Ancient Cedars Hike Rating 7Ancient Cedars is a nice, easy/moderate 2.5 kilometre(1.6 mile) hiking trail on the far side of Cougar Mountain, just 10.8 kilometres(6.7 miles) north of Whistler Village. A small, untouched grove of huge western red-cedars hidden high up in the mountains. Often overlooked by hikers, certainly there are other groves of massive cedars found in other Whistler area hikes.

  • Easy & pretty trail to huge & ancient trees
  • A quick, far feeling escape from civilization
  • A relatively quiet hiking trail that is dog friendly!
  • Serene backcountry, drive-in camping for free
  • Lots of hidden tent clearings with paradise views
  • Lots of mosquitoes in July & August
  • ATV activity nearby disturbs the serenity
  • The access logging road is brutally potholed
  • Access road usually blocked by snow well into May
  • Showh Lakes has no beach or shore to walk

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If you hike the short 3 kilometre trail to Cheakamus Lake and you will marvel at the size, frequency and wonderful aroma of these massive and numerous giant cedars.  The Wedgemount Lake  trail also has some majestic cedars along the hike. You can even walk through an impressive grove of huge cedars on the Valley Trail at the north end of the Whistler Golf Club. None of them compare, however, to the giants at Ancient Cedars.  They are extraordinarily huge and some are estimated to be a thousand years old.  Most of these giants stretch toward the sky, but some lay along the forest floor giving you an even closer grasp of their size. If you bring kids along, they will disappear into the endless, natural playground.  Ancient Cedars is great to visit in the spring and fall months as you rarely see people and never feel mosquitoes. The problem is the trailhead is up a long way into the mountains and snow at this elevation persists until April and sometimes May. Snow, along with the steep access road make driving to the trailhead impossible for most cars until it disappears. Summer is great for seeing Ancient Cedars and Showh Lakes in particular.

Ancient Cedars Map Large v10

If you have a 4x4, you can drive right to the shores of Showh Lakes and crack a beer with little chance of humanity disturbing you. If you don't have a 4x4, you can make it to a short walk to the lakes and if you have some sort of inflatable boat or canoe, you will find yourself in paradise. Floating in a mirror under a blue sky, surrounded by deep and wild forest. The trailhead to Ancient Cedars is just a short drive north of Whistler.  Just past Green Lake on Highway 99, you turn left on Cougar Mountain Rd and drive 4.5 kilometres up a bumpy logging road. As logging roads go it is not bad.  If you are driving a car you should be OK as long as you take it slow. The Ancient Cedars trail is well marked and well worn and only gradually uphill for the 2.5 kilometre hike, trailhead to ancient forest. At the Ancient Cedars forest there is a short circle trail that takes you throughout the giants then leads you back to the main trail for the return journey.

Ancient Cedars Hike in Whistler

Ancient Cedars Tent

The Newt Lake Trail Beyond Ancient Cedars

From the Ancient Cedars trailhead to Newt Lake you gain 366 metres(1201 feet) in 5 kilometres(3.1 miles).  That's a challenging elevation gain, however the first half to Ancient Cedars is a pretty relaxing, steadily uphill route with the occasional bend in the trail.  The easy to follow, well used trail is nice, scenic and feels like an easy walk in the woods..  The Newt Lake trail, however, is quite wild by comparison.  The trail snakes through the thick forest in a constantly ascending and zigzagging route that would be impossible to follow without the very frequent trail markers.  From your car to Ancient Cedars takes only 45 minutes to hike, but from Ancient Cedars to Newt Lake expect to be hiking more than an hour.

Ancient Cedars & Newt Lake Trail Stats:

Driving There: 25 minutes from Whistler Village(13.1kilometres/8.1miles)  Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres/3.1 miles, one way from the Ancient Cedars trailhead/parking to Newt Lake.  Hiking Time: 2 hours there and 1.5 hours back.  Peak Elevation: 1222 metres/4009 feet. Trailhead/Parking Elevation: 856 metres/2808 feet.  Elevation Gain: 366 metres/1201 feet.  Fees: None  Campsites: None  Camping Allowed: Yes  Difficulty: Challenging, steep, wild, hard to follow but short trail. Lots of trail markers, but still easy to lose the trail  Kid Friendly: Yes, short enough to be fun, not exhausting  Stroller Friendly: No  Dog Friendly: Yes

Newt Lake Hiking Trail Map

The Ancient Cedars trail is very popular and most hikers that come up here just hike the Ancient Cedars trail to see Whistler's largest(though not oldest) trees.  The two Showh Lakes are gorgeous, however the shoreline is so wildly overgrown that you pretty much need to get out on the water to enjoy them.  Newt Lake is a new and almost entirely unknown trail to a lake that takes a bit of effort to appreciate.  On first glance, Newt Lake is a rough, hostile looking place.  But, if you sit for a moment and take it all in, you quickly realize what a remarkable hidden world you've stumbled upon.  Sitting on the broad granite cliff that juts out from the boulder field and slopes sharply down a couple metres to impossibly clear, emerald coloured water.  The shoreline all around is either bright green trees or huge grey boulders.  The boulders to your left form natural stairs into the water and the boulders out of the water are warm, almost hot from the sun.  Behind you the boulders rise sharply, and alarmingly up to a crumbling ridge about a hundred metres above.  The brutalized landscape looks and feels like paradise a million miles from humanity.

Newt Lake Map v5

More Info for Ancient Cedars and Newt Lake at HikeInWhistler.com

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