guided tour offers guests the chance to see black bears and their cubs in their natural habitat. Tours use 4x4 vehicles and venture out of the village area to look for bears and other animals.  Local nature guides provide commentary on Whistler’s spectacular flora and fauna, too.  

Since bears hibernate during winter, bear viewing tours only operate in spring and summer. Tours usually run from late-May to early October, depending on the weather conditions. 

16. Mountain biking

Two mountain bikers standing on a rock overlooking the mountains in Whistler

When the snow melts, Whistler Blackcomb transforms from a lively ski resort to a mountain biking mecca. The Whistler Mountain Bike Park has lift-accessed trails suitable for all abilities, so even those that have never been mountain biking before can try this exciting sport. The park is divided into four zones which feature everything from easy green trails to steeper, more rugged trails in the high alpine. There are 80 kilometres (50 miles) of trails to explore.  

The mountain biking season in Whistler is from mid-May to early October, depending on the weather, and you can purchase day tickets or multi-day passes. If you’re aiming to take your skills to the next level or are looking for an introduction to mountain biking, then there are lessons and camps available.  

#2 Travel Tip: Cycle the Valley Trail

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There are many scenic viewpoints along the Valley Trail and the best way to discover them all is by bike. You can rent a bike from one of the shops in Whistler village.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

17. Zipline Tours

Person on a zipline hanging above the trees and river in Whistler

One of the most thrilling Whistler attractions in summer is the Sasquatch ziplining tour (Ziptrek Ecotours). At 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) long, it’s the longest zipline experience in Canada and the USA. Participants glide through the old-growth rainforest, descending 7,000 feet as they journey from Blackcomb Mountain to Whistler Mountain. This experience takes 1.5 hours and is packed with awe-inspiring views.   

And that’s not the only high-wire tour on offer. There are several other zipline adventures available, and you can also combine this activity with an aerial obstacle course, which includes boardwalks and suspension bridges, so you can spend more time in between the trees.

Whistler Summer Events 2024 

While Whistler’s 2024 summer calendar has not been fully confirmed yet, there are several events that take place annually. Attending a local festival or event is one of the best things to do in whistler in summer.  

In addition to the festivals listed below, you can check to see if your hotel in Whistler has any special events on during your stay. For example, the Fairmont Whistler often has daily live music in the Mallard Lounge throughout the summer season. 

1. Canada Day celebrations 

If you’re visiting Whistler between late June and early July, note that July 1 is Canada Day. There will be a range of celebrations held over this long weekend. In 2023, there was a People’s Parade (activities and performances throughout the village). To connect with local Indigenous cultures and history during this day, visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. 

2. Whistler Children’s Festival 

The Whistler Children’s Festival has been running for 40 years. The family-friendly event features live performances, creative workshops, and free activities. In 2023, the festival was held over 2 weekends in May. No dates have been announced for 2024 yet.  

3. Whistler Summer Concert Series 

After an exciting day of hiking or biking in the mountains, you can relax by listening to a free, outdoor concert courtesy of the Whistler Summer Concert Series. Concerts are held in the Whistler Olympic Plaza on some evenings in June, July, and August. There are no dates yet for 2024, but more details will be released in the spring. Since the concerts start around 7.30pm (6.30pm if you want to attend the pre-concert), you can bring a picnic blanket and enjoy an al fresco supper.    

4. Crankworx 

Crankworx festival is usually held in July. It’s part of an international festival series where mountain bike athletes compete across a range of events.  

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Whistler is a must-visit destination in the summer. Top things to do include hiking, golfing, and wildlife viewing. We also recommend exploring the art galleries, museums, eateries, and shops to get a real feel for the local culture in Whistler. And remember that this list only shares some of the whistler summer activities available, there’s so much more to see and do. Contact your travel advisor for more information on what to do in Whistler in summer. 

About the author: Hannah Poaros-McDermott is the Senior Content Coordinator at Fresh Tracks Canada. She has previously written for and shared her local knowledge in Where Vancouver, Where Whistler, and Essential Vancouver magazines. Originally from the UK, Hannah travelled... Read more

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