Scenic Stand Up Paddle Boarding
The views, the tranquillity, the opportunity to unwind and explore a whole new frontier are just a few of the reasons why we dig stand up paddle boarding. This activity can be a sweaty, strenuous workout, a zen yoga session, a mode of transportation, a social outing or just about anything else you make of it. We can’t help but gush about Whistler stand up paddle boarding because our backyard is littered with some of the most beautiful places to sup.
Options for Sea to Sky and Whistler Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Wondering where you should take your paddle board next? Drive to, walk to, hike to, maybe even heli too? There is no shortage of options when it comes to places to explore via Whistler stand up paddle boarding. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite locations for you to draw inspiration from when planning your next supping adventure!
Drive to: The Soo River
Don’t let the word river scare you. The Soo River does have a steady flow that’s not so paddle board friendly, but there is a small and scenic area of still water that is perfect for supping. Part of the appeal of this area is the memorising teal green glacial water that flows down from the Pemberton Icecap. Years ago a fire ran through the Soo Valley, and while most of the damage has been disguised with new growth, standing tall and perfectly preserved in the calmness of the river are some trees that serve as a reminder of the fire’s initial damage. There are also plenty of trees lurking under the water so watch that your fins don’t get hung up on branches. While paddling under the big rock face of Soo Tip Peak you can weave through old tall barkless trees – it’s a pretty magical and quiet spot if you ask me.
Directions: From the Whistler Village, head north on highway 99 towards Pemberton. Turn left up to the Soo Valley FSR. When you encounter the Hydro Dam, take a left and park in one of the pull outs that over looks the calm water showcased in the photo below. Please note that the Hydro dam can change the conditions of the water so use good judgment and stay far away from the dam area. This area is not for beginner paddle boarders as you may encounter some current and will need strong steering abilities.
Hike to: Cheakamus Lake
An inflatable sup is required for this journey with a sturdy bag – we recommend the Kahuna iSUP, as featured in all of our images. As one of the shortest hikes in Garibaldi Park, the Cheakamus Lake Trail is well known and immaculate, making the short 3 km (6 km round trip) hike very manageable with a paddle board on your back. You might have done this hike before just to see the beautiful lake, but now with a SUP you can really explore it! The 5.6 km long lake is large enough to totally swallow you up in its views. It’s a large lake that sits nestled beneath glaciated terrain and mountaintops that will send a shiver down your spine – in a good way.
Directions: From the Whistler Village head south on Highway 99 towards Squamish and left on Cheakamus Lake Road. Take your first left onto the Cheakamus Lake FSR Road, which will lead you right to the parking lot. From here the well-maintained path and signage will lead you right to the lake. This is an easy hike and an easy paddle board but combined they make for a moderate adventure requiring moderate physical ability. Please note that no dogs are allowed in Garibaldi Park and if you wish to camp in the Cheakamus area you will need to get a permit online prior to entering the park.
Walk to: Loggers Lake
Once a volcanic crater, Loggers Lake is now a swimming hole of choice on hot summer days for Whistler locals. Its unique formation is evident with its basalt-lined walls and steep ridges above the lake. It’s not a large lake, but it is a one of a kind experience to paddle around a crater that was once filled with lava instead of water! The short 500m uphill walk from the parking lot is doable with any type of sup and only requires an ounce of graceful agility.
Directions: From the Whistler Village, head south on highway 99 towards Squamish and the turn left on Cheakamus Lake Road. Take your first left onto the Cheakamus Lake FSR Road and stay right crossing a one-way bridge. Follow this FSR until you begin to see signs on the right for Loggers Lake. There is a small parking lot on the left-hand side of the road.
Drive to: Green Lake
True to its name, Green Lake is a large glacial fed lake – evident by its stunning colour. Straight from the boat dock in the Whistler community of Emerald Estates, the sights are already gorgeous. Wedge Mountain, Wert Mountain, Armchair Glacier, Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain are all in sight and tower above the pristine lake. As you paddle across the lake you can take in nearly the whole Whistler valley including sights of the well-known Rainbow Mountain. For an extra sight seeing experience, cut straight east across the lake from the boat launch and soon you’ll have eyes on an abandoned tractor from the ghost town of Parkhurst. Keep crawling along the edge of the lake and you’ll spot more evidence of the old town’s logging presence. There are also a few cliff-jumping opportunities accessed via paddle board on Green Lake, the most popular being on the far northeast side of the lake before the Green River starts to flow out.
Directions: From the Whistler Village head north towards Pemberton on Highway 99. Turn right at the second entrance to the Whistler community of Emerald Estates on Summer Lane, followed by a quick left. At the end of this street, you’ll find the boat launch and main dock.
Helicopter to: A Secret Alpine Lake
Want the absolute, most scenic Whistler stand up paddle boarding experience? Well, that will require a helicopter, but no worries; our friends at Blackcomb Helicopters have a trip with supping in mind. Flying up and over Whistler’s backyard to a secret lake spot is definitely the right way to start a stand-up paddle boarding scenic tour! Upon landing at the lake location, you will be fed a feast before getting ready to stand up paddle board. It’s a pretty cool experience to cliff jump, sup and explore an alpine lake hidden among the Sea to Sky mountains. Find out more by visiting the heli-picnic tour page on the Blackcomb Helicopters website. (Or, if you want to check out more air-bound adventures, check out our posts on Whistler heli rides and adventures, heli biking and boarding, and Whistler alpine activities.)
Share Your Whistler SUP Adventures With Gibbons
We know that there are even more places to paddle in our backyard, but these are a few of our favourites that cover a variety of scenery and Whistler stand up paddle boarding experiences. We’d love to see where you get to via paddle board in our part of the woods! Tag us on Instagram at @gibbonswhistler or use the hashtag #ThisIsWhistler and share the Whistler stand up paddle boarding love!
Feature Image: Mitch Winton Photography