Elevation Gain
910.00 m (2,985.56 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
16.00 km (9.94 mi)
Warming hut
No
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For most people, winter in Whistler evokes images of the amazing powder in one of the continent's largest inbound ski resorts. But there is more to Whistler than the resort; just look across the valley and you'll find the lightly-traveled snowshoe trail to Rainbow Lake.

Before you drive to the trailhead, be aware that this trail is not marked or maintained for winter and crosses avalanche terrain. Be sure to bring a beacon and some form of navigational aid. The trail starts with a zig-zagging climb up from the creek at the trailhead. After a few hundred meters the singletrack trail exits the forest and opens onto an access road. The easy travelling on the wide road provides ample opportunity to take in the snow-laden spruces and firs that line the steep slopes rising up on either side.

Shortly after passing an outhouse and barrier across the access road, the trail deviates uphill and back into the trees and continues meandering uphill though the regrowth forest. This section provides subtle variety with a range of creek crossings, a boulder field, and views of both the emerging peaks above and the rushing creek below.

The trail emerges from the forest into a broad open meadow shortly after passing by the halfway outhouse and suspension bridge. The sparseness of the winter meadow means unobstructed views in all directions, including Mount Sproatt to the south, Gin Peak to the west, and spectacular views of Rainbow Lake and the surrounding mountains to the north.

There is one last technical ascent to the lake through the meadow, and this requires crossing the creek outflowing from Rainbow Lake. Assess the conditions on the day to determine the most appropriate place to cross the creek, then continue along the northern side of the creek for 400 meters until you reach the lake.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Scenery. Views. Accessibility.

Cons

Route-finding skills required.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

2,165.35 ft (660.00 m)

Highest point

4,829.40 ft (1,472.00 m)

Features

Family friendly
Near lake or river
Wildlife
Vault toilet
Waterfalls

Typically multi-day

No

Groomed trail

No

Snowmobiles allowed

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Squamish-Lillooet Area, British Columbia
Squamish-Lillooet Area, British Columbia

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