The Ultimate Guide to the 5 Lakes Near Whistler
Summer in Whistler is awesome — hands-down. The sun is shining, the days are long, and you’re in a world-class mecca of outdoor adventure. But beyond biking and hiking, we want to bring your attention to the lakes in Whistler.
The locals know it all too well. When the temperatures start to soar, the only place to be is on the beaches of Whistler. And that means heading to one of the five pristine lakes.
Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Alta Lake, Lost Lake and Green Lake all live within a few kilometres of Whistler Village, Venture a little further afield, and you’ll find yet more, including secluded, glacier-fed Cheakamus Lake.
So while you’re grabbing your swimsuit, towel, BBQ and inflatable boat (a Whistler must-have), take a minute to explore all the different lakes near Whistler for dogs, kids, boats, and parks.
Lost Lake, Whistler is a hidden paradise in the summer months.
There’s a great park with all the amenities you’ll need. There are bathrooms, water fountains and an outdoor shower to clean off after your swim. Plenty of picnic benches and BBQ stands make this a perfect location for a cookout.
And your four-legged friends will be happy too because there’s an off-leash dog park right there too.
How to Get to Lost Lake
One of the most easily accessible lakes in Whistler, Lost Lake, is just a 20-minute walk from the village. From Marketplace, you can’t miss it if you follow the well-signposted valley trail.
Better yet, take your bike. We’d definitely recommend leaving the car at home, as parking is limited (seriously). For families and those with accessibility needs, there’s a free shuttle bus that runs from the village every 15 minutes all summer.
Check out our full guide to the Valley Trail here.
Lost Lake Highlights
- Mountain Biking Mecca: There are miles of world-class cross-country mountain bike trails surrounding the lake. Get your legs working, your heart pumping, and the sweat dripping. That plunge in the lake will feel oh-so-good afterwards.
- Whistler’s Best Food Trucks: Throughout the summer, Lost Lake plays host to some of the best food trucks in Whistler. Barely 100 metres from the beach, you’ll find tasty treats and refreshing drinks that the whole family will love.
- The Warmest Water in Whistler: Ensconced in the dense forests, the relatively small lake is one of the quickest to warm up in the summer. Because it isn’t glacier-fed, it’s one of the best places for a dip.
When we think about all the beaches of Whistler, we always come back to the sandy beach at Alpha Lake.
It has everything you can dream up for an epic sunny summer beach day. This lake is home to not one but two parks: Alpha Lake Park and Pine Point Park.
Alpha Lake, Whistler has a beach area, docks, volleyball, tennis and basketball courts (all free for use, by the way). Do you slackline? It has a space for that too. Check out more free tennis options here.
If you are visiting with a big crew of kids, Alpha also has a big playground and jungle gym, picnic tables and BBQ areas. Bring your pups as well, as Alpha Lake boasts an excellent off-leash dog park.
How to Get to Alpha Lake
This is the southernmost lake in Whistler, located just below Nita Lake Lodge. Should you want to walk or bike, the Valley Trail loops along the shoreline of Alpha Lake, which means you can get here easily from Whistler or Creekside Village.
If you are driving, turn off towards Nita Lake Lodge (Lake Placid Road) from Highway 99. Parking is limited, but you’ll find it along at the end of Lake Placid Drive.
Alpha Lake Highlights
- Super Dog Friendly: If you have arrived in Whistler with your furry friend, Alpha Lake boasts not just a gravel off-leash dog park but a designated dog dock! Help your dog cool off on hot summer days with a few hours spent splashing around here.
- Summer Sports: If you love a little competition and getting a sweat worked up, Alpha lake serves a host of facilities for your sporting needs. This is your destination for tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts.
- Canoe, Paddle Board, and Float: Alpha Lake, Whistler is one of our favourite lakes for floating or a gentle paddle. It’s large, has lots of shorelines to explore, and has easy shore access.
Nita Lake in Whistler is a small and often overlooked gem. It’s located on the western side of Creekside Village and is perhaps most famous for the spectacular Nita Lake Lodge.
Park at Creekside and walk over, or arrive via the Valley Trail by bike. This small lake near Whistler has a dock, a small pebble beach, and a cute picnic area.
If you love to fly fish, you are in luck. Nita lake is stocked with rainbow trout, and whether you fish from shore or belly boat it, you are sure to catch something.
How to Get to Nita Lake
Park at Creekside underground parkade for free, and cross Highway 99. Heading to Nita Lake Lodge. Taking transit? Take the #10, #20 or #25 bus south from Whistler Village, and jump off at the first stop or third in Creekside.
Of course, like all the lakes around Whistler, you can also pedal (or walk) her along the Valley Trail.
Nita Lake Highlights
- Nita Lake Lodge: One of the most fabulous accommodations in Whistler, Nita Lake Lodge sits on the shores of this lake. Most rooms have a spectacular lake view, all have a fireplace, and there is even an onsite hot tub, pool, and spa.
- Great Destination Along the Valley Trail: Walking or biking your way through Whistler and Creekside? The Valley Trail meanders along the shore of Nita Lake, with a pit stop at a small tranquil park.
- A Quiet Place for Fly Fishing: The easter shore of Nita Lake, accessed via the Valley Trail, is perfect for fly fishing. This small lake is a surprisingly good spot for trout.
Green Lake lives up to its name and wins the award for the prettiest lake in Whistler. That’s thanks to its stunning turquoise colour, which gets brighter throughout the summer.
