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.
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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.
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.
You can download a map of the Whistler Valley Trail here!
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
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.
Thanks for stopping by!
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.
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