Rainbow Lake Snowshoe RatingThe 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, Beverley 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 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 

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Rainbow Lake is a tough and beautiful 8 kilometre snowshoeing trail high up in the mountains across the valley from Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  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 well 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.

Beautiful Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls Snowshoe Whistler

Rainbow Trail Bridge Buried In Snow

Rainbow Lake Trail Bridge Crossing

Rainbow Lake Trail Bridge Crossing

Warm Spring Day at Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake Snowshoeing

Rainbow Lake Snowshoeing Whistler

Rainbow Lake Snowshoe Map v13

Getting to the Rainbow Trailhead

Driving to the Rainbow Falls TrailheadPublic Transit to the TrailheadWalking to the Rainbow Falls TrailheadRainbow Lake is well within walking and biking distance from Whistler Village.  It takes about an hour to walk from Whistler Village to the trailhead or about 20 minutes by bike.  To walk or bike to the trailhead you take the Valley Trail from Whistler Village down to the end of Lorimer Road then continue of the Valley Trail to Rainbow Park.  From there it is just a 10 minute walk away along Alta Lake Road.  Taking a bus to the trailhead is not a great option as no buses go very close.  You can take a bus from the Village down to Whistler Cay, near the end of Lorimer Road, then start walking along the Valley Trail, but it only saves you about 30 minutes walking.  Driving directions to trailhead:  Zero your odometer at Village Gate Boulevard(in Whistler Village), drive north on Highway 99.  At 3.9km turn left onto Alpine Way, then at the next stop sign turn left onto Rainbow Drive.  Continue straight until at 7.3km you will see the trailhead sign, "Rainbow Trail" on your right, half buried in snow most of the winter.  There is room for several cars to park, but be careful if the parking area is packed with snow, you may be able to get in, but not be able to get out easily.  Keep that in mind and park in a way that allows you to get out easily.  Hike up the Rainbow Trail and to reach Rainbow Falls, bear right at the two obvious forks in the trail.  Signs do not indicate where the falls are, but there are several orange trail markers on the trees on the way.  Rainbow Falls are found before the water treatment building and the beautiful bridge over the river is just after the treatment building.

Rainbow Trail Directions Map v4

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 Blueberry Trail is a relatively unknown, though very scenic trail that ascends quickly up to a cliff viewpoint high above Alta Lake.  Another trail hugs the shoreline of Alta Lake through a wonderfully ...
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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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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a hiking paradise in the summer and a skiing and snowshoeing paradise in the winter.  About 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Whistler gets you to the Joffre Lakes trailhead.  ...
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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, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverley ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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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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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Brew Lake is beautiful mountain lake just a short drive south of Whistler and is relatively unknown and seldom hiked. Laying at the base of Mount Brew, Brew Lake lays in a massive alpine valley of enormous ...
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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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The Sproatt East trail is a beautifully wild, steep, but relatively short trail to the magnificent, wide open alpine and summit of Mount Sproatt.  Mount Sproatt (1834 metres) towers over Whistler Valley ...
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Taylor Meadows is a very scenic campsite and great alternative to the much busier and more well known, Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in Garibaldi Provincial Park between Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk, ...
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