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The Ultimate Whistler Lakes Guide

The town of Whistler is known as a winter destination with incredible skiing and snowboarding. This mountain town, just a 2-hour journey north of Vancouver, boasts the promise of a winter wonderland. However, in the summer, Whistler transforms into a different type of destination resort and vacation spot. The many lakes lining the valley ensure there is enough space for everyone.

Lakes, Lakes, and More Lakes

The lakes that line the Whistler valley attract thousands every summer to relax, hang out, and immerse in the mountain lifestyle. With five lakes easily accessible from Highway 99, you can pick from Alpha, Nita, Alta, Lost, and Green lake. In the mountains, there are many lakes to explore: Wedge, Iceberg, Sproat, Cheakamus, Russet, and Loggers lake. They take a little more effort to get to but are definitely worth it. These lakes require hiking and have a longer time commitment.

The Lakes of the Whistler Valley

The valley lakes of Whistler are the most popular for both tourists and locals who are looking to relax and swim. Many locals utilize their proximity to the beaches, docks, and parks to cool off after a long day of work or activity. All the lakes are glacier-fed by the river systems coming down from the mountains. This keeps the lakes’ ecosystems healthy and cool through the summer. Alta lake is the warmest lake in the Whistler valley, making it a popular lake for swimming and recreating.

Whistler valley Lakes
Lost lake

Alta Lake Parks and Beaches

Alta lake is the most popular lake having many access points. The lake has the valley trail running along the circumference of its shoreline, with four main docks and beaches to access the water: Wayside Park, Lakeside Park, Blueberry docks, and Rainbow Park. Lakeside Park has many amenities such as picnic tables, BBQ platforms, a sandy beach, and a concession stand run by Backroads Whistler. Backroads offer canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals, in addition to guided and self-guided tours down the River of Golden Dreams. You can experience the wildlife and ecosystems of Alta Lake with the help of highly knowledgeable and trained river guides. 

Boat rentals
Lakeside Park Boat Rentals

Whistler's Alpine Lakes

Whistler has lakes high in the mountains surrounding the town in the alpine biome. The majority of these lakes are glacial lakes. The high mountain vistas create beautiful panoramic views of the turquoise blue water in the valley below. These lakes take some effort to get to but are worth the sweat tax. Often, extremely cold, they are a refreshing midpoint on hikes and make for beautiful camping spots. Depending on the lake, it can take anywhere from half an hour to 8 hours to travel to these lakes by foot. The two lakes that stand out from the rest are Wedge mount lake and Garibaldi lake. The size and expanse of these lakes are impressive, to say the least. The backdrops of high alpine mountains with glaciers lining the edges show the origins and the long lineage of these ancient glacial landscapes.

Whistler Alpine Lakes
Garibaldi Lake

Whistler Lake Activities

On summer days, you can fill your day with endless activities by the lakes. You can tour all the valley lakes by embarking on a bike ride or spending the day soaking up the sun on the docks. The sky is the limit. The docks at lost lake park offer sun for most of the day, providing some of the best tanning opportunities. If the other lakes are too warm for your liking, Green lake remains the coldest lake in the Whistler valley year-round, with its main inflow coming from the snowmelt of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. If you are looking for sports and recreation, Rainbow Park is a great spot to spend your day. It boasts amenities like volleyball courts, a large grassy area for frisbee and games of catch, with close proximity to the bottom of the westside bike trails. If you are looking to tire your four-legged friend out in the water or on the land, there is a dog park on the water at the south end of Rainbow park, aptly named Barking bay. 

Alta Lake Whistler
Rainbow Park

The Ultimate Guide to Whistler Lakes

Now that you’ve read the word “lake” 64 times in this article is it starting to look a little funny? It is to us too, good thing the Whistler lakes are a great way to spend a morning, afternoon, evening, or day. Enjoying the lakes is a privilege. It is best to try and use the recycling and garbage cans provided by the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Keeping the lake environment clean is key to everyone’s enjoyment. If you are using the public access lakes, please pack out what you pack in. Enjoy what the Whistler lakes have to offer!