Vancouver Hiking Trails RatingThe short, scenic and easy hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is found at the same, much more well known trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail and the trail quickly ascends into deep forest and the trail winds left, right, up and down almost constantly.  21 Mile Creek, always on your right can be either seen or heard as you hike through the forest to the somewhat hidden Rainbow Falls

  • Short trail through beautiful forest to hidden falls
  • Much quieter than most other trails
  • Easy to bike or walk to from Whistler Village
  • Trail is always winding up & down, never boring
  • Great to see on the way to the Flank Trail or Rainbow Lake
  • Rainbow Park is great to see and close by
  • The falls are not very big or impressive
  • Tricky to get a nice view of the falls
  • Not a lot to see on the short trail
  • Nice to see, but not a must see

Hike in Whistler

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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.  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 more scenic and leads you to the very hidden Rainbow Falls.  Depending on the time of year and water flow down 21 Mile Creek, the falls are always very pretty.  For the adventurous, the best time to see Rainbow Falls is in mid, to late summer, when the creek is low.  This allows you to hike down further along another path just a hundred or so metres back.  You will have passed a large, fallen tree along the trail.  At one end of the tree you will see a very visible trail descend steeply down to the creek.  You will see some beautiful views of the creek weaving its way through enormous boulders that have tumbled down over the centuries.  This part of the creek is flanked by steep cliffs and a nice, though very steep trail takes you down further still.  If you have kids with you, you want to be careful.  It is quite dangerous, however if you carry a toddler on your hip, you can inch your way down quite easily.  Not many people make it down to this magical little place as it is very easy to miss and most hikers are rushing along the trail to Rainbow Lake.  It is one of those amazing places surrounded by surreal, truck sized boulders, vertical cliffs, crystal clear glacier water in swirling, green pools.  And all this just 5 minutes down from the main trail.  Fantastic!

Rainbow Falls hidden oasis

Rainbow Falls in Whistler

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 Rainbow 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 Flank Trail Bridge above Rainbow Falls

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 Road. 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.

Discover Rainbow Falls at HikeInWhistler.com

Hike in Whistler

Hike in Whistler & Garibaldi Provincial Park

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