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Rainbow Lake Trail is a 9.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Whistler, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and mountain biking and is best used from July until October.

Length 9.1 mi Elevation gain 2,709 ft Route type Out & Back

Camping

Hiking

Mountain biking

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Muddy

Snow

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities

Rainbow Lake is located in Whistler and is one of the area's most scenic and pristine alpine lakes. When timed right in August, the wildflowers around the lake are in full bloom and the views on a clear day are spectacular, with Black Tusk visible in the distance. This route will take you to the beautiful Rainbow Falls near the beginning and climb gradually through a scenic forested trail. Please note that bears and bikes are not allowed after some miles on this trail because of bear alert.

Note: Parking lot off Alta Lake Road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (212)
Photos (170)
Recordings (113)
Completed (376)
Adela Floroaie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jul 14 2020

Very difficult trail for the average backpacking hiker! we started at Madley lake with our 55+ L backpacks to overnight at Hanging lake. The first 2.2 km pretty nice and mellow until you get to Beverly Creek where the bridge was washed away so we had to cross in a rushing knee high water. Then the worst part of the trail comes! Constant ascent, quite muddy in areas, exposed parts that are very narrow, lots of overgrowth, 2 or 3 sections with hiking(climbing) over big boulders (although the trail is well marked). Not for the faint of heart and for us it was creepy a bit not seeing one other human being on the trail and at the campsite! Snow still up there (July 11-12) maybe there is easier trails to get to Rainbow other than Hanging lake trail?We are definitely exploring that next time. I would rate this hike very difficult! Or difficult if you don't carry huge backpacks.

Alex Ros
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
HikingSnow

Did this trail on June 21. Lots of snow at the time at the top of the mountain. View of the lake at the end is so beautiful. The trail also has some cool bridges and trees along the way which makes the journey even more enjoyable!

Makena Rutledge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
HikingBugsMuddy

Super fun hike! The trail is pretty long with a lot of mud and some technical sections so be sure to wear hiking boots if you have them. Highly recommend taking a dip in Hanging Lake... about 2 km past Rainbow but a really nice swimming lake. Be prepared for some snow in Rainbow Pass. Not a big deal but it can make the trail tough to follow.

D Mack
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020

Trail was mellow and in good condition, some mud in sections with bit of snow up top. 5hr round trip including chill spots. Give a week or two if you wanna go past the lake and let the snow melt, talked to the ranger (who was grooming the trial) and probable grizzly prints were seen up Gin and Tonic recently.

V City
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Clean trail, barely any mud. No snow. 2:30 each way. Saw a bear at the start but it was chill

Nova Tregaskis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 10 2020

My favourite trail in whistler! It’s beautiful. Just did it this morning and it was great. Not too busy and there’s only a small amount of snow at the top. I did it in runners with no problems. Took us 2hrs20 to get to the lake, 1 hour of hanging out, 1hr20 coming down. It’s incredibly beautiful.

Annie Armstrong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

Great hike out today to Rainbow Lake. The incline is gradual, which makes it fairly moderate. Super well maintained trail (even passed by a parks rep working on the trail today). The bugs werent so bad - put on some spray but probably could’ve gone without. We did have an encounter with a black bear right on the trail, around the 2.5 km mark. The bear wasn’t very shy, came up fairly close to us, and took a bit to scare off into the trees, but once he left, he meandered pretty far away. Other than that it was an excellent hike! Some mud, and snow at top but not bad at all.

Queeny Li
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
HikingBugsMuddySnow

Rainbow lake has a spectacular view with a mildly cool temperature, and Bugs. Lots of bugs, make sure you spray yourself adequately. The elevation gain is 850m, so this is truly an indemediate level. Keep in mind dogs and bikes are prohibited after the first 2.50 clicks because of bear alert, although websites dont say so. i would still say its pretty safe, some people even go overnight to hangarlake. But at the end of the day, the lakeview and snowview is still well worth the trouble.

Daniel Galts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

05/Jul/20 Started this trail at about 2:30pm - took us around five hours round trip (including 30 minutes at the lake). Trail was well maintained, some muddy parts and some well trodden snow patches. Long gradual incline. Bugs in the middle section of the trail - although I didn't use bug spray or get any bites. Would love to keep going onwards past the lake next time.

