Squamish has some astoundingly beautiful snowshoe trails. The trail to Elfin Lakes is a pretty amazing trail to start with. The 11 kilometre trail ascends deep into Garibaldi Provincial Park and for much of the length you get jaw-dropping views. Elfin Lakes is a tough, 22k roundtrip trail, which makes for a long day. Shorter, yet still impressive trails such as the Brandywine Falls trail and the Bungee Bridge trail can be done in far less time.
Elfin Lakes is a wonderfully accessible, skiing and snowshoeing paradise at the southern end of Garibaldi Park. An amazing destination on its own, Elfin Lakes is also part of a gateway to so much more. The Gargoyles, Little Diamond Head, Opal Cone... There is a wonderful, extremely well equipped hut and campsites as well as a ranger station at the lakes. Staying at the amazing hut costs $15, cash only. You can pay with cash using an envelope drop-box at the trailhead or at the hut or you can pre-pay through the BCParks site online. Which sounds expensive until you see it. It looks more like a ski lodge than a mountain hut. Complete with solar powered lights, heat, propane stoves and room for 33 to sleep. You will find envelopes to pay at the trailhead. Camping away from the hut costs $10. Once again that seem expensive, but the area is very beautiful and popular so park rangers are nearly always around to keep things nice and functional. 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 Red Heather Hut is warm and welcoming. 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. Also, there is a considerable amount of elevation gain and loss along the way and you move through several gradual peaks and valleys...
Why should you snowshoe to Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park?
The views after the 5k mark are constantly beautiful. The trail is well marked and can be navigated under the stars with good lights and skill. The Elfin Lakes Trail is challenging and a great snowshoeing workout at 11k to the hut or 22k roundtrip in a day. The Hut, as huts go is magnificent. Busy on weekends and often deserted weekdays, you may have this house in the mountains to yourselves. It is a fantastic mountain experience complete with a cute, wood-fire heated hut at 5k that is ideal for a leisurely lunch, glass of wine or toasting marshmallows with the kids.
Black Tusk towering in the distance so close and blanketed in wonderful, beautiful snow. You can snowshoe this route via on one way and by on the return journey. The / trail forks partway up, left goes to , right to Garibaldi Lake (the trail joins again at the far side of both). , so massive and dramatically beautiful in the winter, a huge frozen valley. The downside to this hike is the length of hiking to get to the beautiful parts. In the summer it's not so bad as the trailhead is a moderately difficult 9k from . In the winter however, the trailhead parking lot is unplowed almost down to the highway. So just to get to the summer trailhead requires about a 2k uphill snowshoe slog. If you snowshoe the beautiful route to and return via the route is 25 kilometres long and very strenuous as a one day snowshoe trip. Camping at either or are great options if you can stand the cold and are well prepared. If you plan to do this trip in one day be sure to leave very early and be well prepared for winter hiking. In the winter the days are very short so always have lights with you. Although the trail will likely be tracked out by previous hikers and skiers, having a gps is an excellent backup in case you lose the trail. If you are not troubled by a lot of exertion then it's a wonderful snowshoe destination. Like Joffre Lakes it is frequented by skiers just enough to ensure an almost constant track throughout the winter so you can concentrate more on the scenery then keeping from getting lost. Another nice attribute of this hike is the fact that you can snowshoe through beautiful on the way up then across to on the way back, therefore doing a little snowshoe circle route before heading back to your car at Rubble Creek.is a beautiful 25k round-trip snowshoeing trail in Garibaldi Park, just 25 minutes north of Squamish. Beautiful snowy meadows surrounded by mountains everywhere you look.
Why should you snowshoe to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake?
It is a challenging, strenuous snowshoeing trail in the winter that is usually easy to follow due to its frequent use by skiers and snowshoers. If you enjoy winter camping, the Taylor Meadows Campground is a winter paradise for you. Amazing views all around and you have the option of snowshoeing a different route for part of the way back to the trailhead (via Garibaldi Lake).
Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, just a short, 25 minute drive north of Squamish is a nice and easy snowshoe trail in the winter. Usually from December to March you will find the entrance gate to the park on the Sea to Sky Highway closed. Some winters, you will see a mountain of snow, plowed from the highway on and adjacent to the gate. If you have snowshoes you can climb over this mountain of snow quite easily and make your way across the parking lot to the the trailhead and bridge. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park has the amazing, Sea to Sky Trail run right through it and you will notice several signs and map-boards along the trail. The Sea to Sky Trail runs for 180 kilometres, from Squamish all the way to D'Arcy. The Sea to Sky Trail runs along the Sea to Sky Highway for a while until it reaches Brandywine Park, where it then heads into the wilderness around Whistler. It winds through Whistler for over 30 kilometres before finally coming out at the Sea to Sky Highway, well north of Whistler Village. The trail to Brandywine Falls is very easy, wide and flat making it suitable for anyone. If you don't have snowshoes, you could probably get to the falls without them, however if lots of recent snow has fallen, you will get fairly wet on the way.
