Hike Rating 6The 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

Whistler & Garibaldi Park

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlySproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

Hiking by Month

  Winter Hiking GuideJanuary  Winter Hiking GuideFebruary  Spring Hiking GuideMarch  Spring Hiking GuideApril  Spring Hiking GuideMay  Summer Hiking GuideJune  Summer Hiking GuideJuly  Summer Hiking GuideAugust  Fall Hiking GuideSeptember  Fall Hiking GuideOctober  Fall Hiking GuideNovember  Winter Hiking GuideDecember

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 Map v11

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.

Rainbow Falls Trail Map

Rainbow Falls Trailhead Directions Map

Discover Rainbow Falls at HikeInWhistler.com

Rent Hiking Gear in Whistler

Hike in Whistler

Whistler & Garibaldi Park

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlySproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

Hiking by Month

  Winter Hiking GuideJanuary  Winter Hiking GuideFebruary  Spring Hiking GuideMarch  Spring Hiking GuideApril  Spring Hiking GuideMay  Summer Hiking GuideJune  Summer Hiking GuideJuly  Summer Hiking GuideAugust  Fall Hiking GuideSeptember  Fall Hiking GuideOctober  Fall Hiking GuideNovember  Winter Hiking GuideDecember

Everyone knows the Grouse Grind as the fantastically popular 2.9 kilometre workout in Vancouver.  What is less known is that it is the gateway, or rather back door to some amazing hiking in the Lynn ...
Read more
St Mark's Summit is a relatively easy way to get hiking deep into Vancouver's amazing mountains.  Starting this hike at Cypress means you drive most of the elevation.  Even though you still have another ...
Read more
Mount Strachan is part of the trio of mountains, also Black Mountain and Hollyburn Mountain that form a bowl, or Cypress Bowl that give the resort its name.  The Cypress part of the name comes from the ...
Read more
Rice Lake is a relaxing walk around a cute lake in Lynn Valley.  It is a family friendly hike although dogs are not welcome.  Roundtrip from your car the trail around the lake is just 3 kilometres and should ...
Read more

Levette Lake is a nice mountain lake located in the enormous Squamish Valley that drains Squamish River into Howe Sound.  There are some nice views and minimal elevation gain along the trail.  The amazing ...
Read more
Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC.  The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old growth forest to get to the base of the falls.  From ...
Read more
The Chief is the mammoth rock face that towers over Squamish. Though hardly believable from looking at, the summit is an easy two hour hike. In fact there are three peaks, South (First), Centre (Second), and ...
Read more
Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park is an absolutely phenomenal, though long, hiking, biking, snowshoeing and skiing trail that begins at the Diamond Head area in Squamish.  From Whistler Village, the trailhead is ...
Read more

Ancient Cedars is a nice, easy/moderate 2.5 kilometre (1.6 mile) hiking trail on the far side of Cougar Mountain, just 13.1 kilometres north of Whistler Village. A small, untouched grove of huge western ...
Read more
Blackcomb Mountain holds an impressive and ever growing array of hiking trails. From the moment you step off the Blackcomb Gondola and you arrive at the Rendezvous Lodge, you see hiking trails ascend into ...
Read more