Whistler travel tips


Whistler is one of the most popular mountain towns in British Columbia. This popular mountain town is located northeast of Vancouver, getting from Vancouver to Whistler is a beautiful 121 km (75 mile) drive which takes around 2 hours – depending on your stops and traffic.

Once you get to Whistler you’re going to want to explore and see all the top sights. Whistler extends far beyond the limits of just Whistler Village. What seems like a small alpine village is actually spread out over a surprisingly large area – 240 km² to be exact. Attracting outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, when visiting the different lakes and mountain trails in the area, you will quickly realize you need to know how to get around Whistler.

Especially if you want to explore different areas and attractions of Whistler, you’ll need to be able to get around Whistler with ease. Nobody likes getting stranded in a place they’re not familiar with. This big but relatively accessible mountain town has so much to be explored, we’re here to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Getting to all the different must see sights in the area can be overwhelming for first time visitors to Whistler. To help you make the most of your trip, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to everything about your transportation options and how to get around Whistler.

Wondering what else Whistler has to offer? Check out our other Whistler articles:

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Types of Transportation in Whistler

There are a few different transportation options in Whistler. They range from walking the beautiful streets to taking public transit, taxis, and rideshare.

BC Transit (Whistler Public Transit System/Whistler Village Shuttle)

The Whistler public transportation system is surprisingly good for a mountain town. Their bus routes, a part of BC Transit, are open all year round and flex to the demand of the area. In peak seasons, you will find a lot more buses running to support the influx of tourism the town receives. Buses connect the village, upper village, residential areas, and different trails in the city.

Each trip will cost $2.50 CAD (drivers don’t carry change) or you can get sheets of 10 tickets for a bit of a deal. If you’re visiting Whistler with the fam, you’ll be happy to know kids under 12 ride free all year round. Once in Whistler, the best places to get your bus tickets are Meadow Park Sports Centre, Whistler Visitor Centre, The Grocery Store, Municipal Hall, Nesters Market, Hi-Whistler, Forecast Coffee, and Creekside Market.

Note: Whistler uses BC Transit which is a different company than Translink that services Vancouver. This means that you’ll need a different bus pass than the one used in Vancouver.

In true mountain town fashion, you can bring all your ski and snowboard gear on the buses. In the summer, you’ll be able to strap your bike to the bike racks on the front of the bus.

You can check out the Whistler bus schedules and maps to make sure you get to your destination. If you’re looking to plan your trip, you can use the BC Transit app or check it out on their web version.

Whistler Free Shuttle

One of the perks of BC Transit is that weekends and holidays in the summer are free. Yes, you heard that right – free. It starts at 5 am on Saturday and goes until Sunday at 3:15 am (or Monday if it’s a holiday). This free shuttle in Whistler goes into effect from June 15 to Labour Day (the first Monday in September) and is an epic way to travel Whistler on a budget.

There are also some routes that are free for the entire year. Check them out:

  • The Marketplace Shuttle operates from mid November to April and goes to the Gondola Transit Exchange and back.
  • Route 5 also goes to and from the same Gondola Transit Exchange to the Upper Village/Benchlands and is free year round.
  • From mid June to the first couple weeks of September Lost Lake Shuttle (Route 8) is also included in the free service.


Whistler is hugely popular with mountain bikers in the summer. After the snow melts on the ski hill, it becomes mountain biking season in Whistler. In summer, Whistler’s streets will be lined with bikes coming off runs. This is a great way to explore Whistler and get a perspective that differs from the typical snowy photos you’re used to seeing.

If you’re visiting Whistler in winter, you will see people on fat bikes taking on Whistler’s snowy terrain. This can be a great way to get around the area, just make sure you wear some extra layers!

The Valley Trail

The Whistler Valley Trail is a 46 km (28.5 miles) paved trail system that weaves and connects every part of Whistler. You’ll find people walking and running, biking, rollerblading, and skateboarding. We love that this trail is pet friendly so we can bring our dogs along. In the winter the trail is maintained for walking, cross country skiing, and fat biking.

The trail can get fairly busy so be sure to have trail etiquette. Stay right, share the trail, keep dogs leashed, and pick up after them… and watch for bears! And please don’t stop in the middle of the trail – move to the side before putting on the brakes.

A few of the most popular routes are:

  • Whistler Village to Rainbow Park ~ 6.5 km
  • Whistler Golf Club Loop ~ 4.5 km
  • Creekside to the Lakes ~ 6.5 km
  • Whistler Village to Meadow Park ~ 9 km


When you think of how to get around Whistler, one of the best ways is on foot. Whistler is a popular place to walk around and explore all the beauty of the area. Whistler Village has many walking trails with shops lining the pathway.

