While chatting with some friendly folks at the Whistler Peak2Peak ticket customer service booth, who were explaining that despite it being the first week in July most of the trails at the top of the mountain were still closed due to snow, they were offering suggestions for local hikes to do. The Whistler Train Wreck was one of them and it piqued our interest. Checking it out a little bit online showed it should be an interesting and easy hike, and it was.
Departing from the parking lot of a store at Function Junction, you walk into the woods where you'll see a sign pointing for "Train Wreck". Follow that for a little bit and you come to an clearing where you walk straight and then there's a pile of rocks marking the path on the left that takes you back into the woods on the opposite side of the clearing where you emerged. A little bit longer in the woods and soon you'll pass under the Sea to Sky highway and pretty soon you emerge to train tracks. From this point you can either follow the tracks down to another set of rock markers indicating a path back into the woods. This time the path meanders a bit back and forth but pretty soon you'll come to a river. For us in July the river was pretty full and it was really pretty. The water is that odd shade of turquoise green that seems unnatural, and there are tons of fallen timber that clogs the water making it divert this way and that. Very pretty! Keep following the path (it's pretty impossible to get lost) and you'll pop out to the train tracks a couple more times before reaching the train cars.
And what a bizarre and interesting destination! It's weird to see these massive steel cars strewn amongst the trees. You have to wonder what it was like that day when these things came crashing through the woods to lie in the positions they are now. And now the trees and forest have grown up around them, incorporating them into the natural surrounding. Layer on top of that the myriad graffiti and the wooden bike tracks that have built on and around them and it's just so fascinating. It's this frozen moment in time some 50 or 60 years ago, but you can see things continuing their lives around them. Most of the cars (I think there were 7 total?) are pretty intact and you can see inside them, climb on top of them and get in them. A couple of them made it pretty far through the woods and came to rest perched up above the river. If one of the trees that the frontmost car were to fall in I would imagine the car would slide down into the river; what a sight that would be!
This was one of the most interesting hikes I've done, not because it's challenging or it's a particularly scenic destination, but it's just so unique and has an historical twist to it. We probably spent about an hour just wandering around the cars, looking at the graffiti and being amazed. While we were there a train passed by on the very tracks this one had been on, although from the cars themselves you can no longer see the tracks immediately so we really only heard it. We were there on a midweek afternoon and there was nobody else to be found. On our way back to the car we passed a few people headed out that way and we guessed that it could be busy on a weekend. We were glad to be there by ourselves, it added to the atmosphere of the hike.
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