Are you ready to escape the scorching heat of summer and immerse yourself in the tranquility of alpine lakes? Whistler, with its breathtaking natural beauty, offers the perfect destination for a refreshing getaway. In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey to explore the stunning lakes surrounding Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor. So, grab your swim gear, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable experience.
As you arrive in Whistler Valley, you’ll be delighted to find a cluster of easily accessible lakes, inviting you to cool off and relax. The valley trail offers convenient access to many of these beautiful water bodies. To make the most of your lake-hopping adventure, consider taking an e-bike tour, providing you with an enjoyable and eco-friendly way to explore the lakes. Whistler eBike Tours offer a range of great scenic tour options that will take you to some of Whistler’s top lake spots. Each lake has its unique charm and activities to offer, from swimming in the crystal-clear waters to floating lazily on a raft or paddleboarding across the mirrored surfaces. Let’s dive into the top lakes you shouldn’t miss:
This picturesque destination is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and families seeking a perfect retreat. With not just one, but three fabulous beaches to choose from, namely Lakeside Park, Rainbow Park (under construction until June 2024), and Wayside Park, there’s no shortage of fun and relaxation to be had here.
Possibilities for recreation are endless at Alta Lake. If you’re up for some aquatic adventure, paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing are popular activities that allow you to explore the lake’s beauty up close (don’t worry if you didn’t bring your own gear – you’ll find concession stands surrounding the lake offering water equipment rentals). And for those with a love for fishing, the lake’s abundant fish population promises a rewarding experience.
Lakeside Park is conveniently located just a short 10-minute bike ride away or a pleasant 30-minute walk from Whistler Village. If you’re visiting Rainbow Park (post-rejuvenation construction ending June 2024), situated on the west side of Alta Lake, a delightful 20-minute bike ride along the valley trail will take you there from both Whistler Village and Whistler Creekside.
As for Wayside Park, although it’s the smallest of the beach areas around Whistler, it holds its charm. Located close to Whistler Creekside, you can easily access this lovely spot via the valley trail system or by car.
Parking spaces near Alta Lake’s parks are quite limited. But don’t worry! There are plenty of alternative transportation options available. Embrace the natural beauty and opt for a pleasant walk, an enjoyable bike ride, or hop on public transit. You can read more on getting around Whistler here.
And remember, environmental preservation is a top priority here, so be sure to dispose of waste responsibly in secure, wildlife-proof containers or take it with you when you leave.
Nestled amidst an enchanting forest setting, Lost Lake offers a tranquil escape from the bustling world. Its well-maintained beaches and swimming areas make it a fantastic place for a refreshing dip. Additionally, there are numerous hiking trails nearby, making it an excellent spot for nature enthusiasts.
You’ll find Lost Lake within Lost Lake Park, a forested park close to Whistler Village just off Lost Lake Road. To get there, simply take the free Lost Lake Shuttle mini bus from Post 4 in the Gondola Transit exchange from 11 AM to 6 PM daily, direct to the Lake. Note: the free shuttle runs only in the summer from June 17 to September 4.
Alpha Lake – considered the warmest of them all – is a hidden gem cherished by locals. Its smaller size creates a sense of intimacy, and its peaceful ambiance makes it perfect for unwinding. Bring your inflatable tube and float along the gentle currents or bask in the sun on its sandy shores.
Located at the southern end of the valley in the Creekside neighbourhood, you can take the #10, #20 or #21 BC Transit bus south to Creekside or Bayshores, and walk approximately 5-10 minutes on the Valley Trail to the lake.
Surrounded by luxury resorts and scenic vistas, Nita Lake boasts elegance and charm. If you’re a fan of stand-up paddleboarding, this is the lake for you. You can also explore the picturesque lakeside trails, offering postcard-worthy views at every turn.
For the fishing enthusiasts, Nita Lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout, making it the perfect spot to throw a line in. Be sure to check out Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC for the rules and regulations on safe catch.
To get there, take the #10, #20 or #25 BC Transit bus south to the first stop or third in Creekside, and walk approximately 5 minutes on the Valley Trail to the lake via the underpass, or past Nita Lake Lodge.
Green Lake, a glacial lake with crystal clear waters and a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, make it a photographer’s paradise. It’s also known for its chilly temperatures, making swimming in its pristine waters a bracing but invigorating experience; however, fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to catch trout and other fish species, and visitors can still take a serene stroll along the shoreline and relish in the beauty that surrounds them.
Located north of the Village, take the #30 or #32 BC Transit bus north to Rainbow Estates or Emerald Estates stops, and walk approximately 5 minutes to the lake.
