Alta Lake Paddles


  • Difficulty – very easy in the morning, windy in the afternoon
  • Boat traffic – I haven’t seen motor boats on Alta Lake. I think they prefer the larger Green Lake.
  • View – great mountain views dotted with big expensive lakeside houses
  • Facilities – Lakeside Park and Rainbow Park have flush toilets, grass fields, and hiking options.
  • Overall score – 9/10.
Alta Lake.

Whistler features several beautiful lakes, Alta Lake being one of the most popular. With Rainbow Park, Blueberry Beach Park, Lakeside Park, and Wayside Park, Alta Lake has the most equipped and family-friendly beaches and access points for launching a paddleboard. It is also the start of the famed River of Golden Dreams paddle.

Due to the popularity, Lakeside, Wayside, and Rainbow Parks are quite busy on a good summer day. Plan to arrive early to claim a parking spot (before 11am should be sufficient).

Public dock and swimming area at Lakeside Park.

I have paddled on Alta Lake on 4 occasions. First was on an afternoon during a camping trip in 2019, when I was not a very strong paddler. I didn’t know it at the time, but the wind on Alta Lake picks up in the afternoon. I launched from Rainbow Park, and explored the marshes at the outlet of the lake and the start of the River of Golden Dreams, and found myself struggling against a head wind coming back. That was a good lesson about planning for wind directions.

On my second and third visits, we launched into Alta Lake and traversed down the River of Golden Dreams.

My fourth and most recent visit was during the weekend getaway with our friends Amy and Aaron. Aaron and I got up bright and early while the rest of the team were sleeping, and we arrived at Alta Lake around 8am. The water was completely calm and glassy. We launched from Lakeside Park and headed towards the protected cove near Wayside Park. It was perfect for Aaron’s first time on a paddleboard. After a few minutes of kneeling, he got on his feet and never fell in once!

The glassy calmness of Alta Lake in the morning.

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