Parkhurst Hike RatingWhistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as one of the most unusual, exotic and interesting. Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on the edge of Green Lake way before Whistler was Whistler.  Up on the ridge where Parkhurst sits, the views are sensational. Green Lake far below, a solid unnatural looking mass of green.

  • Several routes to get there
  • Interesting old relics everywhere
  • Many gorgeous places to camp
  • Seemingly endless network of trails
  • Famous Toad Hall house was here!
  • Stunning views of Green Lake
  • Many hidden places to explore
  • Relatively quiet place to hike
  • Easy access by boat
  • Confusing with few trail signs

Sea to Sky Hiking Trails

Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerAlice Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Hiking Trail ModerateBlack Tusk  Squamish Hiking TrailBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Hiking Trail ModerateElfin Lakes  Hiking Trail ModerateGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Hiking Trail HardHigh Falls  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Squamish Hiking TrailLevette Lake  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Hiking Trail ModeratePanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Pay Use Hiking TrailSea to Sky Gondola  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Squamish Hiking TrailShannon Falls  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Hiking Trail HardStawamus Chief  Hiking Trail ModerateTaylor Meadows  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyThe Lions  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyUpper Shannon Falls  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain out in the distance to the left and Rainbow Mountain across and beyond Green Lake.  If you have a good look around Parkhurst today, you can find remnants of its past almost everywhere you look.  From the old disintegrating truck from the 50's to the absurdly and improbably located car being consumed by the forest.  What makes Parkhurst Ghost Town such a great hiking trail and destination is where it is located and the trail to get to it.  One route, one of several ways to get to it, runs along the scenic Green River and next to the still active train tracks that run through Whistler.  There always seems to be something to see.  From the beautiful meadow along the train tracks, to the suddenly deep forest where you have to play a game of finding the next, pink tree marker or risk wandering off the trail.  The trail markers are numerous, and though getting lost is inevitable, you can only stray a few metres before, the river or steep terrain push you back onto the marked trail.  Once up on the ridge above Green Lake where Parkhurst is located, the forest takes on a spooky feel.  Trees are all far apart and with branches only high up give the forest a unnaturally lifeless look.  As recent as the late 90's a few houses remained standing, but the merciless winters with crushing snow has collapsed all but one house. There are a couple half collapsed relics, but for the most part the town has disintegrated.  Unexpectedly, even in the deep snow of winter, stumbling on remnants of the old town are frequent.

Countless half collapsed houses lay in the picturesque forest that has grown since the town was abandoned.  Finding the abandoned vehicles in the town is like a game as you wander around the maze of trails.  The old rusty car, the even older truck, and an ancient and enormous logging tractor perched as it was decades ago, on the edge of Green Lake.  Quite a marvel to see.  Like a giant museum exhibit that looks like it could still be there in a thousand years from now.  There are plenty of great aspects about Parkhurst Ghost Town such as the countless old relics from nearly a century ago, the massive network of trails through and around the town, and the incredible views of Green Lake from several locations.  You have emerald green forests, sunny hilltops, hidden waterfalls, clifftop viewpoints, and quite a lot more.  Also, Parkhurst is easily accessible by boat from the Green Lake boat launch just off the Sea to Sky Highway.  The famous Toad Hall skiers photo was taken in Parkhurst at the old Soo Valley logging camp at the north end of the lake. 

Most visitors to Parkhurst miss nearly all the interesting sights in and around Parkhurst by sticking to the old Parkhurst Trail, Parkhurst Loop Trail and returning via the Green Lake Loop Trail/Sea to Sky Trail.  The Parkhurst Loop Trail is nice and takes you around the middle of the old town, but the Parkhurst Trail is a little boring and the Green Lake Loop/Sea to Sky Trail directly behind Parkhurst is a bit ugly and uninteresting.  The Sea to Sky Trail is only useful for Parkhurst if you are getting there by bike or hiking in from Lost Lake.  The section of the Green Lake Loop/Sea to Sky Trail from Lost Lake to Parkhurst is very nice, with beautiful views of Green Lake.  After Parkhurst the Green Lake Loop Trail/Sea to Sky Trail takes you into the trees, along gravel roads and under power lines.  The Parkhurst Ridge Trail that connects from the Parkhurst Trail is the best way to hike to Parkhurst and takes you up to some stunning views of Green Lake before connecting to the Parkhurst Loop Trail.  Returning via the Parkhurst Trail avoids the Sea to Sky Trail and makes it a partial loop trail, though you retrace your steps along some of the Parkhurst Trail to do it.

Historic Logging Equipment Frozen in Time

Looking around Parkhurst today you will no doubt find the last fully intact house left in the old ghost town.  The large, wonderfully haunting blue face mural painted on the front of the house in 2011 by professional muralist Kups has made finding this house the goal for most visitors.  Located on the Parkhurst Loop Trail, the Blue Face House appears suddenly from dozens of metres away in the dark forest.  The Parkhurst Loop Trail, as the name suggests never runs in a straight line and you find yourself weirdly disoriented in the deep, often dark forest.  To add to the confusion there is always a collapsed house or some wrecked machinery to catch your attention.  You could hike to Parkhurst several times and still find yourself a bit startled to round a bend and suddenly be faced by the massive, startlingly blue apparition staring at you.  Every time you this happens you can't help think of how appropriate this mural is for a place like this and how it must have been either brilliantly planned beforehand or magically inspired on the spot.