There are a few different spots to explore Green Lake. About halfway up the west side of the lake along Highway 99, the small park has docks, washrooms, and picnic tables.
There’s also a boat launch here, and it’s an excellent spot for fishing.
How to Get to Green Lake
Green Lake sits just north of Whistler Village. In your car, head north on Highway 99 and drive for 10 minutes.
Soon, you’ll see the lake sparkling to your right-hand side, flanked by Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. There’s a pullout on the side of the highway where you can park up and head down to the park.
If you’re on foot or bike, follow the Valley Trail north from the village. You’ll pop out at the south end of the lake by Nicklaus North Golf Club. You can explore the lake from here or follow the trail a little longer along the shore to reach the park.
Green Lake Highlights
- Float the River of Golden Dreams: The best way to reach Green Lake is via the River of Golden Dreams. This fast-flowing river connects Alta Lake and Green Lake. You can canoe, kayak or paddleboard between them – there are plenty of rentals available at Alta Lake.
- Go Fish: Green Lake boasts some of Whistler’s best fishing for Rainbow and Bull Trout, as well as one of the best backdrops. Read our guide to fly-fishing in Whistler to get a better idea of what to expect, and make sure you get a licence to fish before you go
- The Best Patio Views in Whistler: Nicklaus North Golf Club, on the south end of Green Lake, has got to be one of the most desirable spots in Whistler. Their patio gets the evening sun, and you’ll be perfectly situated to admire the alpenglow on the surrounding mountains.
Alta Lake & Rainbow Park
Close to the heart of the village, Rainbow Park is one of the liveliest, most vibrant places to catch some rays in Whistler. The beach boasts plenty of swimming docks and picnic tables.
You’re likely to meet some friendly locals there. Food trucks and a concession stand to keep everyone fed and watered, and there’s a dog-friendly private beach here too.
How to Get to Rainbow Park
Rainbow Park is on the west side of Alta Lake, but it’s easy to reach. There is parking available, so you can drive up to Alta Lake Road and park if needs be.
But the best way to arrive is by bike on the valley trail, either from Creekside or Whistler village. It’s a leisurely cycle and won’t take long.
Or better yet, for the ambitious, rent a canoe or paddleboard on the other side of the lake at Lakeside Park and paddle your way over to the park.
Rainbow Park Highlights
- Perfect BBQ and Picnic Location: With its spacious park, long beach and plenty of sunshine, Rainbow Park is the best place to BBQ in Whistler. Bring all your friends and family and take over a picnic bench or two for the whole day.
- Stop by on a Bike Tour of Whistler: Why not rent bikes and head off for a full-day adventure? Cycle from the village south to Creekside, then loop around the south of the lake and head back up the far shore to Rainbow Park.
- Best Views of Whistler and Blackcomb: Its prime location gives Rainbow Park one advantage over all the other lakes in Whistler: the view. Spend a day there, and you’ll get to know the contours of Whistler and Blackcomb.
Bonus Feature: Cheakamus Lake
For an authentic Canadian backcountry experience while still staying close to civilization, Cheakamus Lake is a great choice.
This enormous, sparkling blue lake is fed by the Cheakamus Glacier, which towers over the far end of the lake. Apart from some backcountry campsites (with very basic bathrooms), there’s not much here.
What it lacks in amenities, though, it makes up for in sheer beauty and the tiny number of people you’ll find here.
So bring your lunch, plenty of water, and pack out everything you pack in. And remember you’re in bear country, so get prepared by reading our guide to living happily with Whistler’s bears.
How to Get to Cheakamus Lake
This one takes a bit more effort, but it’s worth it. Drive 10 minutes south of Whistler village, and head towards Cheakamus. There, you’ll hit the Cheakamus Forest Service Road.
A 4×4 is best, but most cars can get up here if you take it slow. A few miles up the road, you’ll hit the Cheakamus Lake carpark. From there, you’ll be under your own steam. It’s about a 4km, gentle hike to the first beach or 8km to the second.
For what it’s worth, we think it’s worth the long walk for the chance to have the lesser-known beach all to yourselves.
Cheakamus Lake Highlights
- Classic Canadian Lake Views: With relatively little effort, Cheakamus Lake rewards you with some of the best views in Whistler. The scale of the lake is awe-inspiring. The colour doesn’t quite look real. Plus, you’re surrounded by towering, ice-capped peaks. Not a bad spot for a photoshoot, we’d say.
- Escape the Crowds: Because there are so many beautiful lakes in Whistler, the ones that require some effort tend to escape the crowds. Sharing these awe-inspiring views with just your nearest and dearest is a pretty special experience.
- Accessible Backcountry Camping: If you want to take it to the next level, why not camp here? If you do plan to camp, make sure you’re prepared with the right gear, maps and knowledge before you head out: you are in the backcountry here, even if it’s close to Whistler.
For more great camping trips, check out our guide to some of Whistler’s best camping spots.
The Best Lakes and Beaches of Whistler
While we’re an adventurous crowd in Whistler, we love to relax as much as the next person. And we have to say; we’ve got some pretty great options for a lazy summer day.
A lake day in a Whistler is a must-do summer activity that everyone will love.
Some lakes in Whistler are a stone’s throw from Whistler Village. Others might take a quick drive or cycle to reach. But every lake in Whistler is an adventure for picnics, families, and cool alpine water dips.