4.11 out of 5 - 28 reviews

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Christine from Fort Langley writes:

Hiked to the lake Oct 8th
Great trail, the fall leaves were spectacular. The meadows were especially lovely. We are intermediate hikers and it took us 3 hours to get to the lake with lots of photo and water breaks. No bear or bug sightings!

  • Rainbow Lake photo
  • Rainbow Lake photo
  • Rainbow Lake photo

    Posted: October 8, 2023 08:30:24 PM PST

    Will Howie from Vancouver writes:

    Hiked Rainbow Lake July 9. Basically no snow left on the trail. The lake was thawing, and it was beautiful. Fantastic hike: well maintained trail, and very serene. I would advise bringing bug spray: there were a lot of mosquitos until we reached the alpine section of the trail. Round trip was 5 hours, including a short rest at the lake.

    • Rainbow Lake photo

      Posted: July 10, 2021 06:51:36 AM PST

      Melanie Grisse from North Vancouver writes:

      I am wondering if there is still snow on the trail at the moment (July 2021)? Thanks!

        Posted: July 1, 2021 10:18:10 AM PST

        Kevin Boyle from Vancouver writes:

        Got started on the trail at 9 and made the lake 11:15 going at a pretty relaxed pace. The ranger has done a great job on the trail, it's very clear all the way to the lake. There was a Grizzly spotted recently so bring bear spray and make yourself known when approaching blind corners. We saw some black bear poo but no sign of the big fella. Beautiful up at the lake, no swimming because it feeds into Whistlers water supply. Some online reviews grade this as a difficult hike, the two of us thought that it was more intermediate (during full sun August). She's a beauty.

          Posted: August 15, 2020 07:13:30 PM PST

          Rose from Vancouver writes:

          We did this day hike yesterday (May 8, 2020). Within 1-2 km after the trailhead, the trail was snow-covered. It was a steady climb most of the way and crampons/spikes were a must. Although it was not too bad with crampons/spikes, the snow was very deep, and after a certain point, we were sinking into the snow with each step. Snowshoes are highly recommended and probably more preferable for the majority of the hike at this time of year. The trail is beautiful and it is especially nice to see all the trees, hear the rushing water when crossing the streams, and see the snow-covered mountains in the open areas of the trail. Be careful when crossing the bridges and creeks because the snow is melting and certain areas have deep pockets that are unstable and melting away. Rainbow lake was snow-covered, but if you are feeling ambitious, you can hike an additional 2 km past this lake and camp at Hanging Lake (where some people were clearly headed with full packs/gear). At this time of year, with crampons/spikes, expect 4 hrs to Rainbow lake and a 2.5 hr return. We took an hour lunch break at the lake and enjoyed soaking in the warm sun and snowy mountain views. We brought our water filter and got a taste of the fresh lake water too! There was a clean and well maintained outhouse at the start of the trail and also at the lake. Overall it is an excellent and quiet hike at this time of year. It is well worth it if you are prepared with snowshoes or crampons, waterproof boots and gators. 

            Posted: May 10, 2020 10:47:38 AM PST

            Karin from Vancouver writes:

            Great day hike. Rather steep trail with almost no flat parts, but well maintained and easy to find. No bears sighted on July 14. Beautiful hike through the forest with several creek crossings (on bridges). Bring a warm layer as the lake is cold = cool winds. We finished in 6 h, with a long lunch break at the top. Great alpine views!

              Posted: July 15, 2019 02:53:33 PM PST

              Tracy from Surrey BC writes:

              Fantastic hike. Did this June 30. Trail is 99.9% snow free.. Smal 6 foot patch or two near the top. The sign board advised of a mother sow and her two baby cubs at the 5km mark for the past week. We started watching around that point, and after seeing some fresh scat on the trail, sure enough she was right on the side of the trail with her cubs about the 5.3km mark. Took us about 5 minutes to get her to leave by clapping and making sounds - stayed about 60 feet back. Babies were so cute! All in all, fabulous hike, lots of spots that open up into pretty views and meadows and gorgeous lake at the top. 3:55 to the top and back not including lunch at the top.

