Snowshoeing to Alexander Falls

Snowshoeing to Alexander Falls

Alexander Falls is one of the (many) fabulous waterfalls along the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, Canada. We have visited before in the summertime, but I was keen to explore the snowshoe trail that allows you to get right up close to this waterfall. The trail is short, easy-ish and would be great for kids. Just be aware, you do need to buy a ticket (from either Callaghan Country or Whistler Olympic Park).

Whistler is having a really tough time at the moment with covid-19, so I don’t recommend visiting right now. BUT this is a super fun area full of trails to explore next winter.

Alexander Falls snowshoeing map

Alexander Falls snowshoeing – the basics

Distance: 2.4 km for the loop
Elevation gain
: 120m
Time: 1-1.5 hours
What to bring:
It’s a short walk, but as it’s in the snow, we brought the 10 Essentials.
You’re not supposed to hike on these trails without snowshoes (you can rent them at the start of the trail)
Facilities: Car park with a lodge, coffee bus, loos and equipment rentals.
Cost: $16.50 – This covers all the trails in both Callaghan Country or Whistler Olympic Park
Dogs: Dog friendly off leash area
How hard is it?
In good conditions this is a family friendly trail. The trail back is pretty steep, but it’s so short that it’s all doable. Having said that, the difficulty of snowshoe trails can change massively depending on the conditions, so please be aware this can be a challenging trail when it’s icy. Check at the booth about trail conditions before you buy your ticket.

Can you see Alexander falls for free?

Even if you don’t want to pay to hike to Alexander Falls, there is a free viewpoint just off Callaghan Valley Road where you can see it for free. This is only about a minute away from where you park in the Ski Callaghan parking lot.

Snowshoeing to Alexander Falls – getting started

We parked in the Ski Callaghan area (as it is closer to Alexander Falls), but you can also hike over from Whistler Olympic Park. The trailhead is pretty well marked at the edge of the car park. There are a bunch of buildings (for snowshoe rentals, the loo, and a double decker bus that looks like it’s a coffee shop.)

In winter, you’ll need snowshoes

Some of this trail might be okay with just microspikes as it was well packed down. However we were told that you are not supposed to walk on these trails without snowshoes. We could see some places where people had postholed in the snow (so you may be able to get away without them.) Still, we tend to follow rules, so we just wore snowshoes the whole time.

Route finding

The trails are very easy to follow. We found plenty of trail markers on trees, as well as signs that were posted into the snow.

The trail itself is super fun! It undulates through the forest with some cool snow bridges, fabulous old growth trees and general prettiness. We took the Alexander Falls Explorer trail which goes on a bit of a tour of the forest on the way down to the waterfall.

We visited when there was new snow in a few places, but in the forest the canopy had acted like a giant umbrella, so in some areas the snow was covered in fallen pine needles, rather than fresh snowflakes.

If you fancy a longer, quiet hike you can continue along the Finger Lakes trail. If you’re heading to Alexander falls, don’t forget to turn off the main path.

Madeley Creek

You’ll emerge out of the forest at Madeley Creek, right below the free viewpoint for Alexander Falls. From here, you’re just a hop skip and a jump away from the waterfall.

Alexander Falls up close

I LOVE getting up close to the base of waterfalls. It’s often not possible because you’d be standing right in the creek. However in winter Madeley Creek freezes so much that you can stand right where the river should be. We arrived when spring was just starting to un-freeze the waterfall, so it was pretty amazing to stand on the frozen creek looking up at all that gushing water.

I may have to go back when it is even colder to see the giant wall of ice that Alexander Falls can become.

We called our parents (back home in the UK) to show off the epic views, and then stayed here to eat some lunch. We had the whole area to ourselves so we spent plenty of time taking photos and munching our sarnies.

Alexander Falls Express trail

We took a faster route back up to the main snowshoeing area. The Alexander Falls Express trail will get your heart pumping, but you only gain around 50m in elevation (in 500m) so it’s still doable. If you find it tough, just take it slowly. Having said that, the map mentioned that this trail is closed in icy conditions, so it must be tough on some days.

Ski Callaghan Area

This is just to show off some of the cool buildings in Callaghan Country. I really loved the day lodge and the coffee bus. There is a separate building for cross country ski/snowshoe rentals as well as some loos.

We continued further into Whistler Olympic Park for more snowshoeing. However we did so many trails in a single day, that I better stop here for now. I’ll write a second post about the beautiful trails we found later in the afternoon. If you’re interested, you can see the full map of trails here.

Sooo many waterfalls

If you liked the look of this, and need more waterfalls in your life; I’ve made a map so you can find amazing waterfalls we’ve visited in BC. Green means you don’t have to walk, Blue is for waterfalls with easy walks and Dark Blue means you’ll need to do a slightly longer/harder walk to reach them.

Have you visited Alexander Falls or any of the waterfalls near Whistler? I really love Brandywine Falls, Nairn Falls and Shannon Falls which are all fantastic both when they are frozen, and in summer. Let me know if you know other good uns near here, or near you! Or, just click on the pins below to save them.

Alexander Falls free viewpoint - You can get to this viewpoint without even hiking Alexander Falls - Fabulous frozen waterfall near Whistler Alexander Falls - A fun snowshoeing trail near Whistler

23 thoughts on “Snowshoeing to Alexander Falls

  1. Looks absolutely amazing, love the snow shoes and the delicious sandwich but those waterfalls look incredible in the snow. What a fabulous place to hike.

  2. I haven’t been snowshoeing since I was a little kid with my dad, but I would love to try it again. This looks like a beautiful place to explore in them!

  3. I have never visited there. It was nice to live vicariously through your lens.

    It looks beautiful with the snow, but I would need to go when it’s warmer outside. I have grown accustomed to Southern weather.

  4. i have never been snowshoeing before, but i feel a little more prepared after reading your blog. I’d definitely like to check this area out on my next Vancouver trip.

  5. We have seen this from the viewing platform. Wanted to snowshoe it this year but didn’t make it with everything going on. Next year!! I’m sure my kids would love to snowshoe there too!

  6. I still have yet to visit Canada, but I definitely need to add this to my list! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  7. This looks so wonderful and not crowded at all. Sadly, a part of the world not accessible to me at present but one day I will visit Canada!

  8. I’ve never tried snowshoeing before! Cross country skiing is as close as I’ve come. But looks fun, can’t wait to try!

  9. This looks like so much fun! I am not a big winter/snow person (although I am working on that!) and have never gone snowshoeing, but it is something that I would like to try. I also love waterfalls, so this sounds like the perfect combination! I love your photos of the falls, so beautiful!

  10. Winter is a fairly new concept to me, but I do believe nature looks amazing under a layer of snow. I’ve been wanting to try snowshoeing for a while, would love to explore a place like this and see those waterfalls. Maybe next winter!

  11. Snowshoeing is one of my fave activities in winter. I’ll definitely be checking out alexander falls next year!

  12. Admittedly, I have only been snowshoeing one time, and I was not particularly good at it. But I do wish that I was better at winter/snowy hiking/exploring. And this trail looks so magical; I would love to give it try someday!

  13. Those “snow bridges” are too freaking cool! I’d love to snowshoe to a waterfall someday — it’s such a great workout and frozen waterfalls are so gorgeous.

    1. Thanks Carrie! Yeah snow bridges always look amazing, although they van be a bit scary to cross! We are always super careful around them!!

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