3 Treetop Adventures in Whistler, Canada
Our family has been visiting Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada for years. It’s consistently ranked as a top ski resort in North America. While skiing and snowboarding are the main activities, there are plenty of other things to do in Whistler away from the slopes.
Western Canada is home to a temperate rain forest, and one of the best ways to see its beauty is from above. Here are three experiences that are family-friendly and available all year that will have you soaring above the trees.
3 Outdoor Whistler Adventures for Families
1. Whistler Zip Line Options
We’ve zip lined twice in Whistler. Once during winter and recently, in early spring. During both times, there was still snow everywhere, which made for a great winter wonderland. There was something very special about zip lining over snow-covered scenery and treetops instead of a tropical jungle.
Our recent zip line adventure was with Superfly Ziplines. The three-hour tour started with a ride up the mountain on Polaris rangers that added another layer of adventure. We loved Superfly because they offered side-by-side zip lines, which saved time and made it more fun by racing with each other. Note: The heavier one always wins!
Their seated harness felt more comfortable, made our rides smoother and it was harder to flip around or go upside down. We went on four zip lines with varying heights, lengths and speed. Our first station really got the adrenaline going being North America’s highest zip line that’s operational all year. Their longest line was 0.8 mile (1300 m) and the fastest with speeds of 50-60 km per hour.
The views of the mountains and the valleys were spectacular. Each station was connected by wooden walkways and a suspension bridge. The last line was slow enough so visitors can hold hands. The guides were all very helpful, made the experience fun, and always ensured our safety.
Their most popular tours may be during the summer, but zip lining over this winter wonderland was just as exhilarating. Reserve early to get your preferred times. The minimum age for this Whistler zip line is 7 years-old; the minimum weight is 60 lbs (27kg) and the maximum weight is 250 lbs (113kg).
Our first Whistler zip line adventure was with Ziptrek Ecotours a couple of years ago. We took their Bear Tour that consisted of five lines and lasted almost three hours. These lines ranged from 400 to 1100 feet. Ziptrek uses a five-point, full-body harness, but it seemed lighter, more comfortable and less bulky than ones we’ve used in the Caribbean and Mexico.
The Bear Tour is great for first-time zip liners and families. The minimum age for this tour is 6 years-old. They allow tandem zip lining for children who are over 6 years-old but weigh less than the minimum weight requirement of 65 lbs (30kg).
We crossed several suspension bridges and boardwalks in between the zip line platforms which made the walks more fun. We loved their longest line that crossed the river valley and an almost frozen Fitzsimmons Creek and took us from Whistler to Blackcomb Mountain. The zip line stations also doubled as observation platforms with educational signs to learn about the trees, plants and animals in this forest. Yes, you can actually learn things while zip lining.
Ziptrek’s last line gave visitors the chance to “freestyle.” My kids were excited to hang upside down. They also have the Eagle, Mammoth and the Sasquatch tours with zip lines that increase in length and height, plus a Twilight tour. The Sasquatch is North America’s longest zip line, and we’d love to do this next time.
2. TREETREK CANOPY TOUR
For those who crave Whistler adventures above the trees without zip lining, Ziptrek’s TreeTrek Canopy Tour offers the ideal experience. Following almost the same trails as the zip lines, this educational and guided tour was a wonderful way to learn about western Canada’s coastal temperate rain forest. The views over the valley and 150 feet above the roaring river were beautiful.
Our tour involved traveling on nine treetop and suspension bridges, stairways, trails and boardwalks for almost two hours. We were here with snow still on the ground, and my kids loved walking through the trails above trees. Our guide was very engaging, and we learned all about the spruce, fir and hemlock trees that surrounded us. We also learned about the animals that live in the forest and even found spots where the woodpeckers had touched. Most animals were still hibernating during our visit, but warmer weather allows for visitors to see deer and even bears.
My kids almost forgot they were actually learning something while balancing their way through the bridges. The forest trees were filled with hair-like, green threads that almost looked like moss hanging on the branches. We learned that these were lichens, or witch’s hair. They only grow less than a millimeter each year in non-polluted environments. They have been here for years, which demonstrated the freshness of the alpine and forest air we were breathing.
This is a fantastic tour in which the whole family can participate, no matter what age. Infants are welcome as long as they’re carried in personal backpack carriers.
The Adventure Group Whistler also offers a 2.5 to 3.5-hour Treetop Adventure Course with 70 different obstacles that include rope swings and balance beams among the trees. There is also a specific 1.5 to 2.5-hour tour for kids ages 7 to 13 that includes suspension bridges and climbing walls.
3. PEAK 2 PEAK GONDOLA
The Peak 2 Peak gondola offers the best panoramic views of the valley and Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This gondola is considered the world’s highest lift of its kind and the longest unsupported span for a lift as acknowledged by the Guinness World Records. It truly is a 360° experience with a spectacular bird’s eye view.
It is a wonderful sightseeing experience for the whole family regardless of age and activity level. The gondola connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. It’s a 2.7 mile (4.4 km) journey that takes about 11 minutes. Each gondola can carry a maximum of 22 people. The ride may not seem long, but traveling among the clouds, over the trees and across the valleys and peaks is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip. The gondola allows visitors to stop and enjoy the top of each mountain, which offers facilities all year.
There were also some silver glass-bottom gondolas that came every 15 minutes. It was worth the wait and the kids really loved riding in it. There was a countdown clock to let you know when the special gondola was due to arrive, and the staff ensured you were on a separate line for it. Sightseeing tours with a guide using the gondola were also available.
You may also enjoy:
- Best Whistler Restaurants for Kids
- 5 Great Reasons to Visit Canada Year-Round
- Consider Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa, located in the heart of Whistler village just steps from the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain chairlifts
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The Adventure Group Whistler, Ziptrek Ecotours and Tourism Whistler graciously provided Mary’s family with complimentary tours for these Whistler adventures. All photos and opinions are her own.