Whistler Canada is internationally recognized as a world-class ski resort yet it’s still pretty unknown as a summer destination, which I find incredible. Summer is my absolutely favourite time here, not only because I’m a sun worshipper but because it’s basically like summer camp for adults with all of the amazing things to see and do in Whistler. Something else that surprises people is the number of lakes we have here, each with their own “personality”, whether that’s best for beaching or the place for wakeboarding. So I thought I’d do a little local travel guide on the 5 lakes in Whistler so you have all the details at your fingertips.
Green Lake is the largest of the lakes and also the deepest. This means it’s significantly colder but also enables it to be our ‘airport’ for float planes (Harbour Air is an AMAZING way to get to or from Whistler, if you ever have the chance). There’s a boardwalk that wraps part way around the lake and this is 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 and to 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 Lake For: Wakeboarding
The best thing about Lost Lake is that, despite its name, it is located right in Whistler. Lost Lake is a 15 minute walk from the centre of the village and 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. You can swim in Lost Lake 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 and it’s a doggy haven. Even if you don’t have a pooch, it’s fun to watch the pups 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’ dock. There’s also an abundance of well-marked hike and biking trails surrounding Lost Lake. The trails are nice and cool when you’re in the forest, and also take you up to some great vantage points.
Best Lake For: Socializing
Alta Lake is probably the most popular lake in Whistler for locals, given its three accessible parks. Alta Lake is about a 15 minute bike ride from Whistler village or 45-60 minutes walking.
Best Lake For: Swimming
1) RAINBOW PARK
Rainbow Park has incredible views of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, beach volleyball, 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 is a charming little park that’s located right off Highway 99 and 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, about 4 km south of the main Whistler village, Nita Lake is a hidden gem. You won’t find the same expansive grass or swimming beaches here 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 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 Lake For: Families and Fur-babies
If you’re a dog owner and want more information on the great off-leash dog parks in Whistler, including Canine Cove, Barking Bay, and Arfa Park, as well as other rules and regulations, please visit the Resort Municipality of Whistler website.
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.