The River Of Golden Dreams – A Summer Must In Whistler

Destination Addict - Kayaking down the River of Golden Dreams, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

River Of Golden Dreams

Many don’t think of Whistler, one of the world’s top ski resorts as a summer destination but believe us when we say there is plenty there to do in the summer too. Starting with some paddling across Whistler’s 2nd largest lake, Alta & followed by a chilled out float along the aptly named The River Of Golden Dreams was for us a must-do activity during our summer there.

We always like to do things independently & at our own pace & that’s exactly what we did here!

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Our Kayak

One of our purchases this summer being so close to so many lakes was an inflatable kayak & it was perfect for our day along the river. We chose to go in late July which meant that the water levels were slightly lower, this was fine with our kayak but we have to admit that we did see some people struggling with smaller inflatable boats with the water level being so low.

We would say if you chose to go a little earlier in the season (May or June) when the water level is higher then you could pretty much float along on anything. If taking your own flotation device is not your thing then there’s always the option of taking a tour, or effectively renting a sturdy canoe from one of the tour companies in Whistler that offer them, as we have no experience we cannot recommend a company but do know that are plenty that offer these tours.

Our inflatable Kayak is the – Intex Challenger K2 Kayak – Which we would highly recommend!

Amazon also have a great range of other inflatable kayaks

Starting Point

We took the bus from Whistler village (No.2, direction Cheakumus) down to the beach area at Alta Lake & started off from there, where most of the tour companies send people off from too. It’s a good 30 min row across the lake to the mouth of the river & is the toughest part of the day, after getting across Alta it is pretty much just plain sailing.

If you decide to do this yourselves & are not sure where to go you can use the app MAPS.ME to navigate, we use it for finding our way around everywhere & find it so useful. You can also track your progress down The River Of Golden Dreams.

The River Of Golden Dreams

Apart from the odd couple of times where we had to get out of our kayak & carry it as the water level was low, carry it across marked points or row a little, most of the actual journey on the river was pretty chill. We loved the feeling of just floating along in the sunshine, taking in the beautiful surroundings & not having any idea what time it was.

The feeling of having nowhere else to be when adventuring, for us, is so special & we really felt as though we were right in the moment all day long.

Stunning Scenery


As with everywhere you look in Whistler, there was stunning scenery all around us to enjoy all day. Teamed with this there’s lots of wildlife around, birds, fish & otters & if you are lucky enough you might even spot a bear, on this occasion we were unfortunately not the lucky ones but we had heard of sightings just the day before.

To capture everything we always like to have our camera & Go Pro with us but we would also recommend putting these down for a wee while & totally taking the time to look around, look up & down & look around, it’s such a cool experience that a camera will capture but nothing will see it like the naked eye.


Yesterday we pumped up our new adventure friend, our inflatable kayak “Buddy” & paddled down the River of Golden Dreams ✨ ~~~~~~~ What an EPIC day ???? We started at Alta Lake in Whistler, BC ???????? & meandered the whole 5km down river through some rather low water levels where we had to get out & carry Buddy, to points where we were just floating along dreaming ???? A very aptly named river indeed! We ended our journey at the glacier fed & very cold Green Lake & enjoyed a couple of drinks on the terrace bar of the Nicholas North Golf Club (a great spot if you are in the area!) ???????? We captured this shot & our whole adventure on our @GoPro Subscribe to our @YouTube channel to catch our vlog on this & our other adventures in full! Link up in bio ⬆⬆ • • • • • #kayaking #riverofgoldendreams #OnlyInWhistler #explorebc #hellobc #explorecanada #beautifulbc #sharebc #getoutside #exploremore #awakethesoul #theglobewanderer #letsgosomewhere #optoutside #earthfocus #liveoutdoors #travelstoke #liveunscripted #nakedplanet #welltravelled #adventurethatislife #stayandwander #travelcouplelife #travelbloggerlife #independenttravel #exploreshareinspire #gopro #gopropic #explorationinspiration #destinationaddict

A post shared by Kelly & Adam ???????? (@destinationaddict) on

Green Lake

We ended our beautiful day at Green Lake, Whistler’s only glacial fed lake & somewhere even in summer we would not like to go for a dip – believe us it is freezing! It was a great place to end such an incredible day & enjoy a couple of drinks at Nicholas North Golf Club (a spot we would recommend in Whistler) before heading back up to the main road & catching the bus (no.1 this time) back into the village.

The River Of Golden Dreams Round-Up

Amount of km’s rowed  – 5

Time taken  – 5 hours

What to bring    Plenty of water, sunscreen, a dry bag to keep all belongings safe, lunch & some cash for drinks at the end of the day should you wish.

Remember to always take care of our fragile environment by packing out what you pack in, take your rubbish with you!

This was one of the highlights of our summer & we couldn’t recommend doing it enough – if you have any questions for us at all please ask away! If you have done this yourself & have anything to add please do 🙂

We also made a vlog on our day, click play below to watch it in full!

We hope we have given you some inspiration to kayak the The River Of Golden Dreams this summer! 🙂

Checkout our other adventures around Whistler and Canada HERE

Happy Adventuring!

Kelly & Adam x

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2 thoughts on “The River Of Golden Dreams – A Summer Must In Whistler

    • Kelly says:

      It was so cool to spend the whole day on the river, Whistler is a great place to spend a week or so in too, there’s so much to see & do around there! We’ve also just put a post up of our top 5 hikes in the area!

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