Your Guide to Paddle Boarding Whistler: 6 Best Spots

Your Guide to Paddle Boarding Whistler: 6 Best Spots

Whistler is a world-famous skiing, snowboarding, biking, and hiking destination. But did you know that it is also a paddle boarder’s paradise? With six stunning lakes and a scenic river to explore, Whistler offers a variety of options for stand up paddle boarding enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you are looking for a relaxing float, a challenging workout, or a wildlife adventure, you will find it in Whistler. In this guide, we will introduce you to the 6 best spots for paddle boarding Whistler and give you some tips on making the most of your experience.

1. Alta Lake

Alta Lake is a fantastic place to paddle board in Whistler, at just over 2km in length, there is plenty to explore.

Alta Lake

source: unsplash

Alta Lake is also the second largest and most famous lake in Whistler, located just a few minutes from the village. It offers spectacular views of the mountains with wonderful views of both Whistler and Blackcomb as you paddle out to the centre of Alta Lake. Local lake regulations are enforced strictly, with fines for non-compliance, such as not wearing life jackets or carrying a whistle. Each park has its own amenities, such as picnic tables, washrooms, docks, and rentals. You can paddle around the lake and explore its many bays and islands or venture into the River of Golden Dreams, which connects Alta Lake to Green Lake.

Water Type: Freshwater lake, calm and clear.

Skills: Suitable for beginners and intermediate paddlers.

Launch Point:

  • Lakeside Park: Lakeside Park is on the southeast side of the lake and has a small parking area, a beach, floating docks, and a grassy area.
  • Wayside Park: Head towards "Fishermans" or Wayside Park and enjoy the Whistler Art on the Lake festival with live music and local art.
  • Rainbow Park: On the northwest side of Rainbow Park, you can find several docks, a car park, volleyball nets, and food trucks during summer. This area provides the easiest access point for the River of Golden Dreams.
  • Blueberry docks: Not too far from Lakeside Park, it is a great spot to paddle across to the Sailing Club. This is also a Whistler locals spot accessed from St. Anton Way. A forest trail leads to docks perfect for paddle board launch, just a 5-minute walk away.

Amenities: Parking, washrooms, picnic tables, docks, rentals, and food trucks, but you should bring a dry bag and waterproof SUP bag to store your clothes, snacks and valuables.

Unique Feature: Alta Lake is very windy in the afternoon due to the temperature differential along the valley floor. It's important to note that you should paddle upwind for the first leg of your journey, and the return leg will be easier.

2. Green Lake

Paddle boarding in Whistler on Green Lake is a must-do experience. The lake offers stunning natural beauty with the backdrop of Wedge Mountain, the highest peak in Garibaldi National Park, and the hanging glacier of Weart Mountain.

Green Lake is the largest and coldest lake in Whistler. It is fed by glacial runoff, which gives it a distinctive green hue. Green Lake is located north of the village and has a launch point at Green Lake Park. You can paddle along the shoreline and admire the scenery or head to the east side of the lake and explore the ghost town of Parkhurst, an abandoned logging settlement. It can get chilly, so bundle up! Green Lake is also a great spot for fishing, as it is home to rainbow trout, kokanee, and dolly varden. You should bring a base layer to stay warm against the cool breeze.

Water Type: Freshwater lake, cold and deep.

Skills: Suitable for intermediate and advanced paddlers. If you are an experienced paddle boarder, you can paddle down the River of Golden Dreams from Alta Lake to Green Lake, an experience worth having on its own.

Launch Point:

  • Green Lake Park is easily accessible from the Sea to Sky Highway. You can either go to the Green Lake Boat Launch or Green Lake Park, both of which have limited parking spaces. You can enjoy the beauty of the dense forest and mountains while relaxing on your SUP on the lake.
  • Fitzsimmons Fan Park is 2 km south of the lake and is a beautiful sandy beach for a paddle board rest stop. This hidden gem is popular among fly fishermen and beach lovers.