                Posted: July 5, 2019 03:08:03 PM PST

                SF from North Van writes:

                The trail is very much covered in snow. The last 4.5 km are snow; the slippery kind. First stretch of the trail is dry and clear.

                  Posted: May 21, 2019 07:59:54 PM PST

                  Taylor from Maple Ridge writes:

                  The first forest portion of the hike was a bit tedious but nothing too intense. Beautiful look out points along the entire hike. Very rewarding view and would highly recommend hiking the extra 2.2km to the smaller lake beyond Rainbow Lake for a quick swim as you are unable to swim in Rainbow Lake. Bring bug spray!

                    Posted: July 22, 2018 10:21:03 PM PST

                    Henry from Burnaby writes:

                    Super nice trail. I would recommend. Absolutely no more snow on the trail up to the lake. The forest portion while a bit long is fairly easy and really helped me keeping cool in today’s super hot weather.

                    A few good views along the way, including the falls, many streams and a few good small bridges.

                    Would recommend to bring a minimum of 2 litres of water on you way up. And perhaps you should consider a bug spray for the lower portion. While there were not many mosquitos, the very small little devils were able to get a good sample of my blood!

                    Once arrived at the lake, the view is amazing, the area relaxing and many nice benches to sit for a quick snack or lunch. On a hit day, consider going an extra few km so to be able to cool off in the lake as bathing at rainbow is not permissible.

                      Posted: July 15, 2018 07:33:52 PM PST

                      Jen from Port Ludlow writes:

                      It was a very nice trail. Kudos to the people who maintain it! My only complaint is about dogs on the trial. We chose this in part due to dogs not being allowed. Every sign we passed clearly stated NO DOGS. However, we passed 2 parties with dogs, both of which were running loose unleashed. One dog owner respectfully leashed her dog but the other responded with her middle finger. Some people don't get that rules are for everyone, not just for those who choose to respect them.

                        Posted: July 3, 2018 03:48:31 PM PST

                        Eric Louie from Rocklin,California writes:

                        Hiked trail on June 28 with wife and two boys. We are athletic and in very good shape but it still took us 2.5 hours to go up the 5.25 miles from parking lot to lake. We were the first to the lake today and observed an area still full of snow. We were equipped with good hiking shoes and warm gear as it was cold at the lake. We saw numerous people in sneakers when we were coming down and have no idea how they could go through the 1/2 mile of all snow prior to the lake without being soaked. We enjoyed it!

                        • Rainbow Lake photo
                        • Rainbow Lake photo
                        • Rainbow Lake photo

                          Posted: June 28, 2018 09:38:34 PM PST

                          rick vander veen from Vancouver writes:

                          Did the hike June 23 with my Daughter .The last 2 ks have snow on the trail ,i would bring a set of Poles really makes a difference when hiking in the snow ,the Lake is still frozen but well worth the hike to the lake enjoy !!

                            Posted: June 24, 2018 08:08:23 AM PST

                            Julian from Australia writes:

                            Did the hike 20th June 2018 - view was absolutely stunning at the top. The lake surface still appears 95% frozen over but still looks gorgeous with the mountain backdrop.

                            The trail features challenging climbs and aesthetic wooden bridges (which are now open) over flowing creeks. The top 1/3 of the trail had moderately packed snow which although the trail was not clear at times, could be tracked from other hikers prints. As the snow melts and creates undercurrents, there may be points where the snow collapses under footing so hikers should take care in these sections.

                            Would definitely recommend to do this week while there’s still snow, or wait till it’s completely melted for the full summer/autumn hiking experience.

