7 Whistler Lakes In 7 Days: Local’s Guide To A Lake For Every Day Of The Week

Monday: Stand on top of the world above Garibaldi Lake, Whistler

Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park

The best viewpoint of Garibaldi Lake is from Panorama Ridge. The trail is a full day’s hike (8-10 hours) and starts at Rubble Creek, just 30 mins south of Whistler. It’s one of the most recognizable and phenomenal views in the region.

Why we love it: Camping is allowed in Garibaldi Provincial Park. So if you don’t fancy the lengthy 30km trek all in one day, pack your tent and spend a night in the wilderness under a blanket of stars.

Must-haves: Good hiking shoes, plenty of food and plenty of water. On such long hikes always take water purification tablets for if you run out of fresh water (can be purchased from Escape Route, 1 mins walk from the hotel). If you’re staying over night make sure you know how to store your food correctly so you don’t attract bears and other wildlife, know what to do if you see a bear, always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and grab a Whistler backcountry hiking map from Armchair Books, in the village.

Tuesday: Be part of history at Alta Lake, Whistler

Alta Lake Rainbow Park

Alta Lake is the origin of Whistler as we know it – home to the town’s first residents, Alex and Myrtle Phillip, who arrived by horseback in 1911. The Whistler valley – then known just as Alta Lake – was home to a handful of trappers, prospectors, and loggers. Since then, this same view of the Whistler (right) and Blackcomb (left) mountains has been enjoyed by millions of people over the last 104 years.

There are a number of beaches and docks along Alta Lake, but we recommend Rainbow Park if you have a car or bike, and Wayside Park or Lakeside Park if you’re taking the bus.

Why we love it: Look at the view. Need we say more?

Good to know: Alta Lake is sometimes mistakenly called Rainbow Lake, because of beautiful Rainbow Park on the east shore. If you hear someone refer to Rainbow Lake, they probably mean Rainbow Park on Alta Lake.

Local tip: Pick up breakfast and a coffee from Purebread on the village stroll. It’s just a one minute walk from the hotel and has the best breakfast pastries and treats in town.

Wednesday: Practice your doggy paddle at Lost Lake, Whistler

Dog beach lost lake whistler

Lost Lake is loved by our guests because it’s only a 10 minute cycle from the steps of the hotel and is home to one of the best dog beaches in town, “Barking Bay”. In the summer we recommend borrowing one of our free rental bikes for a lap of the Lost Lake Loop and then taking a dip off one of the docks to cool off.

Why we love it: Even though it’s so close to the village Lost Lake is a secluded paradise. Hidden away in the forest, Lost Lake gained its name because it can only be seen from the water’s edge and from the sky.

Local tip: Fill the basket on your bike with a to-go lunch from the Green Moustache cafe, across the street from the hotel. We love the Buddha Bowl salad and their homemade vegan brownies!

Thursday: Watch the float planes at Green Lake, Whistler

Whistler Air Seaplane dockon Green Lake

Green Lake is north of Whistler village and is where Harbour Air lands their Vancouver – Whistler float plane trips. There are few places to watch the float planes from but our favourites are: the Nicklaus North Golf Club restaurant patio, and from a canoe, kayak or paddleboard on the lake.

Why we love it: Most visitors don’t know that you can actually paddle from Alta Lake to Green Lake via the River of Golden Dreams – another bucket-list item.

Locals Tip: If you’re an experienced paddler, rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard and set-off along the River of Golden Dreams around 7pm – 8pm. This is when the mountains are at their best in the warm evening light, and it’s also when you’ll have the greatest chance of seeing beavers along the shore.

Friday: Have lunch in the alpine meadows above Cheakamus Lake, Whistler

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High Note trail is one of the most popular alpine trails on Whistler Blackcomb because of the view down to Cheakamus Lake. The 9.5km roundtrip and takes about 3-4 hours, and the trail starts from Whistler peak. As it wraps around the backside of the mountain past the “musical bumps” (Harmony, Flute and Oboe) you’ll get incredible mountain views of Black Tusk and over Garibaldi Provincial Park, before descending back to the Whistler gondola.

Why we love it: There are many ways to enjoy the Whistler lakes, but you definitely get a greater appreciation of their sheer scale from up above.

How to get there: To access the alpine view you will need a sightseeing ticket for Whistler Blackcomb. This will get you up the gondola to the top of Whistler where the High Note trail begins. Before you set off, you can pick-up lunch at the on-mountain restaurant, the Roundhouse Lodge.

Saturday: Soak up the great Canadian wilderness at Joffre Lakes, Pemberton

Joffre Lakes Whistler

Joffre has 3 magical glacial lakes and the first one is just 5 mins walk from the parking lot. This hike is a favourite with travellers and locals who want to experience the backcountry but from a well-marked and well-maintained official BC Parks hiking trail. It’s one of the top 3 bucket-list hikes in Whistler.

Why we love it: Joffre Lakes is a dog-friendly hike – but they must be kept on a leash out of respect for local wildlife. Sadly, most of the most visually impressive hikes in Whistler are not dog-friendly because they lay within the boundaries of the Garibaldi Provincial Park, making Joffre the only dog-friendly hike of its kind in Whistler.

P.S. did you know that dogs always stay for free with us, too? So there’s no excuse not to take them to Joffre Lakes with you!

How to get there: The Joffre Lakes trail is on the outskirts of Mount Currie along the Duffy Road, a one hour drive north of Whistler. For detailed directions, take a look at our other Joffre Lakes post from the winter or visit our favourite hiking resource, WhistlerHiatus.com.

Sunday: Afternoon tea and cake at Callaghan Lake, Whistler

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Callaghan Lake is the perfect way to end an energetic week of exploring in Whistler – you can pretty much drive all the way in and just enjoy the view. It’s a great one for if you’re heading south back to Vancouver and fancy squeezing in a few last moments of idyllic wilderness. Although you can drive all the way in, there are a couple of rough hiking trails that start from the parking lot and campground. If you’re feeling adventurous follow the trail on the right (if you’re looking at the lake). It will work its way to the far side of the lake and meet the steep backcountry trail to Cirque Lake – some bushwhacking required.

Why we love it: If you have boat or paddleboard you can float your camping gear out to the island in the middle of the lake for a night of pure solitude.

Local Tip: Before you go, visit the Whistler Tea House across the street from the hotel to fill-up your travel mug with delicious tea and grab some locally made cakes to enjoy at the water’s edge. If you do take snacks to the lake, please always pack-out what you pack-in. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories!

As always we’d love to see your photos and hear your stories. Please share them with us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram or in comments below.

Happy hiking!