Whistler Area Ecology

Plant Life

Whistler's flora is extensive. Alluvial forest soils are rich in black organic material, high in nutrients and host a dense growth of plants and trees. Whether blanketed in summer sunshine or sparkling winter snow the area is home to an abundance of alpine flowers, evergreen shrubs, ferns, and pine, spruce and evergreen trees, not to mention groves of old-growth and ancient cedar and hemlock that are remarkable to behold. Whistler also has several significant wetland areas.


The Whistler area provides ideal homes for deer, black bears, cougars, marmots, rabbits, birds, and fish. The marmot, a rock-dwelling rodent, is what gave Whistler its name as its shrill whistles warns other marmots of danger. Marmot calls can frequently be heard throughout the mountains.

Numerous bird species from hummingbirds to bald eagles follow a migration path that passes through the Whistler area. In the Winter, bald eagles gather in the nearby Squamish River Valley to feast on salmon. Other birds, including the stellar's jay, ptarmigan and whiskey jack live in Whistler year round.

Whistler Discovery Tours wishes to remind all tour participants that while area wildlife may be spotted frequently by humans and are occasionally curious, they should not be approached or fed. Our guides work to ensure that “bear-smart” precautions are taken during each excursion and advise that feeding birds and other animals leaves them more dependent on human food and garbage and less able to forage and survive in their natural habitat. All animals must be respected.