Whistler Lakes Guide: The 5 Best Lakes in Whistler

Whistler is home to many beautiful landscapes, so of course there are many lakes in the area. I lived in Whistler for 5 years and have thoroughly explored everything Whistler has to offer! I’ve prepared a guide on the best lakes in Whistler to check out this summer. This guide features all of the best lakes that are easily accessible from Whistler Village.

Canoe on the shore of a lake.
Canoe docked up at Green Lake

Table of Contents:

How Many Lakes are There in Whistler?

Whistler has 5 large lakes nearby that are accessible by car and are also connected via the valley trail. Alta Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Lost Lake and Green Lake. It is possible to bike to each of these lakes via the Valley Trail system, you can also take public transit from Whistler Village.

Alta Lake Whistler

People hanging out by a whistler lake with mountains.
Alta Lake Whistler

Alta Lake is located 1.6km/1mi West of Whistler. It is a large lake that is frequented by locals and tourists alike. This is one of the largest lakes in Whistler. Alta Lake has four main parks that anyone can visit, other than these parks most of the shoreline is private property. Alta Lake is one of the best lakes in Whistler.

Blueberry Beach Park

Blueberry Beach Park is one of the lesser known parks on Alta Lake Whistler. This park is on the Northern tip of the lake and features a nice beach, a dock, and kayak rentals. From Whistler, head North on the Sea to Sky Highway and take a left onto Lorimer Road. Driving from Whistler takes 6-minutes and is 3km/2mi in each direction. You can also access Blueberry Beach Park by bike via the Valley Trail system. There is parking at this beach.

Rainbow Park Whistler

Rainbow Park is the larger of the three parks located on Alta Lake. It features a large park/picnic area, two beach volleyball courts, and a large sandy beach. There are also some floating docks you can swim out to and a few picnic tables. Rainbow park is the better option if you’re looking to play some games like Spikeball as there is far more room than Lakeside Park. There is also an off leash dog beach on this lake in Whistler.

Tourists at park with mountain backdrop.
Tourists at Rainbow Park – Alta Lake Whistler

Rainbow Park is more difficult to access from Whistler Village. It’s located on the other side of the lake and the only way to drive there is by heading North of Whistler and around the entire lake via Alta Lake Road. This trip takes 13-minutes and is 8km/5mi in each direction.

If you’re coming from Creekside you can start from the South end of Alta Lake Road and head North. From Creekside it takes 9-minutes and is 6km/4mi in each direction. You can still bike to Rainbow Park from Whistler or Creekside via the Valley Trail but again, it’s much farther than Lakeside park.

Mountains in Whistler.
View from Rainbow Park

In my opinion, Rainbow Park is the better park and it’s worth it to take the longer drive to get there. It’s one of the best Whistler Beaches and you’ll be greeted with stunning mountain views of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This makes for a prefect photo opportunity to show off your epic life! On weekends this place can fill up so don’t expect to have it all to yourself. There is a large parking lot at the entrance.

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Lakeside Park

Lakeside Park is the easiest park & swimming area on Alta Lake to access from Whistler Village. Head South on the Sea to Sky Highway and between Whistler & Creekside take a right onto Hillcrest Drive. The parking lot will be immediately on your right.

You can also walk or bike via the Whistler Valley Trail to this park, which is convenient for tourists who do not have a car. Lakeside park is a good area to hang out in the summer months, it has 2 docks, a small beach, and you can rent kayaks and Paddleboards on-site.

Snow capped mountains behind a lake.
View from Lakeside Park

Wayside Park

At the Southeast end of Alta Lake you will find Wayside Park. It’s a small park with a couple of docks and a grassy area to hang out on. This is the smallest park on the lake and is likely less busy than the others listed above. To get here just keep heading South from Lakeside Park and you’ll get here in a 2- minute bike ride. You can also drive here too, of course! There is a parking lot nearby.

Can You Swim In Alta Lake Whistler?

