Hiking season is long and so is the list of hikes available in the Sea to Sky region. Here are a few sure to impress you.
Rainbow Lake is located in Whistler and is one of the area’s most scenic and pristine alpine lakes. In August, the wildflowers around the lake are in full bloom and the views on a clear day are spectacular, with Black Tusk visible in the distance. The trail follows 21 Mile Creek as you pass Rainbow Falls near the beginning and climb gradually through a scenic forested trail. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. This trail closes during winter months, however, experienced snowshoers and cross-country skiers do use it during those months. Rainbow Lake is a source of Whistler’s drinking water and therefore, swimming in the lake and camping at the lake are NOT permitted. Camping is allowed at Hanging Lake, which is 1.5km beyond Rainbow Lake.
The hike to Wedgemount Lake is one of the most difficult in Garibaldi Provincial Park, with an elevation gain of more than 1100 meters in just 7km. However, the spectacular alpine scenery makes the grueling trek well worth it. Wedgemount Lake is an unbelievable turquoise colour and is surrounded by snow-capped, granite peaks. Just beyond the lake, and just as impressive, sits the Wedgemount Glacier. Before leaving, make sure you’ve packed plenty of water as well as a jacket. Temperatures can surprisingly be very cool at the top even on the warmest days in mid-summer. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. As of July 2021, folks coming to Garibaldi Provincial Park must reserve a free day-use permit before arriving. Every hiker, even folks going on short hikes must obtain the free permit. Reserve your free day-use permit now at discovercamping.ca.
The Stawamus Chief is one of the region’s classic hikes that takes you up the steep trail to one of its three peaks, offering incredible views of the area surrounding Squamish, including Howe Sound and north to Garibaldi Provincial Park. The hike to the top is challenging in sections and there are a few places where features help assist you, including a ladder and chains, but the reward is well worth the effort. A rough estimation of time would be 6-hours to complete depending on your level of fitness. Alternative, you could just go to the 1st or 2nd peaks which take roughly 2.5 hours to the top and back. It’s a rock-climbers paradise with hundreds of climbing routes and granite walls that will keep even the most advanced rock climbers challenged. Towering nearly 2,000 feet about Squamish, The Stawamus Chief is one of the largest granite monoliths in North America.
The Joffre Lake hike offers a little bit of everything. The Joffre Lake hike offers a little bit of everything you could want in a day hike. At 10 km, the hike to Joffre Lakes is not too long, but with a steady uphill climb and several technical sections, it still offers a challenge. There are three turquoise, glacier-fed lakes, each more spectacular than the last. The lakes are aptly named Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes. Along the way, you are also rewarded with creek crossings, a waterfall, and several viewpoints of the surrounding mountain range. Finally, there’s the scenery at the top, an up-close view of the Matier Glacier and a rugged campsite for those wanting to spend the night. B.C. Parks has implemented a Day-Use Pass system for this park from June 23 – Oct 22, 2021. Visitors will need to reserve free day-use passes ahead of time.