The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverly Lake, Rainbow Mountain... and even Whistler Olympic Park if you are determined.  It is a consistently uphill and very beautiful trail with several water (bridge) crossings and waterfalls on the way to the picture-perfect lake. 

  • Quiet trail compared to other Whistler trails
  • Trails continue past the lake to other lakes
  • Stunning views of Blackcomb & Whistler mountains
  • Continuing trail/route to Rainbow Mountain
  • The alpine hiking options(eg: Sproatt) are incredible
  • The huge erratics at the lake are perfect for suntanning
  • No camping, fishing or swimming allowed
  • Trail is sometimes scenic, but often in deep forest
  • Tour companies often fly over spoiling the serenity
  • Dogs not allowed due to being Whistler's water source

Whistler & Garibaldi 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

Rainbow Lake is a tough and beautiful 8 kilometre snowshoeing trail high up in the mountains across the valley from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.  The trail is generally well marked and easy to follow, however some sections are tricky to follow as the heavy snow bends the bushes down obscuring the trail.  The trail is a constant, fairly steep ascent and you may notice ski tracks along the route.  A somewhat popular skiing attraction in Whistler is to get heli-dropped on Rainbow Mountain and skiing back to Whistler.  Rainbow Falls is a nice detour near the beginning of the Rainbow Lake trail. When you come to the small water purification building you will see a distinct fork in the trail and a sign directing you to Rainbow Lake turn left.  If you go right however, in just a few hundred metres you will come to the beautiful Rainbow Falls as well as a nice picturesque bridge over the river.  You of course have to backtrack to get back to the Rainbow Lake trail.  Though Rainbow Lake is only 8k from the trailhead, on snowshoes it will likely take nearly four hours to get there.  You can snowshoe around up there for quite a while so you have to be careful with the time as in the winter months the sun goes down before 5pm.  The Rainbow Trail" trailhead is easy and close to Whistler Village.  You just need to drive to Alta Lake Road on the far side of Alta Lake, just a 15 minute drive away.  There is a big sign for the Rainbow Lake trailhead on your right if coming from the neighbourhood of Alpine.  The trailhead is about 200-300 metres from the Rainbow Park parking lot.

Rainbow Falls Snowshoe Whistler

Snowshoeing Rainbow Lake in Whistler

Flank Trail Near the Rainbow Trail

Rainbow Lake Trail Bridge Crossing

Rainbow Lake Trail Bridge Crossing

The Flank Trail Crosses the Rainbow Trail

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.

The Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail in the Winter

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.

Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail Sign

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.

Flank Trail Tent Site

The Flank Trail Map

Whistler Hiking Trails

Meager Hot Springs(aka: Meager Creek Hot Springs) is located 93 kilometres northwest of Whistler, was beautifully developed into gorgeous pools, with a caretaker and usage charge.  At its height of ...
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The Sea to Sky Trail is a 180 kilometre multi-use trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. The trail is still under construction in many parts, however, the amazing route through Whistler is finally in ...
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Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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Mount Sproatt, or as it is known locally as  just Sproatt, is one of the many towering mountains visible from Whistler Village. Above and beyond Alta Lake, directly across from Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb ...
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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

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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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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April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with the Telus Snowboard ...
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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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Best Whistler Aerial Views

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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The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, ...
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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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Whistler Hiking Trails

Ring Lake is a fantastically beautiful and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre hike takes you through a tranquil forest, then to an ...
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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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Helm Creek is a cute, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek campground, Helm Creek descends further ...
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The Sea to Sky Trail is a 180 kilometre multi-use trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. The trail is still under construction in many parts, however, the amazing route through Whistler is finally in ...
Read more