                            • Rainbow Lake photo

                              Posted: June 20, 2018 07:20:53 PM PST

                              Silvia from Burnaby writes:

                              ***I am giving this trail 3 stars due to the poor markings in winter conditions

                              Hiked this trail on March 25th. Started at Rainbow Trail near Rainbow Park. First 20 mins of trail a bit icy here and there. We had snowshoes and spikes with us but didn't need to use them. Even with fresh snow from the night before we were able to carry on in our hiking boots all the way to the top, sinking only a couple times the entire trip. Got lost shortly after the watershed as markings were nonexistent or perhaps covered by snow?? We were close to turning around and calling it a day, until we heard people near us and followed their voices back to the main trail. Parts of the trail are marked extremly well, and then all of the sudden markings disappear and there are 3 trails in front of you with no signs guiding you. People go off trail and create side trails with their skis and snowshoes that lead nowhere. Very confusing. Waste of time. Upsetting. The cable bridge was out (hard packed ice and snow on it) so we had to find our way across the creek and join the main trail on the other side. The outhouses are in good condition. The hike itself, the trees, the views are beautiful; not too difficult but a good workout for sure. Other than us, 2 other people on the trail. Will definitely go back in the summer to compare conditions. Took 6 hours including getting lost for about 30 mins, lunch and stopping many times to take in the views.

                              • Rainbow Lake photo
                              • Rainbow Lake photo
                              • Rainbow Lake photo

                                Posted: March 26, 2018 05:47:03 PM PST

                                Vanessa from Port Coquitlam writes:

                                As of this weekend Nov 12, 2017 there is a bridge out so no access to the lake. There is an alternate (difficult) trail route at the same parking lot but does not lead to the lake.

                                  Posted: November 14, 2017 02:35:34 PM PST

                                  Ariela Friedmann from Vancouver writes:

                                  Anyone know how are the snow conditions on the trail to Rainbow Lake and beyond since the July 1 posting? Are yak trax or snowshoes needed? I'm hoping to backpack in with 2 novice backpackers -- safety first is top of mind.

                                    Posted: July 28, 2017 04:50:30 PM PST

                                    moni from Richmond writes:

                                    I did the hike on July 23. very nice long hike. should be good go on August as the flower still not open yet. but, still incredible beautiful and peaceful...

                                    • Rainbow Lake photo
                                    • Rainbow Lake photo
                                    • Rainbow Lake photo

                                      Posted: July 24, 2017 10:51:33 PM PST

                                      Joe from Philadelphia writes:

                                      Me and my wife just did the hike on July 1st after the Canada Day parade in the village. Afternoon is a perfect time for this hike as the sun is not too strong and your chance of wildlife sightings goes up greatly, a group told us they saw 2 bears on the trail right before we met up with them. The last third is pretty muddy still with significant snow around the second cable bridge and beyond.. We did not go to the lake but instead turned around as the footing on the snow was a bit tricky for running shoes, others told us the lake is still snow covered. The views are still amazing and the hike is a lot of fun. I would suggest bringing bug spray as the mosquitoes are very active on the second half of the hike later in the day.

                                      For those with a fear of heights, like me, this is a great mountain top hike with good elevation and great views without any extreme exposures. The second cable bridge may be too much, it was for me, but even if you go only to that point the views are worth the trip.

                                        Posted: July 1, 2017 11:56:02 PM PST

                                        richard from vancouver writes:

                                        I did the hike today July 1 2017 canada day .Great hike around 30 to 40 mins from the Lake the snow was on the trail ,A little tricky getting to the lake good to have poles and good hiking boots for the snow .There is a few snow bridges here and there so watch out for them i slipped once up to about just below my knee .The Hike was around 4 hours return to the car enjoy !!

                                          Posted: July 1, 2017 05:49:44 PM PST

                                          Alexandr from Moscow writes:

                                          Hiked June, 30. Still lots of snow at the end of the trail. We had problems finding our way because of that. Met several groups who returned without reaching the lake. However, the views are magnificent and it was worth to wander around a little bit.

