This was a gifted experience but the opinions are my own.
Summer in Whistler is a tradition for my family. We go every August and actually have never visited in the winter. Vallea Lumina was a new experience that was introduced last year. You can read about our previous experience here.
There is no parking at the actual experience so all participants are bused to the mountain. Parking in the Upper Whistler Village is free after 5pm so no additional fees are required and since free parking is super rare these days I always appreciate when I can find it. The buses pick up at the upper level of the Gondola Transit Exchange, which is about a 5 minute walk from the parking lots.
This year there was a gentlemen outside of the bus to ensure that guests were lined up in the order of their scheduled tour times and to let us know which buses were ours. Buses come on a regular basis but not all are marked “Vallea Lumina.” I really appreciated how organized it was this year.
The ride up to Cougar Mountain is about 15 minutes. Once at the camp we are met by camp rangers that explain the tour to everyone. In the base camp area there are camp fires, games such as Connect 4 and Jenga, washrooms and a store that sells s’mores. The tours are booked by scheduled time periods but the trail is completely self-paced. The first tour is at 8:40pm once it is dark out. This tour does include several staircases and hills so isn’t suitable for all. I have slight asthma and am not regularly hiking in the woods but found the only time that I had to stop to rest was the stairs at the beginning that were surrounded by a fog machine. There are lots of benches to stop if needed and rope railings to hold on to throughout.
The tour follows the mystery of two lost campers. This being our 2nd year we didn’t linger at some of the beginning points like we did last year that set up the story. This tour not only includes a different array of lights and effects but beautiful holograms throughout. The lights are beautiful and the holograms are magical. There is no flash photography allowed and my camera really doesn’t do it justice. If you approach a hologram and want to re-watch they start over again every few minutes. There are camp rangers throughout the tour that were happy to snap a picture or answer questions.
Whistler is just under 3 hours from the Abbotsford area or just over 90 minutes from Vancouver making it a perfect weekend getaway location or a manageable day trip if looking for something new to try. Vallea Lumina summer experience runs until October 13th and the winter experience starts November 28th. Tours can be bought individually or seasons passes are available.
Have you tried Vallea Lumina yet? If yes, let me know your favourite part in the comments.