Ghost Town Blue Face by Kups

In the winter the Blue Face mural by Kups is half buried in snow but no less impressive with light reflecting off the snow.  Parkhurst is unexpectedly less spooky in the winter months with the snow brightening the otherwise shadowy forest. 

Parkhurst Blue Face by Kups Winter

Inside the house is brightly coloured with plenty of graffiti and some elaborate murals.  As recent as 10 years ago there was a dining room table in what was the kitchen as well as curtains on the walls.  There was even a rickety old bed frame, but now it is crumpled on the floor.

Parkhurst Ghost Town House Inside

With so much to see in Parkhurst Ghost Town it is a shame that the Blue Face House, though great to see, is the only attraction to the area that is sought out.

Parkhurst Loop Trail Map v2

The Hulking Parkhurst Caterpillar

Few people seem to venture off the Parkhurst Loop Trail and miss the marvelous old logging tractor at the edge of Green Lake.  For a logging town in the 1950's having everyone suddenly leave was not unusual and in the case of Parkhurst, when the sawmill shut down every winter, all the workers would leave to find work in Vancouver.  When Parkhurst was abandoned in 1956 the big Caterpillar tractor was probably simply parked at the edge of Green Lake with the expectation that it would be retrieved later.  Maybe it was too expensive or difficult to transport it from the far side of Green Lake.  Or maybe it sat unmoved for so long that it became unmovable.  Now, decades later it is a bold landmark overlooking Green Lake and a permanent marker, if arriving by boat, to Parkhurst Ghost Town.

Parkhurst Caterpillar D8 1H

The Parkhurst Sawmill Site

Adjacent to the huge Caterpillar tractor is a large disintegrating wooden dock that is a great place to take in the wonderful view of Green Lake.  From the dock if you look directly to the right you will see a large triangle of deep forest jutting out into the lake.  This is where the Parkhurst Sawmill once operated for thirty years.  Looking at the almost impenetrable forest now, it is hard to picture this area without trees and with train tracks extending into a large building housing the sawmill with an enormous steel chimney several dozen metres tall.  A little bushwhacking takes you to the huge, old chimney now laying on the ground in several huge pieces.  You can even locate the solid steel base of the chimney in the midst of a large bewildering clearing devoid of trees.  It takes a little investigating to realize that under about a foot of grass, moss and other forest growth you are standing on massive sheets of thick metal that once was the roof of the old sawmill.  For decades this would have been the loudest and busiest place in the area, now it is a wonderful oasis cut off from the world by the 65-year-old forest that surrounds it. 

Camp Sunrise Parkhurst Sawmill Site

Parkhurst Sawmill Map v4

Amazing Tree Lifted Plow in Parkhurst

Most people visiting Parkhurst have seen the menacingly beautiful Caterpillar tractor at the shore of Green Lake but never encounter the well-hidden Cletrac tractor in the old sawmill forest or the other Caterpillar tractor.  This second Parkhurst Caterpillar is very well hidden in the forest just a few metres from the train tracks, yet impossible to see until you are standing right next to it.  Of the three tractors in Parkhurst, this one is the most captivating because its huge plow is being lifted by the trees growing around and under it.  The solid metal plow that must weigh four thousand kilograms is slowly rising off the forest floor due to the relentless growth of trees underneath.  It is a remarkable sight to see a tremendously heavy piece of machinery being lifted by the forest.

Caterpillar RD8 1H Plow Rising

The Parkhurst Plow Tree

Just a few metres away is another extraordinary battle going on between yet another plow and the forest.  A similarly huge and heavy plow has a tree growing through a triangle shaped opening that appears to be well under half the diameter of the tree.  So this large, 65 year old tree has continued to grow out of this narrow triangle and still managed to grow to a considerable height.  Like many other sights in Parkhurst you find yourself staring in bewilderment at how completely the forest has consumed the old town and what else you might find in this remarkable place.

Parkhurst Plow Tree

More Info for Parkhurst Ghost Town

There is a lot more to see in Parkhurst than mentioned above.  Check out a lot more info for hiking and history in Parkhurst Ghost Town here.  Information on snowshoeing Parkhurst Ghost Town here.  More information, photos and details for Kris Kupskay's beautiful Blue Face Mural here.  For lots of information, photos and some history of the sawmill site in Parkhurst click here.  For more information, photos, videos and history about the Caterpillar RD8 tractor abandoned in Parkhurst click here.  For more information on the amazing Parkhurst Plow Tree click here.  For information on the big Caterpillar D8 tractor perched on the edge of Green Lake in Parkhurst click here.  For details, directions and maps to the fantastic Parkhurst Ridge Trail click here.  For information on the history of the Parkhurst Wye on the trail to Parkhurst click here.  For information on the Parkhurst Cletrac click here.  For maps and information on Wedge Creek, Wedge Creek Falls and the Green Lake Loop click here.

Parkhurst Map Complete v12

More Parkhurst Ghost Town Info at HikeInWhistler.com

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Sea to Sky Hiking Trails

Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerAlice Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Hiking Trail ModerateBlack Tusk  Squamish Hiking TrailBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Hiking Trail ModerateElfin Lakes  Hiking Trail ModerateGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Hiking Trail HardHigh Falls  Joffre Lakes Hike Provincial ParkJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Squamish Hiking TrailLevette Lake  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Hiking Trail ModeratePanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town   Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Pay Use Hiking TrailSea to Sky Gondola  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Squamish Hiking TrailShannon Falls  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Hiking Trail HardStawamus Chief  Hiking Trail ModerateTaylor Meadows  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyThe Lions  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyUpper Shannon Falls  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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