Alta Lake Park - Whistler Parks & Beaches
Alta Lake Park is one of several scenic parks on Alta Lake. Lakeside Park, Blueberry Park, Rainbow Park and Wayside Park are also along the shore of this huge lake that covers much of the valley edged by Whistler Village. These parks, all on Whistler's beautiful Valley Trail system, ensure that you are never far from one of several spectacular vantage points over Alta Lake.
Alta Lake Park is on the far side of Alta Lake, just 4 kilometres from Whistler Village. It is just an hours walk or 10 minute bike ride away on the Valley Trail. The Valley Trail is a huge spider web network of paved walking, biking and running trails that connect Whistler Village to dozens of beautiful parks and sights.
Over 40 kilometres of trails throughout Whistler, with direction signs at every junction make the Valley Trail much more than just a transportation network. It's an interpretive tour of the area, where you can wander on foot or by bike and use the signs at each junction to choose your route.
Whistler's Valley Trail is in fact, now part of the 180 kilometre Sea to Sky Trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. This mammoth trail has been in the works for years and is still working to make the trail run through the wilderness as much as possible. Currently there are some sections that run along the edge of the Sea to Sky Highway, however, the entire route in Whistler is not.
In 2012, a large section of the Sea to Sky Trail was constructed high above Green Lake which now allows you to walk, hike, bike or run over 30 kilometres and rarely see a road. You can start the trail north of Whistler Village above Green Lake and 32 kilometres later, come out of the wilderness at Brandywine Falls. Along the route make a dozen river crossing ranging from cute to jaw-dropping.
Located on the opposite shore to Wayside Park, Alta Lake Park is unlike all the other parks around this huge lake. It is secluded feeling where the others are often crowded and chaotic. The two Alta Lake Park piers are far more serene and the views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are excellent. One of the piers is quite old and sits directly across from the Wayside Park pier. The other Alta Lake Park pier, the "Fairhurst Fishing Dock" is enormous and much newer. It juts out into the lake in a long L shape.
Both piers are amazing for lounging in the sun, reading a book in a serene paradise or swimming. Where some of the other Alta Lake piers can be busy, the piers at Alta Lake Park are somewhat off the radar. Certainly the hidden feeling location and necessity of walking or biking to the park rather than driving to it make it less busy and frequently empty. One consideration if lounging in the sun and swimming are your plans for the park, is the time of day. The park is east facing, therefore is a sensational place early in the day. Late in the day, however, you will be shaded by the forest long before the parks on the opposite side of the lake.
Named after the Fairhurst family that operated the Cypress Lodge in the 60's and 70's. A large information board at the dock claims that this is some of the Sea to Sky's best stillwater angling. "Rainbow trout, hatchery cutthroat trout and the occasional bull trout and kokanee make this a great lake to fish." The Fairhurst's operated out of the old building further along Alta Lake(up Alta Lake Road), which is now used by the Whistler Sailing Club.
To walk, run or bike to Alta Lake Park from Whistler Village via the Valley Trail see the map below. Leave the Village by walking between Buffalo Bills and the Whistler Conference Centre, then under the Sea to Sky Highway, Valley Trail underpass. From here the Valley Trail signs indicate where to go. If you take the Valley Trail left you will go along the edge of Whistler Golf Course for a kilometre then the Valley Trail crosses onto St Anton Way, then zig-zags a couple more streets before arriving at Lakeside Park.
The Valley Trail has signs at each junction so you can't really get lost. Continue through Lakeside Park and 1 kilometre later you will arrive at Wayside Park. Keep walking around the end of Alta Lake, turn right. Walk along the edge of the lake and in a couple hundred metres you will pass a house on your right, just about 50 metres past this you will see a trail into the trees and a small "Alta Lake Park" sign.
Back on the Valley Trail you even go further as the Valley Trail continues all around Alta Lake. Follow the Valley Trail along Alta Lake and you will cross the train tracks and come to Alta Lake Road. Continue along Alta Lake Road, keeping Alta Lake on your right. You will get some terrific views of the lake and after 1.3 kilometres look for Rainbow Park on your right.
