Updated 2022 – Whistler, Canada is internationally recognized as a world-class ski resort yet it’s still pretty unknown as a summer destination. I’m often asked, “Are there lakes in Whistler?” There are actually FIVE Whistler lakes, and you can walk or bike to all of them!
Each Whistler lake basically has its own “personality”. Whether that’s best beach for sunbathing, which lakes you can swim in, or best places for families, they each have something special. I’ve put together a little travel guide on the five lakes in Whistler so you have all the details at your fingertips.
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Read on for details about Whistler’s Lakes:
Green Lake in Whistler is the largest lake and it’s also the deepest. This means it’s significantly colder but also enables it to be the local ‘airport’ for float planes. (Harbour Air float planes are an AMAZING way to get to or from Whistler.) A boardwalk wraps part way around Green Lake, and this is actually my favourite biking route. You can stop at Dream River Park to take in the views or continue around to Fitzsimmons Fan Park for a different perspective. Don’t forget to stop and take a dip. This is also the only lake in Whistler where motorized vehicles are allowed so if waterskiing and wakeboarding are your jam, this is where you want to be.
Best Whistler Lake For: Wakeboarding
The best thing about Lost Lake is that, despite its name, it is located right in Whistler. You can walk to Lost Lake from Whistler Village in just 15 minutes. There’s also a free shuttle all summer long. Lost Lake Park is a great place to chill out, toss a Frisbee around, or enjoy a snack from the local food trucks. Lost Lake is safe to swim in, and it’s quite warm in the summer. There are even several floating docks. Dogs aren’t allowed on Lost Lake Park beach but if you walk part way around the lake, there’s another beach called Canine Cove that’s a doggy haven. Even if you don’t have a puppy, it’s fun to watch the dogs play in the water and swim out to their own dock. If you continue further around, you’ll find The Big Dock which is Whistler’s ‘clothing optional’ (aka skinny-dipping) dock.
You can walk and hike around Lost Lake. It takes about 1.5 hours to walk the 5 km around Lost Lake. There’s also an abundance of well-marked hiking and biking trails . The trails are nice and cool when you’re in the forest, and also take you up to some great view points of Lost Lake and Whistler Blackcomb mountains.
Best Whistler Lake For: Socializing
Alta Lake is probably the most popular lake in Whistler for locals, given its various accessible parks. These parks have 3 different beaches at Alta Lake that all offer something different. To get to Alta Lake, it takes about 15 minutes by bike from Whistler village or 45-60 minutes walking. Alta Lake is the warmest of the five lakes, making it perfect for swimming.
Best Whistler Lake For: Swimming
1) Rainbow Park
Whistler’s Rainbow Park has incredible views of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, beach volleyball courts, a massive grassy area, a great beach with swimming, and a picnic area too. There’s a popular Whistler off-leash dog area with grass and a dock called Barking Bay at the south end of Rainbow Park.
2) Lakeside Park
Lakeside Park is popular with families as it has a children’s play structure, a large grass lawn, picnic tables, barbecue stands, and a concession stand. The park is a great place to swim or go for a paddle. You can rent canoes, kayaks, pedal boats and paddle boards for use on Alta Lake at Backroads Whistler Boat Rental.
3) Wayside Park
Wayside Park in Whistler is a charming little park that’s located right off Highway 99 and is a bit difficult to find, which keeps it’s nice and quiet. However it still offers a grassy area, a dock, a beach and swimming area, as well as picnic tables and a concession stand. Whistler Eco Tours is onsite to provide canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals, and guided trips too.
Located at Creekside, Nita Lake is about 5 km south of the main Whistler village. It take about 15-20 minutes to bike, slightly longer if you take the Valley Trail (which I highly recommend). You won’t find the same expansive grass or swimming beaches at Nita Lake but this quaint lake does have a dock from which you can launch your canoe or stand up paddle board, and go for a relaxing and picturesque paddle.
Best Whistler Lake For: Paddling Boarding
Alpha Lake is about 5 km south of Whistler but accessible by car, bike or walking. Alpha Lake Park is large and has a children’s play structure, a dock and sandy beach, volleyball court and tennis courts, as well as picnic tables and BBQ stands. There’s also an off-leash dog park and beach called “Arfa Park”.
Best Whistler Lake For: Families and Fur-babies
Dog Days in Whistler
Most dog owners ask “What is there to do in Whistler with dogs?”. The answer is: take your dog to the lake in Whistler with you! There are some great off-leash dog parks in Whistler, including Canine Cove, Barking Bay, and Arfa Park. For more information on things to do with your dog in Whistler, as well as rules and regulations, visit the Resort Municipality of Whistler website.
How to Get to the Whistler Lakes
You can get to all of the lakes in Whistler on foot or by bike via the pedestrian-only Whistler Valley Trail, a 40 km paved track that winds its way from one end of Whistler to the other. Whistler transit also makes stops at or near each of the lakes.
I hope this guide to all the Whistler lakes is useful. Drop me a comment below if you have any questions.