Given the proximity to Vancouver and the scenic route to Whistler village along the Sea to Sky Highway, people often wonder “Can you do a day trip to Whistler by train?” At the time of writing this (January 2023), there is not a way to take a train from Vancouver to Whistler for the day. However, you can travel by train as part of a longer journey OR do a day trip by other means.
Whistler Train Options
The Rocky Mountaineer train offers luxury train experiences in North America during the summer months. This is a great way to visit Whistler by train. You depart their North Vancouver train station and follow the railway tracks all the way along the Coast Mountains. You’ll pass Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver and Porteau Cove Provincial Park at Howe Sound, followed by Britannia Mine Museum, and Stawamus Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish.
From here, the elevation gain increases and you’ll start to see mountain peaks as you get closer to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the best ski resorts in western Canada. You will spend the night in Whistler and have free time to explore all the best things to do. Some good options are an easy hike like Train Wreck, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and Cloudraker suspension bridge. Or you can opt for a short walk around Lost Lake or Green Lake. Your tour guide will also have a lot of good options on how to see this amazing place.
The next day, your train trip will continue. You’ll make your way through British Columbia to Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. For details of what’s included in your Rocky Mountain train trip, check out the Rainforest to Gold Rush experience. You can end your trip in Jasper or continue to one of Canada’s most recognized national parks, Banff National Park. Here you can experience amazing places like the iconic Lake Louise and the historical town of Banff.
Whistler Day Trips
Whether you have your own car or opt to rent one, you can easily do a road trip to Whistler. If you’re travelling between November 1 and April 30, just ensure your car has winter tires as it is required by law (not all car rentals have them).
The drive time from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler is about 2 and a half hours. From downtown Vancouver, you’ll want to give yourself about 2 hours. Whistler is a year-round destination however winter weekends are definitely the peak times to visit this resort town. You’ll want to adjust your travel time around this.
If you are driving your own vehicle, enjoy the views of the mountain ranges as you cross Lions Gate Bridge and make your way up the scenic highway. A great place to stop and stretch your legs is Britannia Beach or Shannon Falls Provincial Park. When you’re travelling with a private vehicle, the best parking area is the Whistler Daylots. It is central and a good place to access all areas of Whistler village.
If you don’t have experience driving in winter weather conditions, the best way to get to Whistler is with one of the bus services. Epic Rides offers shuttle service directly from downtown Vancouver to Whistler and Skylynx provides daily service from Vancouver airport and city center to Whistler.
Looking for more details on how to get to Whistler? I have a blog post about it HERE.