Long a cultural secret steeped in mystery, Whistler’s ever-popular Train Wreck is found deep in a forest southwest of the Cheakamus Crossing Neighbourhood. Here, improbably strewn amongst large trees over a one-kilometre distance, seven boxcars have been “urbanized” by an evolving canvas of graffiti.
The accident that led to their unique placement occurred in 1956 when a lumber train became jammed in a rock cut, blocking the line. Loggers in the area were asked by the rail company if they could help clear the line. Utilizing logging machinery, they dragged the boxcars off the track and into the forest where they lie today, the intervening years of tree growth making them seem as if they were magically inserted here. The odd visual juxtaposition was a popular backdrop for early mountain-bike photos and film, though today it’s primarily a hiking destination.
Over the years, famous Whistler artists like Chili Thom and Kris Kupasky contributed their talent to the cause. As one journalist put it: “Like growth rings tell the age of trees, layers of paint on the rusted boxcars show years of artistic expression.”
A mid-20th century rail accident resulted in an interesting and enigmatic attraction that now offers a unique juxtaposition between history and modernity.
Protection and guardianship are at the heart of the Geopark philosophy. We ask that you treat the land with the same reverence as its original inhabitants, and not remove anything from a site but what you’ve brought to help preserve it for future generations.
Located on the southwest side of the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood ~9 km south of Whistler Village. From Hwy 99 turn onto Cheakamus Lake Rd., after 450 m bear right over the bridge. Make your first right onto Jane Lakes Road. Park at the Train Wreck Trail lot. Entrance to the 1-km trail is across the road. Alternate: An ~3 km hike begins at the junction of Jane Lakes and Cheakamus Lakes roads and follows the Cheakamus River before reaching the forest containing the boxcars.
50° 4.8071' N 123° 3.374' W
50° 4' 48.4284" N 123° 3' 22.4388" W
Geosites of the Aspiring Geopark lie wholly within the unceded traditional territories of the Líl̓wat Nation and the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Nation. The nations have lived in—and shared parts of—these territories since time immemorial, with many landscape features and geological events woven into their cultural and oral histories. We are grateful for, and committed to, the opportunity to learn and share these perspectives of the land alongside its original stewards.
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The Fire & Ice Aspiring Geopark comprises four main geological pillars referenced in all interpretive material: (M)ountain Building, (G)laciation, (V)olcanism and (C)ollapse.
Mountain building can involve several processes that contribute to the formation of mountains, such as the collision of tectonic plates that result in folding, faulting, metamorphism and the creation of subduction zones associated with volcanic activity and igneous intrusion.
Glaciation refers to landform phenomena associated with the formation, movement and recession of glaciers and ice sheets. In temperate latitudes such as British Columbia, montane glaciation at higher altitudes is the norm while continental glaciation occurred during Ice Ages like the recent Pleistocene.
Volcanism is the eruption of subterranean molten rock (magma) and gasses onto the surface of the planet and includes the production of volcanic landforms and the effects of eruptions and flowing lava on pre-existing surface formations.
Collapse is a term that refers broadly to both slow processes of destabilization and erosion by wind, water and ice, as well as rapid processes like rockfall and landslides.
Whether acting as primary or secondary forces, one or more of these processes figure in the creation of each geosite.