Valley Trail

Valley Trail
A Jewel in Whistler’s Crown

Story by David Burke | Images by Joern Rohde


In 1976, a year after the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) was incorporated, a committee that included then-Councillor Al Raine, Paul Burrows, Paul Mathews and Norm Paterson filed a report recommending the establishment of a paved Whistler Valley trail that “should connect parks, scenic areas and historic points, and the existing valley communities.”

Bill Barratt, who began as a parks foreman in 1980 and worked his way up to the position of chief administrative officer, said in a 2011 interview with the Whistler Museum and Archives that as construction on what’s now the 46-kilometre Valley Trail proceeded, “it put Whistler, from a summer perspective, on the map.”
Barratt and Trevor Roote, one of the trail’s early visionaries, were among those who negotiated rights-of-way from landowners for the trail’s construction. Wrote Roote in a 1984 report, “Many private property owners granted extensive trail rights of way through their lands at a nominal one-dollar cost.”

Barratt said that might not have been so easy in later years given more recent land values, but lauded the can-do community spirit of those who, in those days, helped make the vision of a world-class resort a reality.
“To the people of Whistler’s credit… people saw the value of it. They recognized how important it was and how much they used it, so it was usually pretty easy to get the right-of-ways.”


These days, one only needs to chat with almost any Whistlerite, or search TripAdvisor comments from resort guests, to learn that the Valley Trail is one of the jewels in Whistler’s crown, a one-of-a-kind resource for both locals and resort guests. It also, incidentally, makes up a segment of the much longer Sea to Sky and TransCanada trails.
“The Valley Trail is a cherished recreational asset and also acts as the main active transportation artery linking our community,” Mayor Jack Crompton said.
“I highly encourage anyone spending time in Whistler to make a stop at one of the many local bike shops to rent a bike and tour the Valley Trail. The gentle grade and forest setting make for an enjoyable ride and an easy way to see many highlights our community has to offer.”

The “trail” — a network of paved paths that link Whistler Village with the resort’s neighbourhoods and parks, from Function Junction in the south to Emerald Estates in the north — welcomes more than 300,000 walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters, and cross-country skiers annually.
And yes, people still see its value.


“The network of trails is impressive, makes walking, running and biking easy,” one commenter wrote on TripAdvisor in 2020. “Ran around the golf course, lots of maps, signs including distances to help make decisions about routes.”
The network is regularly being extended and updated. The most recent work, in 2021, involved the addition of 1.8 km of trail between Millar Creek and Function Junction and the widening of a segment of the trail, improved crossings, and new LED lighting near the Whistler Golf Club, according to


Users should also heed these simple rules:
• Keep right of the centre line.
• Watch your speed; you may encounter slower-moving users around the next turn.
• Pay attention, especially for users entering, leaving, or crossing the trail.
• Use a bell, or your voice, to politely warn others when approaching from behind.
• Keep dogs leashed — preferably a short leash — to prevent them from wandering across the trail. Retractable leashes can be hard to see, so consider a full leash. And… pick up after your pooch!
• Watch for bears. For tips on what to do if you encounter one, visit
• Pull off the trail when stopping to read a map or enjoy the view.

Whistler Eco Tours offers Valley Trail bike tours, with a qualified naturalist/bike guide leading riders to key nature spots and providing commentary on Whistler’s history and geography.

Whether exploring the valley, heading to a park for a picnic or a lake swim, or simply strolling from your accommodation to the Village for dinner, the Valley Trail allows you to do all that and more.
For more information about the Valley Trail, maps, suggested routes, tours, and rentals, visit