Most of the village has pedestrian access only making walking the best form of transportation. It also makes shopping and taking those epic Whistler selfies easy. You will want to slow down anyways when exploring the top Whistler sights like the Olympic rings.

With so much to offer, you will want to reserve some time on your Whistler vacation to take your time walking around and not feel rushed.

If you’re wanting to explore beyond the Village, there are a few really beautiful old growth forest walking trails around that are worth exploring.

While walking around Whistler is a great option while exploring Whistler Village, if you want to get to the surrounding lakes and mountain trails, it will likely be too far to access on foot.

Driving in Whistler

Like most of Canada, having a private vehicle is by far the easiest way to get around to the different must see sights in Whistler. Whether you are driving your own or using a rental car, having the freedom of a your own set of wheels will allow you to get to all the different areas of this mountain town.

If you are visiting in the summer months, you will have no problem getting around with a private car. If you are visiting in winter, you will want to make sure you have some confidence driving your car and your winter driving abilities before heading out on the streets.

It is important to remember that you will be going on mountain roads. Having a 4×4 is ideal – at the minimum, you’ll want winter tires with a snowflake on them. You will also need to check the day’s weather before heading out.

It’s worth keeping in mind that most places around Whistler will have paid parking, which can add up.

Parking in Whistler

There are a few different places to find parking in Whistler. While street parking is an option in summer, when the snow hits, most of the street parking disappears. There are 3 main parking lot regions to choose from.

None of these lots allow for overnight parking in the winter months. You will want to make sure your Whistler hotel offers parking if you are driving in Whistler in winter.

Day lots 1-5 are the best spots (click the link for google maps directions). These are in the main village – within a 10 minutes walk to the Upper and Main Village. Each of the lots has fees that range from hourly, daily to monthly. If you’re visiting Whistler in an RV, oversized vehicles (over 20 feet) are only able to park in a designated area beside Lot 3. Overnight parking is allowed between April and October for a maximum of 24 hours.

Day lots 6-8 are winter only parking in Whistler (still no overnight parking available). An easy way to find these parking lots on a map is to search Base 2 on Blackcomb Mountain.

Creekside Underground Parkade is one of the few underground parking lots in Whistler, besides the ones offered in hotels. There are many different levels so you’ll have somewhat of a decent chance

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

If you drive an eclectic vehicle like us, you’ll be happy to know there are many EV charging stations in Whistler, including some Tesla chargers. Check out Plugshare’s map of Whistler to find the closest one to you.

Taxi and Rideshare in Whistler

If you are traveling short distances, taking a taxi can get you places quickly. Whistler Resort Cabs and Whistler Taxi are both open 24 hours a day.

Whistler is also home to a rideshare program called Whistle where you can download an app to get you from point A to B. This is a good option when you are looking to get somewhere outside of the bus routes.

Whistler Taxi and Rideshare Phone Numbers

  • Whistler Resort Cabs: +1 604-938-1515
  • Whistler Taxi: +1 604-932-3333
  • Whistle! Rideshare and Taxi 1-778-770-1101

Take a Whistler Tour

Whistler has so much more to offer than simply Whistler Village. If you’re wanting to get a glimpse of all this gorgeous area has to offer, booking a guided tour is the way to go!

A private Whistler sightseeing tour will take you out of the village limits to see all the best sights in the area. You will visit nearby lakes and rivers, the Olympic Village, and historical sights. This tour is great for being out in the woods and giving you a chance to see some of the local wildlife in the area. The tour price varies based on how many people are in your group.

If all that sounds good to you but you’re looking to get social on a group tour, this sightseeing tour will save you some money and is offered in a larger group setting which is great for solo travelers.

If you’d like to explore farther than your feet can take you, this Whistler e-bike tour is a great way to see the city. The 3 hour tour costs $137.12 CAD ($102 USD) and takes you through all the best parts of Whistler. You will pass through Whistler Village where you will learn about all the best places to eat and drink and meander through Whistler’s impressive old growth forests passing rivers along the way.

If you love the idea of seeing Whistler on a bike but are more interested in seeing the mountains than the city, this Whistler mountain biking tour is a great option. A 3 hour ride in Whistlers outback costs $275 CAD ($205 USD) and includes a guide and your mountain bike and helmet.

Whistler Village in winter

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There are so many things to do in Whistler, you will not want to restrict yourself to only Whistler Village. Being such a vacation hotspot in BC, you have a few options for how to get to Whistler. Once in the city, you have a lot of different options for how to get around Whistler in both the summer and winter seasons. Built for tourism, Whistler is quite accessible making it the ultimate vacation destination for all travelers.

Knowing your options for how to get around Whistler will help you to make the most of your vacation and help you see all the beauty this mountain town has to offer. Whether you choose to walk, bike, drive, bus, or tour around the city, you will have no problem getting around this epic BC destination.

