Rainbow Lake Trail Whistler Area Hiking
The Rainbow Lake trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village. It is a consistently uphill and very beautiful trail with several water (bridge) crossings and waterfalls on the way to the picture-perfect lake. There are a few views of the valley across to Whistler, Blackcomb, and Wedge Mountains. Few views, though fantastic. Rainbow lake itself is beautiful and has branching trails that extend further beyond the lake.
There are several highlights along the Rainbow Trail. Several waterfall and idyllic creek crossings as well as two somewhat elaborate bridges. Located in such a hostile environment that one of these bridges has to be removed annually before the huge snowfalls come in December. Rainbow Falls, near the trailhead is easily missed as it requires a short, two minute side trail to find. It is located about five minutes into the Rainbow Trail and your best bet to find it is to keep bearing right along the first couple trail branches. Don't worry about getting lost here though as all the trails reconnect further along the trail when you briefly exit the forest at the water treatment building.
Unfortunately, Rainbow Lake is is the water supply for Whistler, so you cannot swim, fish or camp near the lake. There is decent camping available nearby at Hanging Lake as well as Beverly Lake in the direction of Rainbow Mountain. Hanging lake is a bit dark and swampy as compared to the spectacular camping at Beverly Lake which is a tough but rewarding hike beyond Rainbow Lake.
Beverly Lake is reached by following the trail toward Rainbow Mountain. About 40 minutes into this trail the trail markers will stop as it ascends up into an extensive boulder field towards Rainbow Mountain. To reach Beverly, bear left of the route to Rainbow Mountain and follow the valley. Beverly Lake is about an hours hike from Rainbow Lake.
Directions to the Rainbow Lake Trailhead Whistler Hiking Trails
The trailhead is a short 15 minute drive from Whistler Village. There is a parking area at the edge of Alta Lake Road right at the trailhead. Look for the big "Rainbow Trail" sign. Directions to trailhead: Zero your odometer at Village Gate Boulevard(in Whistler Village), drive north on Highway 99. At 3.8km turn left onto Alpine Way, then at the next stop sign turn left onto Rainbow Drive. Continue straight (Rainbow Drive becomes Alta Lake Rd after about 1 kilometre) until at 6.8km you will see the trailhead on your right and the big "Rainbow Trail" sign. At the start of the trail you will see a big mapboard showing the area.