Unique Feature:

  • The ghost town of Parkhurst is a historical site with old buildings and artefacts.
  • Head north on Green Lake to reach the jumping cliffs; here, you can test your bravery with cliffs of all sizes. Be sure to check the water depth before jumping, though!

3. Lost Lake

If you are looking for a place to enjoy paddle boarding and other outdoor activities in Whistler, you should check out Lost Lake. It is a small lake close to the village and can be reached by walking, biking, or taking a free shuttle.

Lost Lake

source: unsplash

Lost Lake is perfect for warm water enthusiasts, as it heats up quickly and has a sandy beach and a grassy park. You can paddle around the lake and admire the views or dock at Canine Cove, a designated area for dogs to play with a ramp on the dock. Lost Lake is also ideal for family paddle boarding, as it is not affected by heavy winds and has a shallow shore. Besides paddle boarding, you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking at Lost Lake or explore the surrounding trails for mountain biking and wildlife watching.

Water Type: Freshwater lake, warm and shallow.

Skills: Suitable for beginners and intermediate paddlers.

Launch Point:

  • Lost Lake Park is where you can rent paddle boards and other watercraft.
  • On the other side of the lake, you'll find a long, extended dock where you can anchor and hang out. Many people often sunbathe here.

Amenities: At the lakeside, you'll find excellent facilities. There are public toilets, picnic tables, and a covered area. It's free, but first come, first served. If tables are full, use a picnic blanket and inflate your paddle board by the water.

Unique Feature:

  • The wetlands are a rich habitat for birds, frogs, beavers, and fish.
  • In July and August, you can observe the magnificent toad migration at Lost Lake, where toads will move from water to forest. Don't miss out on this extraordinary sight!
  • There is a specific area for dogs to play. The dock has a purpose-built ramp so dogs can easily swim and get back onto the dock.
  • Parking is restricted to drop-off only for most of the day. During summer (June to September), a free shuttle service is available from the village to the lake. Get more details on Whistler.ca.

4. Alpha Lake

Alpha Lake is a small, quiet lake located south of the village in the Creekside area. It is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful escape from the crowds.

Alpha Lake has a launch point at Alpha Lake Park, where you can also find a playground, a tennis court, and a dog beach. You can paddle around the lake and enjoy the tranquillity or head to the north end of the lake and visit the train wreck, a collection of graffiti-covered boxcars that derailed in 1956.

Water Type: Freshwater lake, calm and clear.

Skills: Alpha Lake is a great option for warm water paddling, as it is sheltered from the wind. This makes it a good choice for less experienced paddlers.

Launch Point:

  • Alpha Lake Park has a dock that facilitates boat launching for easy access.
  • Pine Point Park is an area where you can relax in the warm sunlight after paddle boarding.
  • Condy Park.

Amenities: Parking, washrooms, and Alpha Lake Park also offer basketball and tennis courts, a fenced dog walking area, and family-friendly activities on and off the land. At the park, there are tables for relaxing, and if you have kids, there's a kids’ play area.

Unique Feature:

  • The train wreck is a colorful and quirky attraction.
  • Once you're in the water, you can swim directly across the lake, and you'll be able to spot several cliffs. This is a very popular spot for cliff jumping in Whistler. One of the cliffs even has a ramp for bikes! However, before taking the leap, it's essential to check the water depths to ensure your safety.

5. Nita Lake

Nita Lake is a small, serene lake in the Creekside area south of the village. Located right next to Alpha Lake, it can be reached from the same car park.

Nita Lake

source: freepik

The lake is quiet and peaceful, as it is tucked away between the trail and the railway line. However, it can also be windy, so be prepared for some waves.

Water Type: Freshwater lake, calm and clear.

Skills: Suitable for beginners and intermediate paddlers.

Launch Point: Alpha Lake Park. Or, to paddle to Nita Lake, use the boat launch directly in front of the patio behind Nita Lake Lodge on the valley trail.

Amenities:

  • The area features parking, washrooms, picnic tables, and a dock for convenience and enjoyment.
  • Nearby, you can easily find hotels, spas, and restaurants for additional leisure and dining options.

