Located off the Sea-to-Sky Highway, just North of Squamish, is the small but pleasant town of Brackendale. While it's a good rest stop on the way to or from Whistler,  it's the winter residents that make Brackendale spectacular. Under the moniker, "The winter home of the Bald Eagle," Brackendale holds the world record for the largest congregation of wintering Bald Eagles.  The eagles come to feast on the Chum Salmon that return each winter to their spawning grounds up the Squamish River Valley. Ironically, it's the lucky ones that die on the river banks after successfully completing the tenuous journey to spawn. The unlucky ones are eaten by bears or other predators before reaching their destination. The rotting salmon carcasses make for an easy meal for the eagles ,which come in the thousands (as in, over 3,000).  

The eagles' habitat is protected within Brackendale Eagle Provincial Park, ensuring that this spectacular display of nature is undisturbed by humans. Most of the Provincial Park is inaccessible, but that doesn't mean there aren't ample opportunities for prime eagle viewing.  Eagle Run Park is located within Brackendale, but provides a view of the river and the eagles against the dramatic backdrop of the neighbouring Tantalus Provincial Park. The best time to view the eagles is from mid-November to mid-January. Make sure to pack your camera and binoculars!

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Deep in the forest along the banks of the Cheakamus River, a half hour walk from Whistler's Function Junction, lie half a dozen train cars scattered beside the tracks. Your imagination can run wild recreating the events that brought these cars to their resting place.

After coming up with multiple theories of our own, it came as a surprise to us to read Sarah Drewery's article - the cars were not actually involved in a wreck. Drewery, who is the executive director at the Whistler Museum, reveals that in 1956 the cars were loaded up with lumber and became stuck at a rock cut near their current position. Unable to move the cars out, a local logging outfit used two bulldozers to pry the cars loose. Once the cars were lifted out, they were placed in the woods where they remain. The cars have since been unofficially turned into an artist haven and a bike park. 

To see the train wreck for yourself, hike along the 6km trail (return) that starts at the Function Junction parking lot.  The hike is well signed and not very challenging, though snow can make it considerably harder. Most of the path is through the woods, but occasionally the trees part, opening up to vistas of the Cheakamus River.  For a detailed description of the trail we recommend following the instructions on

cheakamus river