Exploring Elfin Lakes in British Columbia
By: Brice Ferre
One of the many thing I love about British Columbia is the amount of incredible places and sceneries available.
Whether you live in Vancouver, the interior or up north, you usually don’t have to drive more than an hour to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by huge mountains and beautiful lakes.
I currently live in Vancouver and one the many hikes/run I like to do is called Elfin Lakes.
Located about an hour north of Vancouver, off of the Sea to Sky Highway, Elfin Lakes are part of the Garibaldi Provincial Park and offer amazing vistas, along the 11 km it takes to get there and an incredible reward once you get to the lakes.
The south lake is off limit because it is a water reserve but the north lake is there for hiker's pleasure, if you don't mind swimming in cold water.
To access the trail head you will have to drive a few kilometres up a pretty beat up service road, so SUV's and 4x4 are a must but it can be done in a regular car if you take it easy. Lots of pot holes and loose rocks.
The hike to Elfin Lakes might be 11km each way, but it is not very steep and is quite scenic, so it doesn't feel like work at all. The trail is wide, and you are surrounded by big mountains all the way to the lakes.
If you enjoy trail running, Elfin Lakes is a must, because you can cover a lot of terrain with not a lot of effort. And the reward once you reach the lakes is pretty incredible. You can also do it on your mountain bike if you are a biker. The terrain is perfect for this activity. And the way down is going to be a lot of fun if you biked up.
You can either camp at the winter cabin up there, that is equipped with bunk beds and firewood furnaces, or camp outside on the wooden platforms overlooking the mountains. The view from the tent is sensational!
If you enjoy a nice cold dip in the lake, you won't be disappointed. The water is a bit cold, but is very clean and transparent. On a sunny day you will enjoy floating around while looking at the massive mountains facing you.
11km up, means that you have 11km back to the car, but these are downhill, so effortless if you have brought enough food and water, that is.
As a trail runner, I really enjoy coming back from Elfin Lakes, since it is basically 11km of smooth downhill, so it can be done in less than 40 minutes usually. So much fun!
If you are around Squamish, make sure to check the lakes out, you won't regret it.