This gets you back on the Valley Trail and around the top end of Alta Lake and to the River of Golden Dreams at the end of Lorimer Rd. From here the Valley Trail splits into two directions. Left goes to Meadow Park and right moves you toward Whistler Village again via the Whistler Golf Course. If you keep following the excellent signs at each juncture you will find your way OK.
There are some good hiking trails in the vicinity of Alta Lake Park. If you continue past the park on the paved Valley Trail you will come to Alta Lake Road. If you follow Alta Lake Road for a couple kilometres you pass Rainbow Park(see map below) on your right, and later see the Rainbow Trail further up on your left. The Rainbow Trail leads to Rainbow Falls just 5 minutes into the trail and the Flank Trail about 5 minutes further along. The Flank Trail cuts both left and right from the Rainbow Trail(as well as overlapping it for a couple kilometres). The Rainbow Trail then climbs to Rainbow Lake, a tough 8 kilometre trek to a paradise lake high in the mountains. The Flank Trail and the Rainbow Trail to Rainbow Lake are on our Top 10 Walk To Trails from Whistler Village.
Alta Lake Park - Parking & Amenities
There is no way to park close to Alta Lake Park, however you can park at Wayside Park just 1 kilometre away. Parking for Wayside Park can be found just 3 kilometres south of Whistler Village. As you drive along the Sea to Sky Highway(aka Highway 99), keep an eye out for the Wayside Park sign indicating to turn right and you will immediately enter the parking lot with stairs and a wheelchair accessible ramp to the beach. To find Alta Lake Park from here is very easy. Just walk along the Valley Trail around the end of Alta Lake. It is only about an 8 minute walk from Wayside Park.
Alta Lake Park is dog friendly, however, not the most dog friendly of Whistler Parks. The park is fairly small and contained so he won't have a lot of room to roam around. Dogs are for the most part are much more welcome at other Whistler's parks, and many of them have special dog park areas. Rainbow Park has a similar dog park section to it, similar to Alpha Lake's, Arfa Park. Blueberry Park on Alta Lake is very dog friendly and you don't even have to bother bringing a leash with you as the whole park is wilderness and remote feeling. For a list of dog friendly hiking trails in Whistler that include the Sea to Sky Trail, Train Wreck, Nairn Falls, Ancient Cedars and many more try here..
There are no toilet facilities at Alta Lake Park, however at Wayside Park(across the lake) there are washrooms as well as a concession stand. As Lakeside Park is located on the Valley Trail, if you find these facilities locked then you just have to continue along the Valley Trail until you find more. If you continue toward Whistler Village you will come to Lakeside Park with toilet facilities. If you head south you will come to Creekside with several washroom choices such as Starbucks, Legends Hotel, Husky Market(gas station), and Nita Lake Lodge.
Alta Lake Park is not tent friendly, so you have to If you want a place to put up your tent you have to look a little further out from Whistler Village. Train Wreck is a great place to put up a tent and just 5 kilometres south of Alta Lake Park on the Valley Trail/Sea to Sky Trail. Green River has some amazing spots for a tent, north of Whistler Village near the turnoff to Wedgemount Lake. Parkhurst Ghost Town is amazing for camping, located on the far side of Green Lake not far from the Sea to Sky Trail. These are free places to camp so don't expect visible camping facilities or signs. Hotels, B&B's and hostels are of course plentiful in Whistler. Wayside Park is located between Creekside and Whistler Village. Nita Lake Lodge and Legends(hotel) are good options in Creekside. Whistler Village has the biggest selection of hotels, condo rentals and B&B's. A good way to search for a place to stay is via Booking.com. They compare all the available options in your search area, show reviews and photos of good places to stay, and you can book in just a few clicks. They somehow manage to get the price prices available and even offer free cancellation. One very odd aspect of the world we live in these days is that you can walk into a Whistler hotel and inquire about their best rate for the night. Often it will be almost double the rate you can get by stepping away from the desk and using your smartphone to book via Booking.com.
