Visit Whistler's Ancient Cedars Hiking Trail
Towering Ancient Red and Yellow Cedars, beautiful views of the Soo Valley and Showh Lake, fresh air, peacefulness and exercise. Whistler's Ancient Cedars hike is a great afternoon or morning activity!
The Ancient Cedars hike is a 5km round trip with 175m elevation gain; it takes approximately 2 hours depending on your speed and the amount of time spent at the trees grove. It is a relatively easy hike, but there are still parts that will get your heart pumping. It starts off with a few switchbacks, levels out for a while and then a short steeper hill climb, at the top of this hill there is a beautiful look out showing Showh Lake and the Soo Valley. You can have a short break, take some pictures and take in the gorgeous views. From here the trail is relatively level, you will start a loop surrounding the ancient cedars tree grove.
The Tree Grove
This is an area of the Valley that has not been logged. There are amazing gigantic cedar trees and standing beside them you feel very young and small. They are some the oldest living things in the entire Sea to Sky corridor, some 1000 years or older. The ones they lay along the forest floor will give you an even closer grasp of their size. Yellow and Red Cedars is what is most present in the grove; there will also be smaller western hemlocks and Douglas-firs.
Red cedars are the larger of the two trees (often called Western Red Cedar). They grow best in moist to wet soils, with lots of nutrients. They also love lush forests, mountainsides, forested swamps and stream banks. These forests usually have a lush layer of ferns, huckleberries, and Devil's club, with a thick moss carpet on the forest floor. They can grow up to 60m tall, have drooping branches and a trunk that is often spread out wide at the base. Some trees live well over a thousand years, with the oldest verified age being 1460.
Yellow cedars are a medium-sized tree and can grow up to 24m tall. They like to grow in deep, slightly acidic, moist soils, usually as single trees, or in small clumps. It is common for them to grow in red cedar old growth stands in places such as Whistler. They are much smaller than red cedars, but this does not mean they are younger. They grow very slowly, and when compared to red cedars they can be deceptively small for their age. They have a broad, grooved trunk that spreads out widely at the base.
Access to the trail is approximately 15 min north of Whistler at the Cougar Mountain forest service road. You will need to drive passed the Adventure Group basecamp. The trailhead begins at 4.5km up this gravel road. A car will make it, but you really need a 4 wheel drive, as it is a bumpy logging road. If you go in a car, just go slow and you will be fine.
The hike is a lot shorter and less crowded than some of the bigger hikes around. Plus dogs are allowed on this trail. The sheer size and age of these cedar trees make this an 100% worthwhile hike. On your next trip to Whistler make sure to plan a few hours to visit the Ancient Cedars Tree Grove.
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