Yes, Alta Lake is perfect for swimming. Weather you’re at Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park, or another spot you can enjoy cooling off in the fresh water. Paddle boarding & kayaking around here is an awesome thing to do to explore the lake

Person diving into a lake.
Diving into Alta Lake Whistler

Nita Lake Whistler

Nita Lake is located just South of Alta Lake yet it’s much, much smaller. It’s located 3km/2mi Southwest from Whistler. There really isn’t a public area on Nita Lake. It’s all residential properties and the Nita Lake Lodge. So, unless you’re staying at the Nita Lake Lodge or know someone who lives on Nita Lake, the chances of swimming and relaxing here are slim. For that reason, I’d recommend skipping Nita Lake and heading to the nearby Alta or Alpha Lakes.

Alpha Lake Whistler

Alpha Lake is one of my favorite lakes in Whistler. It’s not a huge lake like Alta or Green Lake, but it’s good enough for all of your swimming and watersport needs! Alpha Lake is located South of Nita Lake and 10km/6mi Southwest of Whistler Village.

Paddle boards docked at a beach in Whistler Lakes
Paddleboarding at Alpha Lake

Alpha Lake Park is the main and only public park on Alpha Lake Whistler. To get here from the village, head South on the Sea to Sky Highway and turn right on Lake Placid Road. From Whistler the drive takes 7-minutes and is 5km/3mi in each direction.

Whistler Alpha Lake is also easily accessible via the Valley Trail system if you want to walk or bike from Whistler. If you’re in Creekside you’re in luck because this is the only lake located directly in Creekside. You can walk or bike there in minutes.

The park features a nice sandy beach, a dock, a tennis court, and a beach volleyball court. It has a large field to hang out in and even a fenced in dog park! You can rent kayaks and paddleboards here to further explore the lake. There is a small parking lot for Alpha Lake Park on Lake Placid Road.

Whistler Alpha Lake has more of a local feel to it, which makes you feel more like a local! I’d recommend checking out this lake and seeing it for yourself! Being a smaller lake, the temperature is much warmer than the larger lakes in the area, so swimming is optimal here. Alpha Lake, in my opinion, is the best lake in Whistler for swimming!

People floating on a Whistler lake.
Floating at Alpha Lake

Secret Swimming Spot on Alpha Lake

If you’re feeling ambitious, there’s a secret swimming spot on Alpha Lake. Head to the other side of Alpha Lake via Alta Lake Road and turn right onto Old Gravel Road. Park your car at the train tracks and walk until you reach the bridge. Without crossing the bridge turn right and you’ll quickly arrive at a small rock area where you can jump off the cliffs and go for a swim. But shh! You didn’t hear it from me!

Green Lake Whistler

Float plane taking off from a lake.
Green Lake Whistler

Green Lake is undoubtedly Whistler Blackcomb’s most photogenic lake. This is where all of the tourists come to take pictures of the deep green color and surrounding mountains. Green Lake wins the title as the most beautiful lake in Whistler hands down.

Green lake in whistler from the road.
Green Lake viewpoint

To get to Green Lake from Whistler, head North on the Sea to Sky Highway for 7-miutes (6km/4mi) and you’ll quickly arrive at Green Lake. The best view is right from the highway at the bus stop but you cannot swim at this location. You can also access Green Lake via the Valley Trail system.

Unfortunately, Green Lake is not the most tourist-friendly lake in Whistler. There’s only one park with good water access, Green Lake Park. Since most of the lake is owned by the railway, the majority of the shoreline is private property.

If you want a place you can drive to and chill, I’d recommend Green Lake Park or the nearby boat launch. You can hang out on the dock or chill on the small beach. There are kayak and paddleboard rentals available. Keep in mind that Green Lake is by far the coldest of the Whistler Lakes.

People canoeing on a lake.
Canoeing on Green Lake

If you happen to have a boat/kayak/paddle board or want to walk along the tracks for a while, there are some secret docks at the Northeast end of the lake. You can post up there and have the place to yourself.

Also in that area there are some good cliffs you can jump off. Other than that, Green Lake is best to just admire from the highway and take some photos. Green Lake is the best lake in Whistler to photograph the surrounding mountains.

