Isn’t the River of Golden Dreams a dreamy name for a river?
Whistler’s River of Golden Dreams
Well, this river in Whistler really is like its name.
And one of the best things to do in Whistler in summer (spring and fall too) is paddling a canoe or kayak down it.
River of Golden Dreams, Whistler – route
Put in at Alta Lake to paddle first across the lake.
You might see Canada Geese (and in early summer, perhaps cute little goslings swimming in a line by the shore).
At the end of the lake, you glide by a field of bulrushes.
Then you enter the narrow, slow-moving River of Golden Dreams for a magical paddle through wetlands, eventually getting out at Green Lake.
River of Golden Dreams water level
If you go in high summer, the water level is usually low (only two or three feet) and you can lazily make your way along the river’s many twists, turns and sharp bends.
Word of caution:
If you don’t want to get wet – consider portaging the tricky curve of the river (you’ll know it when you come to it!). Your canoe might tip otherwise, and you could get dunked (like one of us did), especially if the river is running high.
River of Golden Dreams map
See below for the paddling map of the River of Golden Dreams.
And see here for the location map of Alta Lake. (You can zoom in or out.)
River of Golden Dreams tour
The best way to enjoy the river if you’re visiting Whistler?
Take a guided canoeing or kayaking River of Golden Dreams tour (three hours long).
We’ve gone with both of these companies :-).
Whistler Eco Tours:
Go with Whistler Eco Tours (WET), and your naturalist guide will entertain you with tales about Whistler’s history (and fascinating local characters), as well as the area’s geography, wildlife and flora and fauna.
See that beaver den? It actually has different chambers – including a separate beaver “toilet” room and another room for drying off after coming in from the river.
See their website here.
Backroads Whistler also offers guided and self-guided paddling trips on the river.
See their website here.
What else to do in Whistler? Go on the Joffre Lake hike! See here
Prefer a lazy float down Whistler’s River of Golden Dreams?
Do as the locals do and float down in a cheap little inflatable or inner tube, taking only the bare essentials (like beer or soft drinks dangling in the water to keep chilled – and duct tape for that “pffft…” sound).
Photo credits: © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except lead photo)