                                          P.S. footprints are sometimes not going along the path, so be careful

                                          • Rainbow Lake photo

                                            Posted: June 30, 2017 08:52:28 PM PST

                                            Alex from Vancouver writes:

                                            Had an excellent time doing this hike on June 24, 2017. Snow started slightly before the suspension bridge. Was a little hard to stay on the trail in the snow, but we managed as the trail is well marked. We were surprised that the suspension bridge has still not been pulled across the river for the summer. We had to go directly through the river at the calmest point instead. There's also a bridge past the suspension bridge that's been twisted sideways by all the snow that's been on it. We had to crawl across the bridge. Other than that it'a a great hike if you're up for an adventure.

                                              Posted: June 24, 2017 11:46:45 PM PST

                                              Darryl from Vancouver writes:

                                              Explored this hike solo 4 Jun 2017. Did not reach Rainbow Lake. I encountered more snow than expected a little ways before second outhouse and eventually turned around. I did not see a single other person on this hiking route - despite it being a nice Sunday... I guess no one attempts this hike till July. Nice and peaceful and not particularly physically demanding.

                                                Posted: June 4, 2017 02:15:03 PM PST

                                                Avi from Vancouver writes:

                                                Question: Is there likely to be snow on the trail at the end of October?

                                                  Posted: October 18, 2016 02:47:27 PM PST

                                                  Mike Chou from Vancouver writes:

                                                  This is my favourite trail in Whistler area. I went there on September 28th. There is no snow left, but the temperature is a little bit low when walking in the shadow. I like it more than Joffre Lake. The lake is extremely beautiful and trail is so much fun. Wild flowers everywhere.

                                                    Posted: September 21, 2016 04:40:14 PM PST

                                                    Alexandra from Vancouver writes:

                                                    I've done the hike today July 1 (Happy Canada's Day!) and it took us about 4-5h with a 30 min break at the top. There area a few patches of snow on the last part of the trail but they can be crosses with any type of shoes. The lake still has a lot of snow on it and all around it. Also the temperature up there is pretty low (single digits). The trail has some nice bridges, is very well marked and there are some pretty waterfalls. The last third of the trail is very muddy so good hiking shoes would be recommended.

                                                    I gave the hike 3 stars because it wasn't one of my favorites.

                                                      Posted: July 2, 2016 12:14:23 AM PST

                                                      Vania from Vancouver writes:

                                                      My friends and I went to Rainbow Lake this past weekend. We started late and heat was killer. Other than that, pleasant trail, lots of locals hiking or trail running, very easy to follow. Wildflowers were in bloom, it was beautiful! We stopped at Rainbow Lake to eat our lunch and we continued on to Hanging Lake, where we camped. Even getting there late, it was easy to find a spot. I would def. hike this trail again!

                                                        Posted: July 6, 2015 10:44:57 PM PST

                                                        Tak McT. from Vancouver writes:

                                                        I hiked this trail solo on 04/14/15. 3hrs up, 2hrs down.

                                                        Not quite as challenging as the Garibaldi Lake hike despite the same elevation ascent. What differs Rainbow Trail from Garibaldi Lake is the immense forest that you hike through that is laden with fresh powder.

                                                        I admit, I did not know that the 2nd bridge (cable bridge) was not in order during the winter, so I had to turn around and come back. I was really hoping that there was going to be an alternate route marked around the same area, but with all the fresh snow that had fallen over the past few days, I couldn't easily see any markers.

                                                        The snow paths were somewhat visible around the bog, but I did get lost a few times and had to back trail a bit.

                                                        Although I couldn't get to Rainbow Lake, I do recommend this hike to anyone who likes wandering through a white forest full of fresh powder (as I was so lucky). Runners would not be a good idea. Once you start nearing the cable bridge, the snow was up to my knees, and I did have to scramble a lot on the path to proceed, so gaiters would be suggested with your boots.

                                                        I was looking forward to the end point on this hike, but I guess I'll have to come back in the warmer months! It was a great winter hike though.

                                                          Posted: April 14, 2015 07:09:58 PM PST

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