Green Lake Whistler Parking

Parking at Green Lake can be tough, especially if it’s busy. The highway only has so much room on the shoulder for people to pull over and take photos, and Green Lake Park has a small parking lot. A lot of people park at the boat launch right on the road.

Lost Lake Whistler

Beach with calm water.
Lost Lake Park beach

Lost Lake is a small lake that’s located 2km/1mi East of Whistler Blackcomb. The Lost Lake Park features a nice sandy beach and a trail that goes all the way around the lake (the trail around is 2km/1mi).

If you just want to relax and swim, I’d suggest the main beach at the entrance. If you want some privacy head down the trail to the dock of the Northeast end of the lake. There is also a small beach between the main beach and the dock.

Mountains behind Whistler Lakes.
View at Lost Lake Whistler

If you want to get dropped off at Lost Lake Park you can get dropped off directly at the lake, but there is no parking available there, and you WILL get a ticket. If you’re driving to Lost Lake, you’re required to park at Day Lot 4 in Whistler Village and there is a free bus transfer service that goes between Whistler Village & Lost Lake Park. You can also bike or walk via the Valley Trail system.

Food Trucks at Whistler Lakes

During the summer season, Whistler has organized a food truck program. It runs every day from June 30th to September 3rd. Local food trucks are on a rotating schedule between Rainbow Park, Lost Lake Park, and Lakeside Park. Food trucks typically offer something different than regular restaurants, and having them show up directly at the beach is pretty cool!

What is the Largest Lake in Whistler?

The largest Lake in Whistler is Green Lake. It’s also the coldest and most beautiful.

Mountains towering over a lake.
Green Lake

What is the Warmest Lake in Whistler?

The warmest lake in Whistler is Alpha Lake. This is because it’s downstream of Alta & Nita Lakes, so the water has more time to warm up. It’s also the smallest Lake in Whistler.

Best Time to Visit the Whistler Lakes

The best time to go to a lake in Whistler is undoubtedly during the summer months of July & August. You can also head over and go for a swim in the spring between April & June, and in September. Outside these months there will likely still be snow on the ground.

Best Lakes in Whistler

If I had to narrow this list down to the 2 best lakes in Whistler, I’d say that Alpha Lake and Green Lake win it. With these two lakes you get the best of both worlds: A smaller, swimmable lake and a large picturesque lake. With that being said, if you have the time I’d strongly recommend you check out all of the lakes on this list!

Nearby Whistler Lakes & Tourist Spots

Snow capped mountain behind a glacier lake.
Rainbow Lake Whistler

Whistler is debatably the tourist capital of Canada. So, there’s an endless amount of activities to do that will suit any traveler. If you’re into the outdoors I’d suggest checking out some waterfalls near whistler such as Brandywine Falls, Alexander Falls & Rainbow Falls.

Some other Lakes in Whistler that require hiking into are Rainbow Lake, Iceberg Lake and Garibaldi Lake.

If you want to get out into the mountains and explore then check out some of the amazing hikes in Pemberton like Semaphore Lakes & Wedge Mountain.

Vancouver Island Guides

Calm lake in Whistler
Alpha Lake

Whistler Lakes Tips & Suggestions

  • Pack Accordingly: The weather in Whistler is seasonal. If you’re visiting in the summer and it’s hot outside, I’d still bring a sweater if you plan on heading into the mountains to a higher elevation.
  • Rent a Bike: There are a few spots in Whistler you can rent bikes, E-bikes, and scooters. It’s a good way to explore the valley trail system and cruise around the village.
  • Go to Whistler Peak: Weather you’re visiting in winter or summer, take the gondola up to the top of Whistler peak to enjoy some spectacular views of the Coastal Mountain range.
  • Use Maps.Me: This is an offline maps app that has helped me tremendously during my travels. If there’s no cell service during your trip you’ll still always have access to your maps and custom pins.

Whistler Lakes Packing List

Final Thoughts

Whistler has an endless amount of beauty both on and off the beaten track. I hope this guide helped you narrow down which lake in Whistler you want to visit. If you have any questions about the Whistler Lakes or Canada in general, drop me a comment below and I’d be happy to help you out.

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