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What you need to bring on the River of Golden Dreams

Hot Summer Days Require Sunscreen

Sunscreen can be an underrated piece in someone’s day pack. The use of suncream on the lake and in the River of Golden Dreams can be the difference between a lobster-faced crisp and a nice tan. On the river, there is very little shade. This exposes you to the sun for long periods of time. The River of Golden Dreams alone can take up to 3 hours between the river banks. If you are in the baking sun for too long on a hot summer day, it can lead to heat exhaustion, sunstroke among other sun-related ailments.


Even though you are paddling or rowing through tons of water, it is essential to bring H2O on the river with you. The time spent exerting yourself paddling down the river will make you thirsty, potentially dehydrating you. Especially on a hot summer day, you do not want to be halfway through the wildflower-lined banks and realize you are thirsty. It is best to be prepared and have hydration options while on the river. 

An Extra Layer or Jacket

Bring an extra layer with you for when the weather turns nasty. The weather in the mountains can change unexpectedly, changing a hot summer day into a cold rainy one in minutes. The water temperature of the river of golden dreams can accelerate this exponentially. The snowmelt coming from the snow-capped mountains you see in the distance dictates the water level and temperature. Making you cold due to the low temperature of the water surrounding you lowers the overall air temperature. These extra layers can also come in handy if someone has had too much sun and needs added shade and skin coverage to avoid sunstroke or burn.

Water Shoes

Water shoes are an item that is often overlooked when embarking on the River of Golden Dreams. Proper footwear for portages and low water conditions is key to an enjoyable river float. Closed sandals, neoprene water shoes, or even crocs work well in the water if you have to get out and push your vessel. Flip flops will not work, they do not provide a stable stepping surface and can lead to slips and falls. To answer part of the question: What do you need to bring on the River of Golden Dreams? The answer is water shoes.

A Trusted Canoe, Kayak, or Paddle Board

The use of a trusted water vessel like canoe and kayak can make your experience down beautiful Alta Lake and into the River of Golden Dreams as smooth as possible. The use of good, well-maintained, equipment that you can rely on is paramount to your time on the lake and river. You can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards from Backroads Whistler at Lakeside park. There is free parking, and Backroads offers a shuttle back from the Green Lake to either Whistler Village or your starting point with any of their river trip rentals or guided trips. 



A trip down the river may only take a couple of hours. But, on the river, there are no rest stops, restaurants, or food stands. Don’t forget to bring a couple of snacks with you on your river journey. The time will come, you become peckish, and a snack will be a lifesaver. The avoidance of hunger can make an okay day into a great day. 

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