If you’re into street art and graffiti, this hike’s for you
The Train Wreck Hike in Whistler is an easy 2 km round-trip hike with an elevation gain of a mere 30 metres. It takes about 1.5 hours, depending on how long you stay and check out the train cars. If you’ve been following me here for a while now, then you’ll know that I’m not a fan of long, difficult hikes.
I absolutely love nature and being outside. I just don’t love 15 km hikes up mountains, lol! If you’re new here, first off, welcome! And second, this Instagram post will fill you in on my love of hiking up steep mountains 😉
As one who sometimes struggles with finding a balance between working out and travelling, shorter hikes keep me active while still feeling rested at the end of the day.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links I receive a small commission that enables me to continue providing you with awesome and informative blog posts like this one.
This Whistler trail has been popular for years, long before it was legal to visit. For decades, people wanting to see the train wreckage had to trespass and cross active train tracks. Not only was this illegal, but it also wasn’t safe. Eventually, something was done to accommodate visitors and their safety.
A suspension-style bridge was built in 2016. It was designed to fit into the train wreck theme of the area while keeping hikers safe. Be sure to look down as you cross the bridge. The picturesque Cheakamus River is rushing by beneath your feet.
Shortly after crossing the bridge, you will stumble upon the colourful boxcars strewn throughout the coastal rainforest. There are bike ramps for mountain bikes that make for ideal photo ops, just make sure there are no bikers coming.
Keep exploring until you find all seven of the train cars. Initially, you will see a bunch of them grouped together. You have to keep walking a bit further to find the rest. A couple of them are further into the forest than the initial ones you will come across.
I just love the way that, after 60+ years, the train cars look like part of the forest. The trees have grown around them making them appear almost as if they belong. Whistler’s Train Wreck hike is one-of-a-kind. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else in the world.
Freight cars in the forest
This hike offers something that most don’t – the unique scenery of spray-painted train cars scattered among the trees. Although you might think this is part of an art installation, the train cars are real. They are in the forest as a result of a crash in 1956. The train was going more than double the speed limit and one of the cars came off the tracks, derailing the entire thing.
This site has not only become part of Whistler tourism, but it has also become a part of its history and cultural identity. If you’ve visited Whistler, but haven’t ventured on this hike yet, I highly recommend it. If for nothing more than the fact that you’re hiking in a coastal rainforest cluttered with boxcars. It’s an outdoor history museum and art gallery combined into one.
When hiking in and around the wreckage, remember that this is an actual train wreck. The boxcars are old and there are sharp edges and lots of opportunities for injury. Be careful and take your time as you decide where to step and what to climb on top of.
It could be because I tend to be accident-prone, but I’m a firm believer in safety first. When hiking you should always carry a first aid kit. I’ve had to use mine on several occasions. Or maybe it’s just because I do stuff like in the photo below 😉
My friends and I wandered around, checking out all of the train cars. We went inside some of them and climbed on top of the others. I’m usually a fan of hikes that have a water feature like a lake or waterfall, but these tattered and colourful boxcars kept us entertained for a while.
Where to find Whistler’s Train Wreck Hike
This hike is open year-round, just be sure to have proper hiking footwear especially if you go during the winter months.
On the east side of Highway 99, off Cheakamus Lake Road you will find the Interpretive Forest parking. The parking lot for the Train Wreck hike is located here. If you turn left at the Function Junction lights when coming from Whistler Village, the parking lot is the first left before the bus shelter.
For another unique workout, check out the Tulum Jungle Gym. If your travels ever take you to this Mexican town, be sure to drop in and work out at this real-life Flintstone gym. It’s so much fun!
Have you been? If not, is this a hike that interests you? Pin this post for your future trip to Whistler.