Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

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Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
IUCN category II (national park)
BrandywineFalls 1200W.jpg
Brandywine Falls (camera angle used has shortened the apparent height of the falls)
Location British Columbia, Canada
Nearest city Whistler
Coordinates 50°02′07″N 123°07′07″W / 50.03528°N 123.11861°W / 50.03528; -123.11861Coordinates: 50°02′07″N 123°07′07″W / 50.03528°N 123.11861°W / 50.03528; -123.11861
Governing body BC Parks

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located adjacent to BC Highway 99 between Garibaldi and Whistler, British Columbia.[1] It is managed by Sea to Sky Parks for BC Parks.

Falls[edit]

The 70-meter (230 ft) falls are located on Brandywine Creek,[2] which has its origin in the Powder Mountain Icefield to the west, and are formed by the lip of a lava flow flanking the west bank of the Cheakamus River. Just downstream of the falls is Daisy Lake.

History[edit]

At least four basaltic lava flows, ranging in age from nearly 34,000 years old to synglacial, comprise the vertical walls surrounding Brandywine Falls.[3] These are part of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, a northwest-southeast chain of volcanoes and related lavas that form the northern end of the Cascade Volcanic Arc. The lava flowed over deposits of glacial till, silt, and gravel then cooled creating a hard weather resistant top cap over loose unconsolidated material easily weathered. The perfect conditions for a water fall creation. 10,000 years later the Fraser ice receded from Cheakamus Valley releasing melt water and creating the Brandywine creek. This worked its way downstream and started to erode the looser material and undercut the hard basalt top layer, creating the falls.

The name Brandywine is believed to have come from a wager between two surveyors (Jack Nelson and Bob Mollison) for the Howe Sound and Northern Railway over the height of the Falls. The correct guess winning a bottle of brandy(wine). The height was measured with a chain and it was Mollison who won the bottle of brandy and Nelson then named the falls Brandywine.

Another explanation of the naming of the falls comes from around the 1890s when Charles Chandler and George Mitchell passed out there after drinking too much Brandywine in their tea.

Around the early 1900s Brandywine Falls used to have a train station and many log cabins adjacent to the falls. Some cabins can still be seen in a dilapidated state by the side of the trail. As part of the Highway 99 improvements for the Whistler/Vancouver Olympics the area was subject to many day use improvements which replaced overnight camping with parking and picnic tables.

Facilities[edit]

The Brandywine Falls Trail Map provides a map of the area.


Activities Available at this Park

Cycling

Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.

Sea to Sky Trail:

The newly completed 1.5 km section of the planned 180 km long Sea to Sky Trail leads in a north-east direction from the main Brandywine Falls Trail (after crossing the train tracks) to the Whistler Bungee bridge over the Cheakamus River. A packed gravel surfaced trail, mostly gentle grades (a few steep pitches and tight corners for mountain bikes) and suitable for families.

Hydro Right of Way Trail:

After crossing the covered footbridge over Brandywine Creek from the parking lot, this 2.5 km trail starts left up a short but steep hill then wanders on gentle ground thru pine forest (rare for the coastal environment) and small lake areas to the north end of the park.

Hiking

For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.

Brandywine Falls Trail:

Enjoy a 10 - 20 minute (one way) walk or snowshoe across the covered footbridge and through the forest to a new viewing platform overlooking Brandywine Falls. Continue along a new, short walking path to a second viewpoint of the falls and another of the surrounding area of Daisy Lake and the Black Tusk. Stay behind fences and away from the river’s edge. Use caution when crossing the Canadian National Rail line. Trails in the park are not maintained during the winter.

Swim Lake Trail:

This is a short branch off the main Brandywine Falls Trail that starts just before the railway crossing. It’s a bit rough, with one short steep climb, leading to a small lake. The hardier person may wish to try swimming but there is no beach or dock or lifeguards. Keep your eye out for the rare, red-tailed frog that inhabits the marshes and ponds of the park.

Sea to Sky Trail:

As described in the Cycling section above, this trail is also suitable for hiking. Keep your eyes and ears alert for approaching cyclists.

Hydro Right of Way Trail:

As described in the Cycling section above, this trail is also suitable for hiking. Keep your eyes and ears alert for approaching cyclists.

More information

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.

Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.

Brandywine Falls (a spectacular 70 metre waterfall) is best seen from the new viewing platform, completed in the spring of 2006 and perched high on the edge of a volcanic escarpment. Those who love heights will enjoy this one! Marvellous views of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains are also seen from the platform and from the other viewpoints described above.

The park trails provide good beginner snowshoe opportunities.

This park has a day-use/picnic area with six picnic tables and pit toilets. There is a gate which is locked between the hours 9pm and 7am in the summer. Gates are closed all through winter.

Pit toilets are located in the day-use area.

Flora and Fauna[edit]

Pikas, black bears, and coyotes are seen often. Predatory cats such as cougars are native to the region as well. Therefore, it is advised dogs must be kept on leash. The rare red toed frog can be found at Swim Lake.

References[edit]