Why should you snowshoe to Brandywine Falls?
Brandywine Falls is a very easy, family friendly snowshoe trail. You can go from your car to deep snow in just seconds. Brandywine Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Sea to Sky corridor.
The Brandywine Falls is a fantastic snowshoeing route that leads to the amazing Whistler Bungee Bridge. Just a 25 minute drive north of Squamish gets you to the parking and trailhead at the edge of the Sea to Sky Highway. Snowshoeing from the parking lot (edge of highway in the winter) to Brandywine Falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. Brandywine Falls drop an amazing 66 metres (216 feet) into the chasm far below that the viewing platform extends over. Another trail extends past this viewing area leading to another, quieter area overlooking Daisy Lake. This area is just a short, minute or two walk from the first viewing area. During the winter months the parking lot gate to the large parking area is locked and buried in snow. The snowplows make room for cars at the edge of the highway making Brandywine Falls, the Sea to Sky Trail, and the Cheakamus Bungee Bridge accessible year-round. You can often hike to the falls on foot if the snow is hard enough, but most likely you will need snowshoes or skis between December and March. This area is popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The Sea to Sky Trail runs through Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and you will immediately see Sea to Sky Trail signs from the parking lot. From the parking lot you cross the covered bridge, turn right and after just a couple hundred metres you will see a Sea to Sky Trail branch off to the left. This trail meanders through the forest and rises up to a plateau with views of Black Tusk and the distant Daisy Lake. Further along, (3 kilometres from the trailhead), you will come to the amazing Bungee Bridge that crosses the Cheakamus River from a dizzying height.
Why should you snowshoe Brandywine Falls to the Bungee Bridge?
is located at the southern end of Whistler, 51 kilometres north of Squamish. This well marked, though beautifully remote feeling snowshoeing trail takes you along both sides of the wildly crashing Cheakamus River. Snow begins to fall in earnest in the Whistler area in November so the best months for snowshoeing the are from late November to early April. The best routes is to walk/snowshoe from your car for about 100 metres following the road to Cheakamus Lake. At about 100 metres you will see a branching road go to the right and a large, vehicle bridge cross the Cheakamus River. Cross the bridge and you will immediately see a trail on your left running along the river. This trail, with Cheakamus River on your left will descend and ascend through a beautiful forest. Sometimes close to the river, sometimes 100 metres away. As these trails are popular in the summer for hiking and biking they are well marked with signs. Keep to the signs aiming for the which is 2k from where you parked and should take about an hour to reach. Once you reach the suspension bridge you can cross it and return to your car from the other side of the river. You will see a trail on the other side of the bridge on your left.
Why should you snowshoe Cheakamus River in Whistler?
It is very a beautiful and constantly varying trail. One minute you are looking down on the chaotically beautiful Cheakamus River from above, the next minute you are snaking through a forest of massive trees and the next minute you are high above the river in the middle of the impressive suspension bridge looking beneath your feet at the river. The is moderately easy though impressive and fun. The snow gets very deep and untouched in the area so that you can literally jump off the trail into waist deep powder snow. The trail length is perfect for a relaxing snowshoeing outing as it is just two or three hours trailhead to trailhead. Great for kids as they will be constantly jumping off the trail, down into the deep snow.
Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. Over the next fifty years this wreckage has evolved into an absolutely amazing place to snowshoe, the Whistler Train Wreck. The cost to clean up the wreckage was deemed too high, so seven train cars were left scattered next to the Cheakamus River. As it turns out, time and local effort has transformed this mess into a wonderful work of art, an extraordinary bike park in the summer, and a great place to snowshoe in the winter. The Cheakamus River winds its way, crashing and emerald green along the length of the Whistler Train Wreck, and there are several spectacular river vantage points that shouldn't be missed. The whole length of the train wreck and Cheakamus River hike is 3 kilometres (each way) and the trails go along the beautiful river as well as several, widely spaced train wrecks. The Whistler Train Wreck trailhead is best reached by starting at the easy to find, Flank Trail trailhead in Function Junction, just 8k south of Whistler Village. The Flank Trail trailhead is easy to spot. A small "Flank Trail" sign sits at the edge of Alpha Lake Road just before Alpha Lake Road bends sharply right. The Flank Trail immediately runs into the deep forest as it follows the river away from Function Junction. There trail is easy to follow and well used. There is only one part of the trail that may get you lost. About five minutes into the trail you will exit the forest and walk along a wide, clear gravel area. Keep your eyes out for the trail across the clearing..
Why should you snowshoe to the Whistler Train Wreck?
Whistler Train Wreck is an easy and beautiful trail. One of the nicest, easy snowshoeing and hiking trails in Whistler as you see both an amazing train wreck, turned work of art as well as the amazing Cheakamus River. Family friendly (easy), and close and convenient to Whistler Village as it is just 8 kilometres south in Function Junction.