Rainbow Park Snowshoe RatingRainbow Park is one of the hugely popular swimming beaches in Whistler in the summer.  In the winter it is a spectacular vantage point across Alta Lake to Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  The beautiful ski run lines snake down the mountains and by December Alta Lake is usually completely frozen.  Hockey games occur at various spots on the lake and the Valley Trail leading to and from Rainbow Park is buried in snow and unplowed all winter.  When the heavy snow of December comes, the valley trail becomes a snowshoeing and cross country ski trail.

  • Paradise on a sunny day!
  • Easy, family friendly snowshoeing
  • Free & prettier than Lost Lake
  • Dog friendly
  • Close to Whistler Village
  • Walk & skate on Alta Lake!
  • Incredible mountain views
  • Too close to civilization
  • Can be busy on weekends
  • Not really challenging

Whistler Snowshoe Trails

Blueberry Park Steep, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailBlueberry Trail  Snowshoe Easy DogBrandywine Falls  Snowshoe Easy DogCheakamus River  Elfin Lakes Moderate, Very Long Snowshoe TrailElfin Lakes  Steep, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailFlank Trail  Joffre Lakes Moderate, Steep Snowshoe TrailJoffre Lakes  Snowshoe Easy DogNairn Falls  Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailParkhurst Ghost Town  Steep, Short, Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailRainbow Falls  Rainbow Lake Moderate, Steep & Long Snowshoe TrailRainbow Lake  Rainbow Park Easy Dog Friendly Snowshoe TrailRainbow Park  Steep Dog Friendly SnowshoeingSproatt East  Taylor Meadows Moderate, Steep Snowshoe TrailTaylor Meadows  Snowshoe Trail EasyModTrain Wreck  Wedgemount Lake Challenging, Steep Snowshoe TrailWedgemount Lake 

 Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

It can still be hiked, but once you reach Rainbow Park you will be knee deep in snow.  The piers so well used in summer are frozen in place and, like everything else are buried in snow.  This snowshoe trail is excellent for the novelty of snowshoeing and great for kids.  Snowshoes are not really necessary due to short length of the trail and the relatively small size of the park.  If you have small kids, however, they will be in paradise.  By Christmas the park is often waist deep in snow and if you are new to snowshoeing, you will have a great time.  And if you do bring kids, you will have trouble getting them to leave.  Rainbow Park is a very easy, 1 kilometre trail from the parking area at the dead end of Lorimer Rd to the park.  It is a relaxing trail that doesn't change in elevation.  It runs for a while along the River of Golden Dreams then crosses the river on a cute little bridge giving you your first view of Alta Lake.  Just past the bridge on your left you can walk to a viewing platform over the lake.  Back on the trail it is just another five minutes to the lake.

Golden Dusk at Rainbow Park

Rainbow Park Snowshoeing in Whistler

Rainbow Park Snowshoeing

Rainbow Park History

Rainbow Park gets its name from Rainbow Lodge, a popular stop along the train line from 1914 to 1974.  Run by Myrtle and Alex Philip, the original lodge burned down in 1977.  Some of the remaining log houses have been moved and now are gradually being restored as an outdoor museum.  Interpretive panels with photos and descriptions of life in the area almost a century ago.  These houses go mostly unnoticed as the main interpretive area is just off of the main beach across the Bridge of Sighs.  Named by Alex Philip, the current bridge is a reconstruction of the original.  There is a photo and description of the original that you can compare with the reconstruction. You will notice as you read the various panels how everything in Whistler now seems to be named after the people that once lived in and around the Rainbow Lodge community.

The Original Rainbow Lodge

Rainbow Park Piers

Rainbow Park has two piers that stretch far out on Alta Lake.  Beyond the pier there are two swimming platforms.  Volleyball nets, a concession stand and washrooms sit further back from the beach.  There is a large area of beach set aside as a dog park and several picnic tables.  The popularity of Rainbow Park is largely due to the incredible setting.  Blackcomb and Whistler look incredible.  Wedge Mountain, the highest mountain in Garibaldi Park to the left of Blackcomb looks both enormous and definitely wedge shaped.  Every direction you look you are captivated by the surroundings.  Out on the pier you look left and right along the huge valley that contains Alta Lake and at the far end you trace Whistler Mountain from the water to the sky.  You can see where the Peak Chair, or at least the alpine rock and snow where it sits on top of high up above the treeline.

