Chasing ‘Lord of the Squirrels’ Trail

By Malcolm Mclaws     

Would you believe Whistler’s newest trail masterpiece isn’t in its world-famous bike park?  There isn’t even a slopestyle component to this dream trail in the high alpine area of the southern Pacific Ranges of Canada.

Years ago Whistler opened one of the best trail views in its vast mountain network, Top of the World. That trail became a must for riders, and a feature of the World Cup Enduro event held during the biggest bike festival in the world, Crankworx, and it’s only accessible via ski lift.

Enter WORCA, the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association with a new vision. 

They lobbied support from their members and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to build a new, featured trail on the Westside, away from the resort and bike park.  The new trail would have a climbing route, rising 1400m (4,620ft) from the valley floor up the flank of Mount Sproatt to the alpine area. When it’s tied into the surrounding trails you could ride almost 20km then descend this new route, Lord of the Squirrels. 

Be warned this is a lung-busting, black-diamond-rated climbing trail, but the new down is a high-blue-rated trail, squirrely downhill. Once you arrive athe top of Lord of the Squirrels, likely exhausted, the alpine views are expansive in all directions. Across the valley, Black Tusk and Garibaldi Park, along with views of Whistler/Blackcomb, fill the sky. Behind you are the mountains backing up Callaghan Park with many glaciers; you are truly away from the crowds of Whistler.

It has taken over 3 years to complete this trail, 1,800 vollie hours along with 6,984 paid hours. 2,000 pounds of cedar were flow in by helicopter supported by 150 buckets of soil, moved in a single day. Those are impressive numbers for sure, but the best part is that you can ride this trail for free. 

The Whistler Valley trails have become better know lately even though the Bike Park still gets all the attention. Knowing not all people are gravity lift junkies meant finding new ways for riders to enjoy their latest all mountain bikes.

Is their anything more satisfying than climbing a trail under your own power and being rewarded with amazing alpine views then a wicked adrenaline-spiking, single-track decent to finish the ride? One added bonus is the Resort of Whistler is within pedaling distance of what will be a much- needed hot tub, beers, and nachos. Considering the current pandemic travel restrictions, this is a perfect adventure for those who can travel within Canada to enjoy the vast trail network throughout the Squamish-Whistler-Pemberton corridor. 

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