Flank Trail Rating is GoodHiking and biking trails are so abundant in Whistler that many go unnoticed, neglected or taken for granted.  The Flank Trail is one of these.  Most people in Whistler don't even know about it, but the ones that do, love it.  Officially known as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, it runs the length of Whistler Valley, opposite Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, and connects to dozens of hiking and biking trails.

  • Relatively quiet compared to other trails
  • Spans the entire Whistler Valley!
  • Hard to beat views of Whistler far below
  • Many access trailheads along its length
  • Many branching trails extend to the alpine
  • Bivouacking along the trail is amazing
  • Mostly dog friendly & off the radar
  • Nice trail, but not overly exciting
  • No spectacular destination to reach
  • Alternate routes are more scenic

Whistler Snowshoeing

Blueberry Park Steep, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailBlueberry Trail  Brandywine Falls Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailBrandywine Falls  Cheakamus River Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailCheakamus River  Elfin Lakes Moderate, Very Long Snowshoe TrailElfin Lakes  Flank Trail Moderate, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailFlank Trail  Joffre Lakes Moderate, Steep Snowshoe TrailJoffre Lakes  Nairn Falls Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailNairn Falls  Parkhurst Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailParkhurst Ghost Town  Rainbow Falls Steep & Very Short Snowshoe TrailRainbow Falls  Rainbow Lake Moderate, Steep & Long Snowshoe TrailRainbow Lake  Rainbow Park Easy, Flat, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailRainbow Park  Taylor Meadows Moderate, Steep Snowshoe TrailTaylor Meadows  Whistler Train Wreck Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailTrain Wreck  Wedgemount Lake Challenging, Steep Snowshoe TrailWedgemount Lake

 Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

Mount Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain dominate the view across the valley from Whistler Village and the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail traces a 40 kilometre route along the flank of these two mountains.  One end is high up in the Callaghan Valley near Whistler Olympic Park and the other is near Ancient Cedars & Showh Lakes!  At various places along the trail there are access points.  The Rainbow Trail trailhead is a popular access point for the Flank Trail as it enters the trail at roughly its midpoint.  Another good access is in Function Junction that can be found behind Olive’s Market at the old trailhead to Whistler Train Wreck.  Over the years the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail has been trimmed a bit.  With the building of Whistler Olympic Park for the 2010 Olympics the trailhead was pushed across the valley toward Northair Mine.  Much of this section of trail was, and still is old logging roads, so it doesn’t look or feel like a trail until it bends toward Whistler a few kilometres south of Northair Mine.  Previous to the Olympics the Callaghan Valley trailhead was just a stones throw north of Alexander Falls at the bridge that takes you to Callaghan Lake and Madeley Lake.  Now the trailhead is not marked at that end and is assumed to be north of Northair Mine at the edge of Whistler Olympic Park or at Northair Mine itself.

Rainbow Falls Snowshoeing Whistler

Snowshoeing the Flank Trail

Flank Trail Tent View of Whistler Mountain

The Flank Trail Map

The Flank Trail is an Easy, Dog Friendly HikeThe 40 kilometre trail takes you past some pretty amazing sights.  From the beginning, Whistler Olympic Park is interesting and beautiful.  Sitting high up in the Callaghan Valley and built for the 2010 Olympic Games, Whistler Olympic Park is an impressive, civilized oasis in an otherwise thick forest wilderness.  Open seasonally, this metropolis in the woods, depending on the season is home to cross country skiing, snowshoeing, a biathlon experience, a surprisingly nice cafe, and endless trails to see the Olympic sights.  Not least the giant ski jump that you can get up close to appreciate its enormity.  There is an entry charge to get past the gate and unfortunately, more often than not, you will find Whistler Olympic Park closed.  The westernmost access to the Flank Trail, if you don't count the usually inaccessible Olympic Park, is effectively the long abandoned Northair Mine.  This briefly thriving gold mine is now an unusual little world in the woods.  A beautiful little man-made lake dominates the area now with a dirt road running along its edge, and to the surreal, cement skeleton-like foundations of what must have been quite a large building.  The foundations are now adorned with brightly painted murals and several small fire pits.  Standing in the relic you can look across the beautiful lake, green forest beyond and Rainbow Mountain in the distance.  In the summer and fall you can drive to Northair Mine as the Flank Trail that passes here is more accurately an old logging road, than a hiking trail.

The Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail in the Winter

Past Northair Mine, the Flank Trail slowly descends toward Whistler and the logging road finally gives way to a wide trail that you quickly discover is popular with bikes.  The length, width and beautifully gradual elevation gain and loss of the Flank Trail makes it an amazing trail on a bike when the winter snow melts in the spring.  You can cover a great distance, see dozens of amazing viewpoints and all the while along are comparatively relaxing route.  The Flank Trail continues to descend all the way to Function Junction, the southernmost neighbourhood in Whistler.  It then turns 90 degrees to the left and ascends quickly along the flank of Mount Sproatt.  Tremendous glimpses of Alpha Lake, then Nita Lake, and finally Alta Lake come into view as you appreciate how quickly you have climbed.  People boating on the lakes are tiny specks that take a moment for your mind to comprehend what they are.  Along this section, more than any other on the Flank Trail, you see frequent side trails.  Almost always on your right, but more recently on the left.  These purpose built bike trails, almost all black diamond in difficulty, plunge into the forest and along and over rock cliffs, over bridges and shockingly steep ramps.  The Flank Trail inspired the creation of bike trails, which in turn enable more hiking trails.  This back and forth trail building frenzy has, and is, producing a bewildering and ever expanding trail network on this once sleepy side of the valley.

Rainbow Falls Snowshoeing Whistler

At roughly the mid point of the Flank Trail you will come to a small, overlapping section of the Rainbow Trail, near Rainbow Falls.  From Whistler Olympic Park to the Rainbow Trail, you will have hiked halfway around Mount Sproatt.  The Flank Trail seems to terminate at the Rainbow Trail, however a small sign directs you to turn right, follow the Rainbow Trail, for a couple hundred metres, then left after the water treatment building to the beautiful bridge over 21 Mile Creek.  A beautiful way to access the Flank Trail on snowshoes or on foot any time of the year is via the Rainbow Trail near Rainbow Park on the far side of Alta Lake.  From the road-side parking at the trailhead you are immediately plunged into deep forest, deep snow, and the sound of crashing water nearby.  The Rainbow Trail winds through the forest fairly steeply upward.  In less than a kilometre you come to Rainbow Falls crashing down through huge pillows of snow.  This little waterfall sits in a beautiful little snowy enclave that feels as though it belongs in some movie.  Deep snow, crystal clear green water cascading down from a frozen cliff.  A little, hidden paradise.  One of many in Whistler.  Further up the trail takes you to the first signs for the Flank Trail.  The Flank Trail overlaps and crosses the Rainbow Trail for half a kilometre.

Flank Trail Bridge at Rainbow Falls

Flank Trail Bridge at Rainbow Falls

Following the Flank Trail to the right takes you to a very scenic bridge over 21 Mile Creek.  Following the Flank Trail to the left leads you to a steady ascent for 400 metres along the Rainbow Lake trail to the trail turnoff to the Flank Trail.  The Flank Trail from here quickly ascends through more deep forest and finally after 15 minutes opens up and flattens out.  The views become beautiful and trail less tiring.  WhistlerBlackcomb and Wedge mountains all come dramatically into view and Alta Lake appears far below.  Just steps from the trail take you to pristine, snowy outcrops, perfect for taking in the view on a sunny day.. and with most of the Flank Trail south facing, sun will always be facing you over Whistler.  The Flank Trail is way more than a day hike on foot or snowshoes.  It is best tackled in pieces.  The great advantage of accessing it from the Rainbow Trail is that you are roughly in the middle of the trail.  On snowshoes, it is especially good.  The Rainbow Trail is steep here, but very scenic and even small kids won't complain.  Every bend in the trail reveals another great view.  Dramatic views of the crashing creek, beautiful snow weighed down trees, wilderness waterfall and a wonderful, snowy bridge crossing, all in the first 15 minutes on the trail.  Fantastic.

