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.
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.
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.