Due to joining Instagram (find us @hkwt_pnw)I have learned more about our world and the things in it. I get to see amazing pictures and I get to find out about things I didn’t even know was there! Recently I saw some pictures of a hike in the Whistler area where several mangled train cars were spray painted with all sorts of graffiti. Based on everything I read it looked to be a fairly short hike and after talking to one of the ladies at the Whistler RV Park and Campground this is a very popular hike year round. After a great day skiing in the sun we just couldn’t bear to go inside yet so we set off for the trailhead and took on this hike! We were not sorry we did!
We headed south on Hwy 99 from the Village and turned left at the Function Junction intersection (toward the Interpretive Forest). We followed the road until we went over a bridge that crosses the Cheakamus River and took the next right (Jane’s Lake Road). Follow the road down until you see a parking pull out on your left where there will be parking signs for the “Train Wreck”. There will be signs showing the trailhead and which way to hike on the right side of the road as you drive in (pictured above…FYI – You will now use the same trailhead that you would use for the Trash Hike). This is the only access to the hike now that the new bridge is finished. Previously you accessed it from Function Junction and had to cross over a set of railroad tracks which we were told is illegal to do (according to residents). We saw mention that things were not sign posted in the past, but things must have changed because we found everything is really well sign posted.
From what I learned, in 1956 a train derailed near Function Junction and 7 train cars were left near the Cheakamus River. It seems the train was heading south on the tracks and was going a bit too fast for the area which was undergoing a track repair. This lead to the train coming off the tracks. The cars were pulled completely off the tracks to make room for other train transport and dumped. They can now be found surrounded by firs and cedars that grew nice and tall around them over the last 60 years (this is why it seems the cars seemingly missed hitting every single tree!).
Train Wreck has become a favorite hike for locals and visitors alike. The walk can be a little bit hilly in some places but there is nothing that would be hard for kids here and little ones will be able to do this whole hike with no trouble especially in the summer time when the ground is dry.
As we hiked this while there was still snow on the ground, there are places that were very icy and slick, so take care in the winter. We had hiking poles with us and they made a great difference in helping us with balance (I recommend them if you have them). During future winter trips I plan to bring my snowshoes and do this hike along with the Trash Hike. I think it would be great! (Click here to see the Train Wreck Trail Map)
We hiked for about 40 minutes before we got to the brand new suspension bridge that will take you across the Cheakamus River and delivers you steps from the rail cars. This bridge was completed in 2016 and is really lovely. The bridge really looks like a train car with the “wheels” at each end, the old wooden floors they had represented with the planks on the boardwalks and ramps and the cables looking like the metal frames on the inside of the cars. The bridge is one area where you will want to hold on to your small children. The drop down to rushing Cheakamus is long and there are large gaps in the cables that little ones could slip through.
The area where the train cars are is really interesting. They have created an extreme mountain bike park and you will see ramps and traces of wood around. It looked fairly derelict while we were there. I am not sure if that is due to a hard winter or if things are not being used in this way anymore. The art on the cars is really interesting and it feels strange standing in this beautiful forest with a river rushing by, mangled metal cars surrounding you, bright paint sprayed all over the cars, with the ramps and platforms braced between trees. Crazy juxtoposition happening there, but that is the beauty of the place and what drew me there to begin with!
My only sadness is that there is a lot of garbage that has left behind including spray paint cans and paint rollers (as well as the other broken bottles, cans, and other trash from what looks like parties). Please, if you visit, pack out your garbage.
It is a lovely area and was a really nice short hike which means it can get really busy so expect to see lots of people along the way!
We highly recommend this so make sure you check it out on your visit!