The short, scenic and easy hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is located just a short, half kilometre from the Rainbow Lake or Rainbow Trail trailhead. The trail begins by ascending into deep forest and the trail winds left, right, up and down constantly.  21 Mile Creek, always on your right can always be either seen or heard.  21 Mile Creek begins, 8 kilometres away as it drains from Rainbow Lake, making its way eventually to the River of Golden Dreams, before finally draining into Green Lake north of Whistler Village.

  • Short trail through beautiful forest to hidden falls
  • Trail is always winding up & down, never boring
  • Great to see on the way to the Flank Trail or Rainbow Lake
  • The falls are not terribly big or impressive

A couple minutes into the Rainbow Trail and you come to a fork in the path.  You can take either path as they rejoin further up the trail, however taking the right fork is more scenic and only a little more of a steep climb.  A second fork in the trail appears a couple minutes later again, and once again taking the right fork is better.  You will then come to a small trail sign indicating "Rainbow Falls".  This short trail takes you to the little oasis that Rainbow Falls flows into.

After seeing Rainbow Falls, there are a couple more nice vantage points just a short hike further up the Rainbow Trail.  If you backtrack from the Falls and rejoin the Rainbow Trail, you will zig-zag up some short switchbacks, before coming out to the gravel access road to the water treatment building.  Here you will find a nice mapboard showing the Rainbow Trail and some of the connecting trails.  This section of trail overlaps with the 40 kilometre, Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail, so you will see some "Flank Trail" signs as well as Rainbow Lake signs.  If you follow the Flank Trail as it ascends past the water treatment building on its right side, you will quickly come to the beautiful bridge across 21 Mile Creek.  This is a great vantage point over this very scenic creek.  The Flank Trail continues for several kilometres beyond this bridge, eventually coming out near Ancient Cedars, well north of Whistler Village.

The trailhead is a short 15 minute drive from Whistler Village.  There is parking at the Rainbow Trail, trailhead as well as Rainbow Park just a couple hundred metres further up Alta Lake Raod.  At the trailhead you will see an excellent map-board indicating the trails in front of you.  There are no signs to Rainbow Falls and you will just see signs for Rainbow Lake, Flank Trail and Madeley Lake.  To find Rainbow Falls you just follow the Rainbow Lake trail from the trailhead for about a half kilometre until you reach the water treatment building (Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source).  Just before the building the trail forks.

Rainbow Falls Trail Map

The trailhead parking area to Rainbow Falls is the same as for Rainbow Lake and one of many access points to the Flank Trail.  If you are driving from Alpine, a neighbourhood north of Whistler Village, you will find the parking area/trailhead on your right.  There is room for about 20 cars to park and you rarely find it full.  Be careful in the winter as this area is packed with snow and slopes down a bit.  You may be able to drive in, but not be able to back out easily.  Keep that in mind and park in a way that allows you to get out easily.  There is an excellent trailhead map of the area and you can get an idea of further places to hike beyond the short Rainbow Falls trek.  The Rainbow Falls side trail is somewhat easy to miss as it is just a tiny sign fairly low to the ground.  Follow the Rainbow Trail and bear right at the two obvious forks in the trail.  Signs do not indicate where the falls are, but there are several orange trail markers on the trees on the way.  Rainbow Falls are found before and to the right of the water treatment building and if you emerge here, you have passed the falls.  The Flank Trail runs here, up and to the right, past the treatment building.  The Flank Trail also connects further up the Rainbow Trail on the left.  

Trailhead & Parking Directions to Rainbow Falls

Parking & Trailhead DirectionsRainbow Falls is well withing walking and biking distance from Whistler Village. You simply walk the Valley Trail down the end of Lorimer Road, the to Rainbow Park. From there it is just a 10 minute walk away. Driving directions to trailhead: Zero your odometer at Village Gate Boulevard(in Whistler Village), drive north on Highway 99.  At 3.8km turn left onto Alpine Way, then at the next stop sign turn left onto Rainbow Drive.  Continue straight until at 6.8km you will see the trailhead sign, "Rainbow Trail" on your right, half buried in snow most of the winter.  There is room for several cars to park, but be careful as if the parking are is packed with snow, you may be able to get in, but not be able to get out easily.  Keep that in mind and park in a way that allows you to get out easily.  Hike up the Rainbow Trail and to reach Rainbow Falls, bear right at the two obvious forks in the trail.  Signs do not indicate where the falls are, but there are several orange trail markers on the trees on the way.  Rainbow Falls are found before the water treatment building and the beautiful bridge over the river is just after the treatment building. 

More Great Hiking Around Rainbow Falls

The Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail overlaps and crosses the Rainbow Trail for half a kilometre.  Following the Flank Trail to the right takes you to a very scenic bridge over 21 Mile Creek.  Following the Flank Trail to the left leads you to a steady ascent for 400 metres along the Rainbow Lake trail to the trail turnoff to the Flank Trail.  The Flank Trail from here quickly ascends through more deep forest and finally after 15 minutes opens up and flattens out.  The views become beautiful and trail less tiring.  Whistler, Blackcomb and Wedge mountains all come dramatically into view and Alta Lake appears far below.  Just steps from the trail take you to pristine, snowy outcrops, perfect for taking in the view on a sunny day.. and with most of the Flank Trail south facing, sun will always be facing you over Whistler. Rainbow Lake is one of the original hiking trails in Whistler that has existed well before Whistler was called Whistler.  The 8k trail is challenging though beautiful as it passes through an impressively huge forest of giant trees.  There are several wonderful bridge crossings and crashing river views.  Rainbow Lake itself is surreal and beautiful.  An unnaturally bright, green meadow extends from one side of the lake and a field of starkly white erratics litter the landscape along the shores of the crystal clear lake.  Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source so swimming, fishing, dogs and camping are not allowed.  There are, you will quickly notice upon reaching Rainbow Lake, that a trail continues past the lake then forks.  The right fork takes you to the right and to the popular, though difficult scramble to the summit of Rainbow Mountain.

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