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Great Outdoors, Life

Beautiful BC: There's a reason why Elfin Lakes is a local favourite

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Chandler Walter Jul 07, 2017 2:16 am 3,448

Elfin Lakes are a favourite spot for hikers around Vancouver, as the 22 km round-trip offers a challenging hike in an area reasonably close to the city.

Sitting in the Garibaldi Provincial Park above Squamish, these two little lakes are at the end of a well marked trail, and even offer a small cabin that can be rented out for eager campers.

If you’re looking to take on an adventure a bit tougher, longer, and more rewarding than usual, Elfin Lakes make for a great challenge.

(WARNING: Snow shoes and other snow gear may be necessary to reach Elfin Lakes)

When all the stars align themselves perfectly…

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Where is it?

Elfin Lakes sit in the Garibaldi Provincial Park, east of Squamish, BC. It is a 600 m elevation gain along the trail, and once you’re there you’ll be sitting at 1,600 m above sea level.

How do you get there?

Drive to Squamish, the turn left off of the Sea-To-Sky Highway onto Mamquam Road. Follow that until it turns into Garibaldi Park Road, and you will eventually reach the Elfin Lakes Trailhead at the Diamond Head Trail Parking Lot.

From there, follow the trail markers for 11 km until you reach the two lakes. The trail will go up what used to be an old gravel road for the most part, though there is a section that diverges off onto a narrow hiking trail for roughly 1 km.

From Vancouver: It is an estimated two hour drive, then a three to five hour hike until you reach the lakes.

What’s there?

Elfin Lakes is home, naturally, to two small lakes. When they are thawed out they are a light blue colour. There is also a great view of the surrounding mountains, and a small cabin that can be reserved by hikers looking for a warm shelter.

Please keep in mind that the higher elevation leaves the lakes and trail frozen and covered in snow long into the summer months, so always make sure to check trail conditions before setting out, and bring proper footwear and gear.

Anyone who is planning to camp at Elfin Lakes (In the cabin OR outside) must have a Backcountry Camping Permit on their person.

Hey @lead2016 when’s the next adventure??

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For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.


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Chandler Walter
Staff Writer with Daily Hive. Langara Journalism Graduate, subpar photographer, and extremely mediocre tweeter. He wishes he knew how to whistle (even just a little bit) or type with all ten fingers. And yes, like from 'Friends.' Email your story to [email protected]

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