- Old friends are best. John Selden
Visit Parkhurst Ghost Town
Previous posts have spoken about Whistler’s hidden secrets and its time to give away another secret: Parkhurst Ghost Village. Nestled on the north shore of Green Lake and accessible by canoe or hiking, it is an impressive and surreal spectacle.
Way back when logging (rather than tourism) was the big business in British Columbia, Parkhurst was a logging village. As the logging industry declined in the 1950’s, Parkhurst was simply abandoned. The results are that wandering around you step back in time to when this community was thriving. You'll see abandoned cars, houses and even a monster tractor nestling on the edge of the lake. Quite simply, a visit to Parkhust is a visit to an interactive museum in the forest. For some history on the Parkhurst logging community check out this great post from Whistler Museum.
Despite Whistler’s punishing winter conditions, there is still a strong sense of what the community used to be. One ramshackle house is still (sort of) standing and several others in different levels of destruction can be explored. There’s the shell of a car that is a mandatory Kodak moment: cruising through the woods in your convertible! The massive logging tractor that is perched on Green Lake takes some exploring to find but is well worth the search. A giant monolith of past times hanging out on the lake.
You can get to Parkhurst a few ways but the two easiest options include canoeing across Green Lake or hiking the Sea-to-Sky trail, then turning off onto the Parkhurst trails. Canoeing takes approximately 1-3 hours while the roundtrip hike takes between 3-5 hours.
If hiking from Whistler Village, you follow the Sea to Sky Trail for six kilometres, all while taking in some beautiful views over Green Lake along the way. After roughly six kilometres there are unmarked trails that veer off to the left that will take you to Parkhurst after about 500 metres. The trails to Parkhurst are fairly well established so shouldn’t be missed. If you decide to canoe, simply head to the north shore of Green Lake and keep your eyes peeled for the giant rotting logging tractor. When you’ve found that, you know you’re near the Parkhurst.
Parkhurst can be visited in the winter by snow-shoeing, but many of the ancient household appliances littered around the area will be hidden by snow. Mosquitoes are around in full force in the forest so some heavy repellent is highly advisable. Dogs are welcome on this trip if you choose to bring them along.
Have fun exploring another one of Whistler’s hidden secrets!