Wondering what else Whistler has to offer? Check out our other Whistler articles:

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The picturesque mountain village of Whistler BC has become a world renowned international vacation destination. Nestled in the mountains of British Columbia about 120 km (75 miles) north of Vancouver, this ski and snowboard town is one of BC’s top destinations. Out of all the great things to do in Vancouver, one of the best is taking a trip to nearby Whistler, BC nestled in the mountains of Fitzsimmons Range. For those visiting BC for the first time, visiting Whistler is one of our highest recommendations.

Whistler has so much to offer to its visitors no matter what season you visit. Home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, it has built up quite the reputation for being the best ski mountain in BC and Canada. In the summer, the area turns into a mountain biking heaven offering beautiful lakes and hiking trails to be explored in addition to its world renowned downhill mountain biking.

There are two points of entry to Whistler. The most popular one is from Vancouver via the Sea-to-Sky Highway. The less popular way to get to Whistler is from the north through Lillooet (a small town in BC’s interior). Either way you get there, Whistler is the ultimate destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.

If you’re curious about all the best ways to get to Whistler, we’ve got you covered. Below are all your Whistler transportation options. Regardless of how you choose to get there, you can count on an unforgettable experience delivering breathtaking views.

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How to get from Vancouver to Whistler?

Getting from Vancouver to Whistler takes about 2 hours, depending on your route and how many stops you make (there are so many to choose from!). Your options for getting to Whistler are extensive – you can drive, bus, fly, or book a day tour. No matter how you choose to get to Whistler, the important thing is you go! Trust me, Whistler is a must see when you travel to Vancouver.

How to drive from Vancouver to Whistler?

By far, the most popular method of getting to Whistler is to enjoy the scenic drive to Whistler via a beautiful British Columbia highway. The mountain town of Whistler is about 120km (75 miles) north of downtown Vancouver and should take just under 2 hours along the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99).

This is one of the most beautiful drives in BC and will take you up the Howe Sound. You’ll see spectacular views of islands, mountains, and ferries along the way. The drive will turn into lush forests with tons of Forest Service Roads (FSRs) where you can find some great free campsites in the summer.

If you’re renting a car, you will be able to enjoy freedom with your time being able to stop to check out the many sights in between Vancouver and Whistler. Being able to drive around Whistler is the best way to see the city and the surrounding area. Keep in mind that the majority of the parking in Whistler is paid and can get quite pricey. It is worth checking if your hotel has free parking.

Whether you are driving your car or renting a car you will want to make sure that your vehicle has winter tires between October and April. This is a BC law and you can face significant fines if you do not follow this rule for the safety of everyone on the road.

While this is certainly a beautiful drive in BC, it is important to take precautions on this road. As you make your way up to the mountain, you will weave through mountains on this alpine road, and weather conditions can change quickly. I highly recommend checking road conditions before you go, especially in the winter. Much of the road is single lane and windy making congestion, especially closer to Vancouver, a big possibility.

Road to Whistler in the Winter on a calm day

What are the best stops to Whistler from Vancouver?

If you’re looking to break up your drive, there are a lot of great stops to take along the way.

  • If you want to explore waterfalls, Shannon Falls is a great stop.
  • There are lots of beaches including Porteau Cove that you can stop at to take in the ocean views.
  • Looking to take in some unbeatable views? Consider taking a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola for stunning aerial views of the whole area.
  • If you’d like to stretch your legs, the Stawamus Chief Trail is one of the best hikes in Vancouver.
  • When you get low on gas, Squamish will be the biggest town you drive through and has a few restaurants and takeout places to fuel up.
  • There are a lot of great lakes and river pull offs you can take to enjoy the outdoors. Alice Lake Provincial Park is a beautiful place to stop.

Is there a Shuttle Bus from Vancouver to Whistler?

Yes! Taking a Vancouver to Whistler shuttle is another excellent option for those looking for a more laid back experience. This will allow you to soak in the sights and not have to keep your eyes on the road while you drive.

One of the best options is to take the Skylynx shuttle bus to Whistler from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). This shuttle costs $79 CAD ($ USD) for one person or $47 CAD ($36 USD) each way per person if booking for two people. Sometimes you can get it for a lower price depending on the time of year.

Pro Tip: Sit on the left side of the bus from Vancouver to Whistler and the right side of the bus from Whistler to Vancouver for the best views!

Being able to sit back, relax and enjoy the view along the way makes the money completely worth it. You might even be able to snap a photo out of the window. This shuttle bus makes it so you don’t need to get lost in Vancouver before heading to Whistler. Skylynx offers transportation to and from Whistler from both downtown Vancouver and YVR.