If you’re up for a hiking challenge, Whistler offers access to several alpine lakes accessible only by foot. These hiking adventures will reward you with breathtaking panoramas and a true sense of accomplishment.
One of the most iconic alpine lakes, Garibaldi Lake leaves visitors spellbound with its turquoise waters and surrounding glaciers. The hike might be strenuous, but the majestic scenery and the chance to camp under the stars make it an unforgettable experience.
The trail to Garibaldi Lake is a well-maintained and popular route in Garibaldi Provincial Park. It is a moderate-to-strenuous hike with a steady incline. The trail passes through lush forests, alpine meadows, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The reward at the end is the breathtaking turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake, nestled between glaciers and peaks.
The trailhead for Garibaldi Lake is located at the Rubble Creek parking lot, about a 30-minute drive south of Whistler Village on Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky Highway).
Hidden away in the mountains, Rainbow Lake offers seclusion and serenity. The trail leading to this alpine wonder is a delightful journey through lush forests and meadows. Once at the lake, you’ll be treated to clear waters and peaceful surroundings.
The hike to Rainbow Lake is a moderately challenging one. It meanders through beautiful forests, crosses a suspension bridge, and features some elevation gain. The lake itself is a tranquil gem surrounded by nature, making it a great spot for a day hike or a backcountry camping adventure.
The trailhead for Rainbow Lake is located in Whistler’s Alta Lake neighborhood. To reach it, take Alta Lake Road from Whistler Village, then turn onto Rainbow Drive. Follow the road until you see the trailhead sign and parking area.
Embark on a challenging hike to Panorama Ridge, where Helm Lake and Mimulus Lake await your discovery. The effort pays off as you stand atop the ridge, witnessing sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and glacial valleys.
The hike to Panorama Ridge is a long and strenuous one, so it’s recommended for experienced hikers or backpackers. The trail offers incredible views of Garibaldi Lake, Helm Lake, and the surrounding glaciers and peaks. Helm Lake and Mimulus Lake are side trips along the Panorama Ridge trail, adding extra distance to the hike. This hike is a full-day endeavor, but the awe-inspiring vistas and alpine landscapes make it well worth the effort.
The trailhead for Panorama Ridge is the Rubble Creek parking lot, the same as the one for Garibaldi Lake (as mentioned above).
Tucked away in the wilderness, Seagram Lake is accessible through a moderate hike. This alpine lake invites you to take a refreshing dip while you savor the beauty of untouched nature.
The hike to Seagram Lake is a lesser-known trail that offers a peaceful and secluded experience. It is a moderate hike with some elevation gain. The trail leads through forests and meadows, providing glimpses of surrounding mountains along the way. Seagram Lake itself is a small, picturesque lake where you can enjoy a quiet and serene setting away from the crowds.
The trailhead for Seagram Lake is located at the Function Junction area, about a 10-minute drive south of Whistler Village on Highway 99.
For those seeking a more adventurous lake experience, Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor have hidden treasures that will reward you with solitude and nature’s raw beauty. However, reaching these lakes might require some extra effort, as they’re tucked away off the beaten path. Keep your GPS handy, and remember to prioritize safety during your journey.
Nestled deep within the forest, Cheakamus Lake promises an enchanting adventure. The hike to this secluded lake unveils breathtaking views and wildlife encounters. You’ll be rewarded with pristine waters and the feeling of being immersed in the heart of nature.
This lesser-known gem is a true wilderness escape. Its emerald-green waters are surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush vegetation, creating a postcard-worthy setting. Hiking to Loggers Lake is a moderate challenge, but the sense of accomplishment and the views make it worthwhile.
Prepare to be awe-struck by the awe-inspiring scenery of Callaghan Lake. This hidden beauty is situated amidst towering peaks, and its tranquility is worth every effort.
Venturing a bit further, you’ll find Lillooet Lake, a remote and pristine paradise. The journey itself is an experience, taking you through picturesque landscapes. Fishing, boating, and photography opportunities abound, making it a hidden treasure for nature enthusiasts.
As the summer heat bears down, Whistler’s alpine lakes provide an oasis of calm and rejuvenation. From the easily accessible lakes in the valley to the hidden gems off the beaten path and the adventurous alpine lakes accessible only by hiking, each one offers a unique experience. To make the most of your exploration, consider booking a multi-day mid-week stay in Whistler, allowing you ample time to bask in the beauty of these captivating lakes. Whether you seek relaxation or adventure, Whistler’s lakes are waiting to welcome you to a world of unparalleled natural wonder. So, pack your sense of adventure and dive into the breathtaking lakes around Whistler this summer.