View Daniel's Recording
Amanda Tang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingMuddySnow

[02-Jul-20] Well maintained and groomed trail. Constant incline that isn't too steep makes for a enjoyable hike! Pack layers as it's quite cold at the lake with the wind. Still some snow on the trail but compact enough that we did it in runners. Hiking boots would be a lot easier though!

Yann Bernaquez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 01 2020
Running

30/06/20 - Great trail. Easy to follow. Some mud/snow in the last 500m approach to Lake. Rainbow lake is still covered in ice patches.

Andrew Eells
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 30 2020
HikingBugs

[29/06/20] Really well-maintained trail, Ranger was working on it as we visited. Wolf and bear spotted in the last few days according to the Rangers notice board. A few snow-drifts and mud the last kilometre to the Lake but a sturdy pair of shoes is all you’ll need. View back down the valley towards Blackcomb/Wedge well worth it and the Lake still frozen is very pretty. Worth mentioning that Strava measured it as 18k from the Alta Rd parking lot, bit longer than the trail description mentioned here.

Jordan David
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Hiked on June 25th - what a beautiful trail! Bring mosquito repellent. Yes, there is some mud in various patches so I’d recommend hiking boots, but it’s not overly excessive so don’t let that deter you. You will hit snow the final 1km where it also gets a bit more technical, so I would recommend Micro Spikes/Yak Tracks if you have them. The lake is frozen over still and mostly covered in snow. We didn’t see or hear of any bears. Have fun!

Hana D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 27 2020
HikingMuddy

rained out

View Hana's Recording
Vincent Fetterley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
HikingSnow
View Vincent's Recording
Co Gougeon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
HikingBugsMuddySnow

Hiked June 23 ‘20 Muddy from km 5 onwards. Once you break out of the tree line at km 7, the trail becomes hard to follow as there is still knee deep snow. We were able to follow others route before us as the mud marked the way for the first little bit. 500 meters from the lake, it becomes more of a route finding final climb up to the lake as you are then hiking on top of firm waist deep snow. Went through the snow a few times in the last couple meters up to the lake. Lake is still very frozen. *We could not cross the bridge to use the lake outhouse due to shin high water on the other side of the 21 Mile Creek bridge! **Highly recommend crampons and gore-tex shoes if you plan on going up to the lake with current snow levels. ———————————————————————— Worth noting, most of the steep elevation gain (but not technical) happens in the first 2.2km from the parking lot to the main trailhead gate. Easy hike for the rest of the way. Well marked with orange markers along the path.

Salvador Miranda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 18 2020
Hiking

I hiked the trail during a beautiful, crystal-clear day. The trail is in great condition, technically very easy, but keep in mind it's almost 9km with an 800m+ climb. There was still slushy snow for the last 2.5k, slowing down the advance. We followed the tracks of previous hikers, but with fresh snow it may be tricky to find the way, as there are not that many tree markers along the last section. Streams and waterfalls along the way increase the beauty of this hike, but once you get to the lake, it's simply breathtaking.

Mackenzie Skuce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 14 2020
HikingOver grownSnow

Completed on June 14th 2020 Great trail - super snowy past the 5k mark, got lost a few times because once you get around 1k to the lake the trail disappears (due to the lack of trail markers and the snow over top of landmarks). If hiking in the next month or so definitely use a map and GPS! Other than that the trail is very nice, not technical, with not much steep elevation after the first 2k. A part of the trail is extremely overgrown so look out for that!

Nick W.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 14 2020
HikingSnow

Bridges are in now. Nice trail. Still lots of snow from the 6km mark which can make staying on the trail a little tricky.

oliver gragtmans
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 26 2020
HikingBridge outOff trailSnow

After about halfway all solid ground is replaced with snow. Crampons recommended but not necessary. i completed it in shorts and hiking boots so definitely still doable. The Gin and tonic bridge hasn’t been put up for the summer yet and the snow bridges are melted. easy spot to Ford the river 40m downstream of suspension bridge. beautiful views and definitely a rewarding hike.

View oliver's Recording
Lindsay N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 18 2020
HikingBridge outSnow

Nice hike. Bridge was still out when we hiked, but there was a crossing a little ways downstream. Lake was still covered in snow though. Would recommend waiting until June.

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