Across the valley from the Ski area of Whistler-Blackcomb are Rainbow and Sproatt Mountains. The North Flank of Rainbow Mt. lies about 6 km past the Village on Hwy 99. The South Flank of Sproatt ends at the Callaghan Valley (Proposed XC Ski area when Whistler gets the Olympics) about 15 km south of the Village.
You see this range whenever you ski, and whenever you ride. Now there is a trail that traverses the two peaks, delivering exceptional views back on Whistler and Blackcomb. The Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail is 45 km long, with lots of switchbacks up and down. It has a 1500 meter high point at 16 mile Creek. You lose and gain 700m of elevation no less that three times on this ride.
A cross-country epic that calls your name. And so it begins?? We ride to the trail head, a nice 16 km warm up then we start to climb up the Cougar FSR. When we went the first time, in spring, the creeks were raging (which is a good thing in spring). We could stop and rinse off our sweat for a reprieve from the mosquitoes that are attracted to your hot sweaty body. Then we continued to climb! To the right of us is the Soo Valley. Through here you can ride to Pemberton. A logged out area with second growth throughout but a small stand of ancient cedars was left for people to see. We didn't go there since no bikes were allowed. Next time.
The snow wasn't quite all gone either. Here we're at 1100m elevation. It can't be that bad higher up, can it? (If you notice the red blush on the snow, that's a red Algae that sporulates in spring during the melt). Alas the snow stopped us this ride, but we came back later in the summer to do more.
This trail can be divided into 4 sections.
Cougar -> Alpine Meadows(too much snow when we went) Alpine Meadows -> Rainbow Meadows
Rainbow Meadows -> Function Junction
Function Junction -> Alexander Falls (Callaghan Valley)
The trail is fairly well marked, but take topo maps, compass, and perhaps GPS, and sufficient warm clothing and food. Flank is used as the access to a large number of downhill trails, and has a number of other access points from the valley, so it is easy to get confused and off track in many places along the trail.
From the south, the following trails drop off Flank Trail:
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Posted By: vpigeon
- Sun Jun 20 04:32:21 UTC 2010
QuestionCan you tell me EXACTLY where the Flank Trail TH is in the area of Alexander Falls (Callaghan Valley area). Looked up and down the road on Saturday June 19, 2010, walked up a few 100 M past the fence where the road is closed off for the summer, but can find it.
Directions and coordinates would be great.
ANSWERS are in this forum: Flank Trail TH at Alexander Falls
Posted By: ChrisO
- Thu Jul 31 22:04:09 UTC 2008
CommentHard core down hill-ers may not appreciate Flank itself, but some of the trails dropping off Flank are well worth investigating. This trail is a great workout, clears of snow earlier than some of the east side trails, and affords great views of Whistler, Blackcomb, the Black Tusk, and many other perspectives up and down the valley.
Posted By: email@example.com
- Tue Sep 30 23:00:05 UTC 2003
UpsideI rode the Alpine > Rainbow The 27 switchbacks on the way down are awesome. DownsideGnarly climb (took us an hour). CommentGreat trail if you're into XC. Hardcore DH riders won't find enough challenge and the climb is daunting. The single-track is really a blast though... the switchbacks are a little tight.