The other side of Whistler
I've done a fair number of hikes in the Garibaldi Provincial Park (East
of the highway) but not a lot to the west - just Brandwine
meadows. Rainbow lake is one of the few options
available. Helen has done this hike before and said it wasn't too
bad so on fine Saturday morning, we got packed up and went for it.
It isn't a short hike up - the day is in the order of
16km. On the plus side, it's pretty steady up (rather than
scrambles) and while the trail isn't in a provincial park, the forest
service did once spend a lot of money building a good trail.
Sadly, that was a while ago and the boardwalks have started to
collapse. I was kind of hoping the Olympics would bring an influx
of money for this kind of work, but given the trail is under snow in
the winter, I doubt it.
What this trail does have though is some pretty
fantastic bridges. These bridges are maintained (and
necessary). There are a number of substantial streams and without
good bridges, you would be in trouble.
The wildflowers weren't bad. Even though there was some snow in
places, we didn't see much evidence of the glacier/avalanche lily
blooms we saw earlier in the year at Rainier. There weren't
fields of flowers like Garibaldi, but you would find pockets hidden in
Most lakes around here have outfalls and it's not that
rare that you approach via the outfall water source. Of the local
lakes I've seen, this one has the most dramatic waterfall fed directly
by a lake. There is effectivly a solid stone dam holding in this
lake and the waterfall is over the lowest part of the dam. As the
waterfall wears down, the lake level will drop with it.
Ultimatly, the lake was a bit of a disappointment. The lake is
still mostly covered with ice. In a few windows you could see the
colours below and you could imagine the colours this lake could
make. The meadows around still had substantial snow, but again
you could imagine nice flowery meadows in a few weeks. Sadly, we
were just too early - in August. It was a heavy snow year.
Walking down is sometimes like seeing a movie for the second time - you
know all of the major plot points. This hike down (quite close to
the start/end) had a bit of a surprise - a nice view of the Whistler
Valley. We stood for a few minutes, knowing our knees would be
hurting the next morning, and took in the view.
One last push and were were down at the car wondering which 7-11 to go
visit for our much deserved slurpies. Thanks Helen and
Tags: hiking(6), flower(3), lake(3), meadow(2), alpine(2), bridge(2)
People: Mark(3), Helen(2), John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Hiking > Rainbow Lake
Last Modified Saturday, January 21st, 2023 at 23:45:22 Edit
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