Unique Feature: Nita Lake Lodge, an upscale resort with a lakeside patio and a spa, is a great place for a romantic paddle, surrounded by luxury hotels, spas, and restaurants. You can paddle around the lake, admire the views or dock at Nita Lake Lodge, and treat yourself to a meal or massage.

6. River of Golden Dreams

The River of Golden Dreams is a short and scenic river that connects Alta Lake to Green Lake. It is one of the most popular and is an adventurous spot for paddle boarding in Whistler, as it offers a unique and diverse experience.

The river flows through a variety of landscapes, such as meadows, forests, wetlands, and rapids. You can see and hear a lot of wildlife, such as birds, fish, beavers, and bears. The river takes about 3 hours to paddle, depending on the water level and your speed. You can start from Alta Lake and end at Green Lake, or vice versa.

Water Type: Freshwater river, varying from slow and smooth to fast and choppy.

Skills: Suitable for intermediate and advanced paddlers.

Launch Point: Lakeside Park or Green Lake Park. There are several stops along the way if you decide it’s not for you and you’d like to exit, one at Lorimer Road.

Amenities: There are parking, washrooms, picnic tables, docks, and rentals. However, you should use waterproof bags to pack enough food and water on your paddle board with enough gear for the day.

Unique Feature:

  • The diversity of the river changes from calm to wild and from open to narrow. Water levels vary by season.
  • In early spring, snow melts fast; high water may require portage. There is signage along the river, so keep an eye out for these along the way. In late season, low water may also necessitate portage.

Paddle Boarding Tours and Activities in Whistler

If you want to have the best experience while paddle boarding in Whistler, you might want to join a guided tour or try some other activities. There are many options to choose from, depending on your preferences and budget. Here are some of the best paddle boarding tours and activities in Whistler:

  • Backroads Whistler: This company offers guided tours on the River of Golden Dreams, as well as rentals and self-guided tours. You can choose from different types of watercraft, such as canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. You can also opt for a wildlife tour at Twilight Tour, which lets you see the river in a different light.
  • Whistler Eco Tours: Immerse yourself in guided tours on Alta Lake, Green Lake, and the picturesque River of Golden Dreams with Whistler Eco Tours. Offering a selection of watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards, you can embark on an exploration suited to your preferences. If you seek a group experience, consider the voyageur canoe tour, accommodating up to 8 participants.
  • Whistler Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: Elevate your paddle boarding skills with lessons, tours, and rentals offered by Whistler Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Alta Lake, Lost Lake, and Nita Lake. Whether you are a novice looking to grasp the basics or an experienced paddler seeking advanced techniques, they cater to all levels. Join a yoga or fitness class on the serene waters or opt for a scenic sunset or moonlight tour to make the most of your Whistler paddle boarding adventure.

Kayaking in Whistler

If you prefer kayaking over paddle boarding whistler, you will be happy to know that all the spots mentioned above are also suitable for kayaking. You can rent a kayak at any of the parks or shops or bring your own. You can paddle on the lakes or the river and enjoy the same scenery and wildlife. Kayaking is a great way to explore Whistler’s waterways and a fun activity for all ages and abilities.

Kayaking in Whistler

source: unsplash

However, if you don’t want to miss out on the paddle boarding experience, you can have the best of both worlds with a kayak attachment. This is a device that allows you to convert your paddle board into a kayak and vice versa. You can easily switch between the two modes, depending on your mood and the water conditions. You can find our SUP Kayak Conversion Kit, which offer the perfect combination of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding for the ultimate adventure!

Paddling Time!

Paddle boarding is one of the best ways to enjoy Whistler’s natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle. With six amazing spots to choose from, you will never run out of places to paddle and things to see. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, a solo traveler or a family, a thrill-seeker or a chill-seeker, you will find a paddle boarding spot that suits you. And with a kayak attachment, you can also enjoy kayaking without any hassle. So what are you waiting for? Experience the joy of paddle boarding Whistler. Grab your paddle board and head to Whistler. You won’t regret it.