You can float down the 'River of Golden Dreams' in Whistler

Jul 13 2018, 4:25 am

You can experience a quiet, serene river float, without needing to travel several hours into the interior of British Columbia.

The River of Golden Dreams, which is located in Whistler, is a five-kilometre river that begins at Alta Lake and runs down all the way into Green Lake.

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The river requires at least two hours to complete depending on the number of people in the party and the equipment used.

The still, quiet water is surrounded with wildlife and greenery. Within 30 minutes of travelling on the river, all sight of power lines is replaced with old growth forests, wildflower-lined banks, and stunning views of the mountains.

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It’s an ideal getaway for those who wish to try their hand at canoeing, paddleboarding, and tubing (depending on the size of the inflatable), but also want to enjoy Whistler’s bustling nightlife.

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How to make sure you enjoy the river safely:

If you’re planning on trying to float the river with an inflatable, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper equipment and choose the right time of year to try the river.

July and August are optimal times to enjoy the river. While it’s possible to canoe or kayak the river in the spring or fall, the water will be colder and likely faster moving than normal.

It’s important to invest in a proper inflatable tube or miniature raft that can be used in larger bodies of water. As a rule of thumb, if you can blow up the inflatable with your mouth, it likely isn’t safe for use in the river.

Also, you’ll want to make sure that you’re an experienced swimmer or at the very least, have a life jacket with you. Do be warned, occupants of the river can actually be fined for not having a life jacket while in a floatation device.

In addition, you’ll want to pack: 

  • A waterproof bag for your phone (or a Ziploc bag if nothing else). Either can be purchased in Whistler Village or outdoor recreation stores.
  • Snacks (a two-hour trip can be a long time, especially if you’re doing the paddling all by yourself).
  • A bag to put your own garbage in (don’t be that person).
  • A hat and sunscreen (nobody likes sunburns).
  • A hoodie or jacket. Remember, even though it’s summer, the water can still be cold if you make the trip early in the day. Also, the longer you’re on the water, the more likely you’ll get cold.

As an alternative option to see the River of Golden Dreams, visitors can also sign up for guided or unguided tours from a local Whistler company.

Not only do the tours include a shuttle bus, life jacket, and your choice of a kayak or canoe, but it also makes the river less intimidating if you’re aiming to do it on your own at a later date.

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