The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Flank Trail, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverly Lake, Rainbow Mountain... and even Whistler Olympic Park if you are determined. It is a consistently uphill and very beautiful trail with several water (bridge) crossings and waterfalls on the way to the picture-perfect lake. There are a few views of the valley across to Whistler, Blackcomb, and Wedge. Few views, though
fantastic. Rainbow Lake itself is in a gorgeous alpine valley with branching trails that extend further beyond the lake in at least three directions. Along with the waterfalls, bridge crossings and valley views, the Rainbow Trail passes through deep forest with some impressively huge trees. Plenty of birds can be heard and seen along the trail and though black bears frequent the area, they are infrequently spotted due to their migration down into the valley. Cougars are also known to roam around this area, though also rarely spotted. As recently as 2014 signs of cougar activity were identified on the Flank Trail near where it branches off from the Rainbow Trail.
The Rainbow Trail has a small side trail that takes you to Rainbow Falls. Not far from the trailhead, the small Rainbow Falls sign is easily missed. It is located about five minutes into the Rainbow Trail and your best bet to find it is to keep bearing right along the first couple trail branches. Don't worry about getting lost here though as all the trails reconnect further along the trail when you briefly exit the forest at the water treatment building. Unfortunately, Rainbow Lake is the water supply for Whistler, so you cannot swim, fish or camp near the lake. There is decent camping available nearby at Hanging Lake as well as Beverly Lake in the direction of Rainbow Mountain. Hanging lake is a bit dark and swampy as compared to the spectacular camping at Beverly Lake which is a tough but rewarding hike beyond Rainbow Lake. See the trail maps below for the routes to each of these lakes.
Beverly Lake is reached by following the trail toward Rainbow Mountain. About 40 minutes into this trail the trail markers will stop as it ascends up into an extensive boulder field towards Rainbow Mountain. To reach Beverly, bear left of the route to Rainbow Mountain and follow the valley. Beverly Lake is about an hours hike from Rainbow Lake. With the restrictions at Rainbow Lake for camping, swimming, etc, Madeley Lake, Hanging Lake and especially Beverly Lake are great options. Madeley Lake is a nice, easy to get to, and free place to camp and the logging road to get to it is usually free of snow June to November. Depending on the early and late season snow of course. The trail from Madeley to Hanging lake is nice, though not too much to see. Hanging Lake is nice, deep forest lake in the middle of nowhere. You feel a hundred miles from civilization so it is extraordinarily tranquil. You can see the milky way at night very clearly as you are shielded from man-made light from all possible directions.