Map to Alta Lake Park from Whistler Village
Printer, smartphone and tablet friendly. Designed to fit standard printers and copiers. To print: Right click on the map below, save image as, save to desktop, then open the image and print on standard size printer paper. Cell coverage is reliable everywhere in Whistler so you will be able to access the internet if you have a data plan, however saving this map to your smartphone or tablet may be a good idea as there are lots of beautiful places to see on the way to Wayside Park. "Start" indicated on the map is located in Whistler Village at the pedestrian and car underpass off of Whistler Way. If you walk between Buffalo Bills and the Conference Centre you will come to Whistler Way and see this underpass under the Sea to Sky Highway. This is where the Valley Trail in Whistler exits the Village heading south. Walking/biking/running under the underpass you will come to the Whistler Golf Course parking lot and clubhouse with the Valley Trail branching both left and right. Here you will find a nice mapboard showing the Valley Trail and the Sea to Sky Trail(both trails follow the same route in this section of Whistler). Continue along the Valley Trail all the way to Alta Lake Park.
Other Whistler Parks Near Alta Lake Park
Alta Lake Park is one of several beautiful beach parks in Whistler on the Valley Trail. You can reach all these parks by car or better yet you set out on foot or by bike from Whistler Village. Lost Lake is a tranquil and secluded lake in the forest that extends from Whistler Village. Just a 20 minute, leisurely walk or 5 minute bike ride along the well signed Valley Trail will lead you to this beautiful little lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail turns into a wide and gravel trail as you enter Lost Lake Park. The main trail around the lake is a popular running route from Whistler Village as roundtrip from the Village, around Lost Lake and back to the Village in just 6 kilometres. There are plenty of nice viewpoints along the main trail as well as quite a few short trails that lead to several access points to the lake, some with great places to sit and relax in the sun and take in the view. Lost Lake has a very popular beach at one end and in the height of summer can get busy as it is the most convenient beach from Whistler Village. Blueberry Park is a very scenic and somewhat hidden park on Alta Lake just two kilometres from Whistler Village. If you have been to Rainbow Park you would have noticed three piers across Alta Lake surrounded by forest. These public piers sit at the edge of Blueberry Park, with the Blueberry Trail running from one side of the forest to the other. The park covers most of the hill beyond these piers and stretches between and connects the neighbourhoods of Whistler Cay and Alta Vista(see map below). The beautiful, deep forest trail runs from the shores of Alta Lake in Alta Vista, up and across Blueberry Hill and descends again to reach Whistler Cay. Along the trail there are several beautiful viewpoints of Alta Lake in the foreground and the enormous Mount Sproatt beyond. Lakeside Park at Alta Lake in Whistler is a beautiful beach park just a short distance from Whistler Village. Located on the Valley Trail, it is just 2 kilometres or a 30 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride away. Similar to Rainbow Park across the lake, Lakeside has a concession stand for food and drinks, picnic tables, BBQ stands, canoe and kayak rentals a huge grass field, pier, a sandy beach and an elaborate little kids play are. Swimming and relaxing are the main draws to Lakeside Park, but fishing off the piers is a common sight as well. Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village. Located partway along Lake Placid Road just past the Husky and Nita Lake Lodge. This quiet residential street leads to this park that is home to tennis courts, a basketball court, beach volleyball, dog park, a kids play park, a floating dock, a pier and biking/walking/running trails everywhere you look. Alpha Lake Park has a much more local feel to it than other Whistler parks such as the popular Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Lost Lake Park. The abundance of trees and the irregular shoreline make the relatively small size of Alpha Lake seem quite a bit bigger than it is. Trails run around both sides of Alpha Lake. The wide and paved Valley Trail runs along the shore on the near side and a gravel trail runs along the far side. For more walking trails, parks and beaches in Whistler click here..