  Blueberry Park Steep, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailBlueberry Trail  Brandywine Falls Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailBrandywine Falls  Cheakamus River Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailCheakamus River  Elfin Lakes Moderate, Very Long Snowshoe TrailElfin Lakes  Flank Trail Moderate, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailFlank Trail  Joffre Lakes Moderate, Steep Snowshoe TrailJoffre Lakes  Nairn Falls Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailNairn Falls  Parkhurst Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailParkhurst Ghost Town  Rainbow Falls Steep & Very Short Snowshoe TrailRainbow Falls  Rainbow Lake Moderate, Steep & Long Snowshoe TrailRainbow Lake  Rainbow Park Easy, Flat, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailRainbow Park  Taylor Meadows Moderate, Steep Snowshoe TrailTaylor Meadows  Whistler Train Wreck Easy, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailTrain Wreck  Wedgemount Lake Challenging, Steep Snowshoe TrailWedgemount Lake

Whistler Hiking Trails

Sloquet Hot Springs is a wonderfully wild set of shallow, man-made pools fed by a small, all natural, and very hot, waterfall. The pools stretch from the waterfall to the large and crashing Sloquet River. The ...
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Cirque Lake is a wild and beautiful lake that hides high above and beyond Callaghan Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  What makes Cirque Lake special among the other sensationally beautiful lakes in the ...
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The alpine hiking trails on Whistler Mountain are the ultimate in luxurious, quick-access alpine hiking. Little effort gets you amazing views of turquoise lakes, snowy mountains, valleys of flowers and ...
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Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141 foot waterfall just 30 to 40 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several of ...
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Vancouver Garibaldi Hiking Camping Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

 Best Whistler AerialAlexander  Best Whistler AerialBrandywine  Best Whistler AerialBlackcomb  Best Whistler AerialCallaghan  Best Whistler AerialCirque  Best Whistler AerialJoffre  Best Whistler AerialKeyhole  Best Whistler AerialLogger's  Best Whistler AerialMadeley  Best Whistler AerialPanorama  Best Whistler AerialSproatt  Best Whistler AerialParkhurst  Best Whistler AerialRainbow  Best Whistler AerialRusset  Best Whistler AerialTrain Wreck  Best Whistler AerialWedge Glacier  Best Whistler AerialWedgemount  Best Whistler AerialWhistler

 Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

Best Hiking by Month

Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
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June is a pretty amazing month to hike in Whistler.  The average low and high temperatures in Whistler range from 9c to 21c(48f/70f).  The summer tourist ...
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May is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler.  The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens.  Whistler is ...
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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, if you don't mind the drive is possibly the nicest snowshoe trail you could try in January.  It is only moderately difficult and ...
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Best Whistler Aerial Views

Logger’s Lake is an amazing little lake hidden up in the deep forest above the more well known Cheakamus River. The lake, almost unbelievably exists in a long ...
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Alexander Falls is located far up in the Callaghan Valley just before the turnoff to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  The falls are very impressive with its ...
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Wedge Glacier descends the steep valley down from Wedge Mountain and flanked by Parkhurst Mountain and Mount Weart.  A couple decades ago the glacier ...
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Whistler Train Wreck is an amazing, easy and accessible year-round hike in Whistler.  The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route ...
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Whistler Hiking Trails

Madeley Lake is a beautiful, remote mountain lake hidden high up in the Callaghan Valley.  From Whistler Village expect to take 40 minutes to drive there.  You can drive directly to the lake, however the ...
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Russet Lake is a surreal little paradise that lays at the base of The Fissile, in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Fissile is the strikingly bronze mountain visible from Whistler Village.  From the Village ...
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Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the way to or from Whistler. The falls drop from a 66 metre(216 feet), unnaturally abrupt looking cliff to the valley below. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is ...
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Black Tusk is the extraordinarily iconic and appropriately named mountain that can be seen from almost everywhere in Whistler.  The massive black spire of crumbling rock juts out of the earth in an incredibly ...
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