Beat the Heat by the Lake this Summer

A Guide to Whistler's Lakes

Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

Credit: Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

As temperatures rise and the sun shines all day, there's no better way to spend your Whistler vacation this summer than by the lake. With a variety of lakes and parks to choose from, Whistler offers something for everyone. Whether you're visiting with family, on a trip with your friends, or seeking lakeside activities, the lakes will be the highlight of your vacation this summer. Unsure which lake is best for you? Dive into this guide to four of Whistler's most popular lakes nestled in the mountains.


Alta Lake

Alta Lake, Whistler's second-largest lake, offers three beautiful parks to explore, making it an essential destination for your summer trip to Whistler. Situated south of the main village, the Alta Lake Parks provide everything you need for a perfect day by the lake.

Lakeside Park

Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mark Mackay

Lakeside Park offers a spacious and inviting environment with a large grassy area, swimming docks, and a convenient concession stand providing food and drinks. For those interested in paddling adventures, there's a canoe and kayak rental company located right in the park, making it easy to explore the lake or embark on a journey down the River of Golden Dreams. Lakeside Park allows for both relaxation and outdoor activities, offering amenities that cater to families and individuals looking to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of Whistler.

Getting There:

To reach Lakeside Park, it's a quick 6-minute drive from the Summit Lodge or a pleasant 10-15 minute bike ride. Pay parking is available at Lakeside Park for $2 per hour, with more spots compared to some other lakes, though biking along the valley trail is recommended due to limited parking availability.

For added convenience, free public transit buses operate on weekends, providing transportation to the Alta Vista neighborhood, just a 5-minute walk from Lakeside Park. This option makes it easy for visitors to access the park without worrying about parking.

Rainbow Park

Rainbow Park, newly renovated to enhance visitor experience, is the ultimate family destination this summer. With upgraded docks, wheelchair accessibility, and additional shade, it offers a comfortable and inclusive environment for all. This park features newly designed beach volleyball courts, numerous picnic tables, and a dedicated dog beach complete with a dock, perfect for enjoying the lake with your furry companions. Rainbow Park stands out as a vibrant and family-friendly hub for summer activities, offering a blend of relaxation and recreation against the picturesque backdrop of Whistler's natural beauty.

Please note that while Rainbow Park has undergone extensive improvements, the food truck zone and train tracks area will continue to undergo construction until the Fall of 2024.

Getting There:

Getting to Rainbow Park is convenient, with just a 10-minute drive from the Summit Lodge or a 15-minute bike ride. Due to limited parking availability, it's recommended to bike or take advantage of the free shuttle service from the village. Pay parking is in effect daily from 10am to 6pm between May 15 and September 15, priced at $2 per hour. For cyclists, there's a free bike valet service at the park during the summer months, providing secure storage for your bike while you enjoy the lake and its amenities.

During weekends and holidays from June 29 to September 2, a free shuttle runs every 15-20 minutes from 11am to 7pm, picking up at Gondola Transit Exchange or Olympic Plaza Bus Stop, close by to the Summit Lodge. The shuttle is wheelchair accessible, ensuring accessibility for all visitors.

Wayside Park

Wayside Park, situated south of Whistler near Creekside, offers a serene and less crowded alternative to other parks in the area. While it may be small, it provides a peaceful retreat with its amenities and natural surroundings. At Wayside Park, you'll find a small beach and grassy area perfect for relaxing, along with a dock and rentals for canoes and paddleboards. Whistler Eco Tours, the watercraft operator at Wayside Park, operates daily from mid-June to Labour Day, offering opportunities for guided tours and rentals. These amenities allow visitors to enjoy various water activities throughout their stay.

Getting There:

Due to limited parking, it's advisable to either ride your bike along the valley trail or park in Creekside and take a short walk to the park. Wayside Park is conveniently located just 5 minutes past Lakeside on the valley trail.

Parking at Wayside Park is available for $2 per hour, ensuring easy access for those driving to the park. For those staying at the Summit Lodge, it's a quick 7-minute drive or a 15-minute bike ride to reach Wayside Park, making it an accessible destination for a day of outdoor enjoyment and relaxation.

Alpha Lake

Continuing past Wayside Park, you'll encounter Nita Lake and eventually arrive at Alpha Lake Park, a fantastic destination for families and anyone seeking a day of lakeside activities. Alpha Lake Park offers a wide range of amenities, including a beach volleyball court, playground, tennis court, and basketball hoop. During the summer months, visitors can also enjoy food options from the concession and food trucks. Alpha Lake Park features Arfa Park, a fully gated dog park complete with a dock for dogs who love to play fetch in the lake.

Getting There:

Alpha Lake is an 8-minute drive from Summit Lodge or a 20-minute bike ride along the valley trail. Parking at Alpha Lake Park is available with limited spots at $2 per hour during the summer season. For those using public transit, you can take the #10, #20, or #25 BC Transit bus south to the Alta Vista stop, followed by a short 5-minute walk to Alpha Lake.

Lost Lake

Lost Lake, nestled near Whistler Village, offers a serene escape amidst the woods, making it feel like a secluded oasis despite its proximity. It's the smallest lake in the area but boasts a tranquil atmosphere that's perfect for relaxation and outdoor activities. Lost Lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with its extensive network of over 25km of multi-use trails, ideal for hiking, running, and mountain biking before or after a refreshing lake visit. During the summer season, visitors can enjoy refreshments from a food concession open daily, with the addition of food trucks.

For dog owners, Canine Cove dog beach, located just 400 metres past the main beach, provides a designated off-leash area where your furry friends can cool off and enjoy a swim. Please note that dogs are not permitted at the main beach during the summer months.

Getting There:

Getting to Lost Lake is convenient, whether by a 7-minute drive from the Summit Lodge, a 10-15 minute bike ride, or a leisurely 20-minute walk along the scenic gravel path. Parking is limited to drop-off and pick-up only, but a free bike valet service operates on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, ensuring your bike is safe while you enjoy the lake.

For added convenience, a free shuttle operates on weekends and holidays from June 29 to September 2, running every 10-20 minutes between 11am and 7pm. The shuttle picks up from Gondola Transit Exchange or Olympic Plaza Bus Stop, making it easy to access Lost Lake without worrying about parking.

Green Lake

Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Green Lake is a stunning destination renowned for its emerald hue and breathtaking mountain backdrop. Although its glacier-fed waters are notably chilly, making it less suitable for swimming, Green Lake offers a refreshing escape on hot summer days. Surrounding the lake is a picturesque valley trail perfect for leisurely strolls and capturing memorable photos. Popular among wakeboarders and water-skiers, Green Lake provides ample opportunities for water activities with its boat launch and floatplane dock. Its natural beauty, accentuated by the striking green hue of its waters and the majestic mountains framing the scene, makes Green Lake one of Whistler's most scenic and captivating spots to visit.

Getting There:

Just a short walk from the Nicklaus North Golf Course, you will find Fitzsimmons Park, also known as the Spit, which boasts a sandy beach and is an important shorebird nesting area.

Located 7.5km north of Whistler in the Emerald neighborhood, Green Lake Park features a secluded beach area ideal for a quick dip. Both parks have parking close by but are most easily accessed by the biking or walking along the valley trail.

Spending the day lakeside in the mountains is a truly unbeatable experience. Whether you're seeking a swim in the lake, a game of beach volleyball, or simply want to gaze at the stunning mountain views, Whistler's lakes offer something for everyone!