The mountainous and rocky Whistler terrain has made suitable kid friendly riding hard to find historically but recent park and trail development has opened lots of spots to keep the whole family occupied until the kids are ready to ditch the folks and hit the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
Don’t get us wrong; even novice trails have climbs as well as challenges and obstacles that must be overcome but none of the trails listed here are too dangerous or challenging for the average 8 year old Whistler kid.
Remember, when riding with kids, having a distinct and interesting destination is key. While we can ride for hours just for the ride they are more goal oriented and like to have something to do when they get there.
Don’t forget the swimsuit, as most of the lakes are suitable for swimming. Bring lots of road snacks, water, a guidebook, a camera to record the moments and yes Mom, the sunscreen.
The Valley Trail is the place to start for the training wheel set and the dirt challenged. There are some hills but it is the best way to get anywhere. All the subdivisions, the parks and other trailheads are connected by this system.
The flattest portion of the Trail is between the Meadow Park Sports Center and Rainbow Beach, with features like the fish ladder and wildlife viewing platforms en route and washrooms at each end.
If the kids are small and may need rescuing, or you want to start out smaller, the lower end of Lorimer Road accesses the middle of this section of the trail.
I find a bike trailer makes a great saggin wagon as well as transport for picnic supplies. They can be rented at most bike shops in the Village.
Lost Lake Park is the place to graduate from pavement to dirt. The cross-country ski roads are the primer, with well-graded gravel single tracks like Molly Hogan and Tin Pants the next step up. As the skills develop, satisfy the urge for real dirt, wood and rock with the Zappa Trails (See Lost Lake section)
The Interpretive Forest at Function Junction offers a similar degree of difficulty with a little more scale. The hills are bigger but the reward could be a swim in the crater of an ancient volcano or a suspension bridge over a river canyon.
The House Rock is the best place to start with picnic tables, a fire-pit and outhouse. You can carve out smaller loops for younger kids like up Riverside to the base of the big hill and down the lower Ridge Trail back to the Riverside Trail and House Rock .
The Shadow Lake Demonstration Forest 17 km north of the Village has close to 20 km of green level fun that circumnavigates the lake and explores out to a sandy beach of the very cold Soo River. There’s even an old trappers cabin tucked away in the woods. Moose have been spotted knee deep in Shadow Lake. Bring a picnic.
Kids love the ride out to Cheakamus Lake and back.