Squamish Hiking Trail RatingElfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park is an absolutely phenomenal, though long, hiking, biking, snowshoeing and skiing trail that begins at the Diamond Head area in Squamish.  From Whistler Village, the trailhead is just over an hours drive away, located near the south end of Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Garibaldi Park is the massive wilderness park of nearly two thousand square kilometres that stretches from Squamish to Pemberton.

  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProTrail has several amazing views
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProDeep, mostly untouched wilderness
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProGreat swimming at Elfin Lakes
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProThe hut is amazing, heated & huge
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProThe hut has a wonderful history
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProLots of terrain beyond the lakes
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ProThere is a route to Garibaldi Lake!
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ConOften crowded even in the winter
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ConGaribaldi Park is not dog friendly
  • Squamish Hiking Trails ConTire chains needed until late spring

Squamish Hiking Trails

Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingAlice Lake Hiking Trail ModerateBlack Tusk Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingBrandywine Falls Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyBrew Lake Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake Hiking Trail ModerateElfin Lakes Hiking Trail ModerateGaribaldi Lake Hiking Trail HardHigh Falls Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingLevette Lake Hiking Trail ModeratePanorama Ridge Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRing Lake Pay Use Hiking TrailSea2Sky Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingShannon Falls Hiking Trail HardThe Chief Hiking Trail ModerateTaylor Meadows Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyThe Lions Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyUpper Shannon

If you are driving the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, Garibaldi Park will be the vast wilderness of snow-capped mountains on your right.  The Elfin Lakes Trail is very well marked and maintained and leads to the wonderful, Elfin Lakes Hut.  This amazing hut sleeps 33 and is solar powered and propane heated.

There is a charge of $15/person(payable online) to stay the night there which is a small price to pay for the beautiful comfort after the long, 11 kilometre snowshoe or hike to get there.  This area is very popular with skiers as well as snowshoers in the winter and deep snow covers the trail usually from November to June.

The trail to Elfin Lakes starts out ascending through deep forest, reaching the Red Heather Hut after 5k.  This is a small warming hut equipped with a wood stove complete with a stack of wood free to use, though sleeping here is for emergencies only.  The final 6k from this hut to Elfin Lakes takes you along a beautiful ridge with amazing views of snowy mountains all around.  The sheer distance of this snowshoeing trail ranks it as difficult, though overall you will just be doing a moderately steady ascending trail. Expect to take four hours to reach the Elfin Lakes Hut as you are almost constantly ascending a gradual, though consistently uphill trail. There are several jaw-dropping views along this final 6k stretch.  This trail is so well marked with orange poles and tree markers that you can reliably find your way after dark or before sunrise with good lights to assist you.  You often see, with some shock, skiers trudging up the trail, not far from the trailhead after the sun has set.  Making their way to the Elfin Lakes Hut in the dead of night seems to be a pastime of quite a few local skiers and boarders.

As this trail is within Garibaldi Park, dogs are not allowed.  This is a courtesy to all the animals that inhabit the park and the potential disturbance that dogs my introduce to their environment.  BC Parks staff can issue fines for dogs in the park.  Though it is rare, it does happen as Elfin Lakes is regularly staffed with rangers and even has a separate ranger station near the Elfin Lakes Hut.  Getting to the trailhead can be problematic during periods of heavy snow.  The gravel road runs deep and high into the mountains to the trailhead parking lot.  You should be prepared with tire chains and may have to walk from the lower parking lot below the main, usually deep with snow trailhead parking lot.

Driving to the Elfin Lakes trailhead is quite fun as you emerge from the tacky strip mall along the Sea to Sky Highway and quickly ascend into the wilderness.  If you are driving south from Whistler you turn left after Canadian Tire onto Mamquam Road and continue past the golf course on your right and then through Quest University.  Not long after you pass the university the road narrows and turns from pavement to gravel. In the winter months you have to be prepared for snow on the road and several signs will indicate chains must be carried. You may be able to drive to the trailhead, then return from your hike a day or two later to a metre of snow on the access road.  You will get little sympathy from road crews if you find yourself stranded due to poor planning.  There is another parking lot before the main parking lot at the trailhead.  It is located before the last steep and if snow covered, potentially dangerous final section of road.  If you are worried about driving on steep, snowy sections of road, be sure to park at this lower area. Continued here...

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Hike in Squamish

Mount Garibaldi is the huge, potentially active volcano that Garibaldi Provincial Park is named after.  Mount Garibaldi also lends its name to the Garibaldi ...
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Hoary Marmots are the cute, pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas around Whistler.  ...
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Tarn: a small alpine lake.  The word tarn originates from the Norse word tjorn which translates to English as pond.  In the United Kingdom, tarn is widely ...
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The Table is an extraordinary flat-topped mountain located in Garibaldi Park just one kilometre south of Garibaldi Lake.  Sometimes reflexively referred to as ...
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Coast Douglas-fir trees are medium to extremely large trees that you will encounter in Whistler and Garibaldi Park. They are the second tallest conifer ...
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The Spearhead Range is a subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges that runs in an arc that connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  The Spearhead ...
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Overlord Mountain is the highest peak in the Fitzsimmons Range.  Overlord is surrounded by several mountains that collectively are named the Overlord ...
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The Coast Mountains run from the Yukon down to Vancouver along the west coast of British Columbia in a band that averages 300 kilometres wide(190 miles).  ...
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November in Whistler is when the temperatures plummet and the first heavy snow falls in the alpine and often in Whistler Village.  The hiking opportunities become ...
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December hiking in Whistler is mainly done on snowshoes, though if it hasn't snowed for a few days, trails to Whistler Train Wreck and Rainbow Falls can ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
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Rent Hiking Gear Whistler & Garibaldi Park

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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Ring Lake is a fantastically serene and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake, but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre(6.2 mile) hike takes you through a rarely hiked forest, ...
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The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverley ...
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Russet Lake is a surreal little paradise that lays at the base of The Fissile, in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Fissile is the strikingly bronze mountain visible from Whistler Village.  From the Village ...
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