Rainbow Park Snowshoeing in Whistler

Rainbow Park sits on the far side of Alta Lake.  From Whistler Village it is just over 3 kilometres and the entire route is scenic.  From the Village the Valley Trail passes underneath the Sea to Sky Highway and at the Whistler Golf Course clubhouse it branches in two directions.  Left takes you around the golf course and to Alta Lake's near shore and past Blueberry Park, Lakeside Park and Wayside Park before rounding the south end of the lake and on to Alta Lake Road to Rainbow Park.  The map below shows the more direct route, which turns right at the clubhouse and follows the Valley Trail along the golf course and through the beautiful, old-growth cedar forest at its top end.  The Valley Trail then veers away from the golf course and runs along Lorimer Road briefly before branching left and following the River of Golden Dreams to Alta Lake and Rainbow Park.

Rainbow Park Snowshoeing

Magnificent Sunrise at Garibaldi Park

Rainbow Park Sunset

The 1 kilometre section of Valley Trail between Lorimer Road and Rainbow Park is very nice.  There are a few nice places to stop along the River of Golden Dreams.  A great viewpoint over Alta Lake, a small rocky beach where two creeks meet and a boat portage area with a deck on the river next to a fish weir.  All of this section of trail is within a deep and beautiful forest with gaps in the forest revealing different mountains at every bend in the trail.  If you want to continue past Rainbow Park and around Alta Lake you just have to go along Alta Lake Road for 1.3 kilometres until it rejoins the Valley Trail again.  There is a shortcut to Alta Lake Road from Rainbow Park.  Immediately after you cross the train tracks take the unmarked trail on your left.  It zig-zags once through the trees and comes to Alta Lake Road.  Turn left onto Alta Lake Road and then after 1.3 kilometres look to your left for the Valley Trail.  Whistler's beautiful Valley Trail system has excellent and clear signs at every junction on the trail and takes you past one gorgeous park after another.

Rainbow Park Snowshoe Map

More Whistler Snowshoe Trails

More Whistler Snowshoe TrailsThere are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to the magnificent mountain serenity of Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park.  Trails range from extremely easy, like the short, flat trails to Brandywine Falls and Rainbow Park.  To challenging and long trails to places like Elfin LakesTaylor Meadows and Wedgemount Lake.  Whistler even has a growing network of snowshoe trails to Parkhurst Ghost Town on the far side of Green Lake.  There are a couple pay-use snowshoeing areas in Whistler, however most free trails are as good or better.  Whistler Train Wreck is an easy/moderate snowshoe trail that takes you through a deep forest, over Cheakamus River via a very pretty suspension bridge, and to a series of decades old, wrecked train cars.  Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park is another beautiful place to snowshoe.  Located at the south end of Garibaldi Park, the Elfin Lakes trailhead is found in Squamish.  The trail is not overly difficult, however it is quite long.  A consistently uphill, 11 kilometre(13.7 mile) trail through some spectacular scenery takes you to the marvelous Elfin Lakes hut.  For easier snowshoeing, Rainbow Falls is a good option.  Located just a short drive from Whistler Village, the Rainbow Trail is a beautiful trek through the forest in a winter wonderland to a hidden waterfall surrounded by deep pillows of powdery snow.  For more challenging snowshoeing, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is hard to beat.  A long, though beautiful drive into the mountains, north of Pemberton takes you to this moderately challenging, 11 kilometre(6.8mile) roundtrip snowshoe trail.  The frequently steep, winding trail takes you through a winter paradise and around, or over three frozen lakes.  Back in Whistler, an excellent place to snowshoe is to Parkhurst Ghost Town.  Sitting on the far side of Green Lake, Parkhurst was a thriving logging community several decades ago.  It has since been abandoned except for intermittent squatter communities over the years. 

Whistler Snowshoe Trails

The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
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Rainbow Falls is a fantastic way go get yourself into some deep snow quickly from Whistler Village.  The short 2.2 kilometre, winding, and ever-changing loop trail to Rainbow Falls partly overlaps the Rainbow ...
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The Sproatt East trail is one of the nicest snowshoe trails in Whistler.  With the trailhead high up in Stonebridge, partway up the flank of Mount Sproatt, you start snowshoeing already high up in the ...
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Wedgemount Lake is a steep and difficult hike in the summer when there is no snow.  It doesn't require technical skill, but it is just exhausting.  You gain 1220 metres of elevation in just 7 kilometres(+2 in ...
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February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
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In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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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 overflowing patios 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 fairly ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Garibaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Garibaldi Lake campsite is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly still wild ...
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Madeley Lake is a gorgeous mountain lake located high up in the Callaghan Valley just a short drive past Alexander Falls.  From Whistler Village it takes about 50 minutes to drive the 27.4 kilometres to get to the ...
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The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
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Keyhole Hot Springs (aka Pebble Creek Hot Springs) is located 100 kilometres from Whistler (Village Gate Blvd). Closed from Apr 1- Nov 15 every year by BC Ministry of Forests due to potential bear conflicts.  Though much of ...
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