Another option would be to use a company called Epic Rides. At $43 CAD ($32 USD) for a roundtrip transfer from downtown Vancouver to Whistler and back this ride option comes in at a steal. They even allow you to bring along any luggage and gear (even bikes) included in that price.

Are there any private cars to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes. This private transfer from Whistler to either Vancouver Airport or downtown Vancouver is perfect for those traveling in a group. Whether you are traveling alone or in a group of up to 11 people, this shuttle will accommodate you.

Prices vary on the type of vehicle and group size but can be a great way to get to Whistler Village. These private transfers work out to be quite affordable, especially with a large group, and allow you the freedom to move at your own pace.

Can you fly to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes. Even though there is no airport in Whistler you can fly from Vancouver to Whistler. If you’re wanting an epic way to experience your trip to Whistler you could start your adventure in Whistler with a float plane.

These seaplanes are offered between late spring and early fall when you can safely land on the alpine lakes. You will depart from Vancouver’s Coal Harbour and fly up the Georgia Strait landing in Green Lake in Whistler.

In total, you will spend an incredibly scenic 35 – 40 minutes in the air flying over ocean, city, and mountains with amazing views along your way. You will then take a complimentary shuttle bus from Green Lake to Whistler Village. Costing $222 CAD ($170 USD), this is a great way to take in all the best sites of Vancouver.

Don’t forget to book your return float plane from Whistler to Vancouver.

Whistler for the day

If you’re looking to see Whistler for the day, you can book this round trip seaplane sightseeing tour for $500 CAD ($382 USD). This tour is perfect for those who want to maximize the amount of time they get to spend in Whistler while taking in stunning aerial views on a seaplane to and from Whistler.

You will leave Vancouver at 9 am taking a 35 minute flight up to Green Lake where you can choose between a shuttle or a bicycle rental to get you to Whistler Village. You will have the day to explore through Whistler at your own pace until your plane leaves at 6 pm from Green Lake back to Vancouver.

Don't want to plan it? Book a day tour.

If you’re short on time but still want to get a taste of Whistler, you can take a day tour from Vancouver to Whistler. No matter what time of year you are visiting, a trip to Whistler is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.

Booking a full day tour to Whistler from Vancouver will include the shuttle to Whistler Village. This tour allows 4 hours of free exploration of Whistler Village where you can take in all the sights of this quaint mountain town.

You‘ll also stop at two of the best sights along the way including a scenic ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish as well as a walk to the base of Shannon Falls. This tour with round trip transfer costs $220 CAD ($170 USD) and is guaranteed to be a memory you will never forget.

How to get to Whistler from Seattle?

Seattle is located about a 3 hour drive south of Vancouver, Canada. The 231 km (144 miles) drive will have you crossing the USA – Canada border. This takes some time and requires a passport for entry for both Canadians and Americans.

In total with the border crossing, you should expect the drive from Seattle to Whistler to take about 5 hours, depending on traffic, border lines, and weather.

From Seattle, you’ll start by traveling north through Washington State on the I-5 until you get to the border crossing between Blaine, WA, and White Rock, BC.

Once in Canada, you will drive through Vancouver suburbs towards West Vancouver. Once on Highway 1, it will transition into Highway 99 which will take you into Whistler Village.

Is Whistler Safe To Travel?

Yes, Whistler is safe to travel to. Whistler is a popular mountain town which receives over 2 million tourists every year from all around the world. As with most other areas in Canada, Whistler is perfectly safe to travel to, whether you are traveling with a family or as a solo traveler.

Is it worth driving from Vancouver to Whistler?

Yes. It is definitely worth driving from Vancouver to Whistler. Getting to Whistler with a private car is the best option. The drive on the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler is absolutely beautiful and there are lots of spots to stop along the way.

When you get to Whistler with a private car, you’ll be able to access many lakes and trailheads in the area which are worth exploring. The only downfall is that parking can get expensive so check to see if your Whistler Hotel includes free parking.

Can you do a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is only an hour and 45 minutes. If you only have a single day to spare, I’d highly recommend exploring Whistler. Take to the slopes or explore Whistler Village, either way, any time spent in Whistler will impress you.

If you want an exhilarating day trip you can catch a flight to and from Whistler.

Final Thoughts

No matter what time of year you visit, Whistler has something to offer. One of my favorite vacation destinations in BC, exploring Whistler Village should be on everyone’s travel bucket list when visiting British Columbia.

  • The summer months invite epic wilderness adventures with many lakes, hiking, and biking trails throughout.
  • In winter, this mountain town is in its prime transforming into a postcard worthy winter wonderland.

I hope this article has made you confident with the many different ways you can get to Whistler from Vancouver.

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