I remember when I first moved to Canada, I hadn’t done much hiking at all. I started with some easy hikes in Whistler and discovered I really liked the outdoors and enjoyed hiking. I was hooked and started putting together a hiking bucket list – which I’ve made a fair dent in already. When I first came across the Wedgemount Lake Hike I was wowed by it’s beauty. Looking at the stats and difficulty rating I wasn’t sure if I’d ever actually conquer this hiking trail. Well I’m happy to say I finally did!
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Where Is Wedgemount Lake?
WedgemountTLaTe is Tone of the best hikes in Whistler and is part of the Garibaldi Provincial Park which spans from north of Whistler all the way down to Squamish. This provincial Park is huge and has an abundance of hikes for differing levels.
The Wedgemount Lake Hike is around a 2-hour drive from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, so if you’re coming from that area, leave with plenty of time so you can make the most of daylight.
Wedgemount Lake Hike Stats
The hike to Wedgemount Lake is also one of the hardest in Whistler. The trail gains elevation almost immediately and is uphill for the majority of the hike.
The stats of this hike vary depending on which hiking website you go to. Since I had no GPS/tracking system with me I wasn’t able to get any stats on my own hike.
Most websites state the below stats for Wedgemount Lake/Glacier Hike:
Elevation Gain: 1200 metres
Return Trip Time: 5 – 8 Hours
Season: June – September
Dog Friendly: No
What To Pack For Wedgemount Lake Day Hike?
Wedgemount Lake is one of the hardest hikes in Whistler and you need to be prepared for a hike such as this. Always be prepared to spend the night, although the trail is pretty easy to follow it’s always possible to veer off trail and get lost. Always make sure you have the hiking essentials with you.
– Plenty of water and snacks. For a hike like this you will need lots of hydration and energy bars (I brought a cold fried chicken sandwich with me as motivation to reach the top!)
– First Aid Kit. Anything can happen on the trail so always best to be prepared
– Warm clothing. Temperatures can change drastically in the mountains and although it’s warm at the bottom it can get very cold at the top.
– Sunscreen and sunglasses. Even though this trail is shaded most of the way always have sun protection with you
– Bear spray and bug spray. In mid-September this trail wasn’t too bad for bugs but there is nothing worse than hating a hike because you are itching the entire time. Although I’ve yet to see bears in Garibaldi Park, they are definitely there! Always bring bear spray with you.
Getting To The Trailhead
Finding the turn-off for wedgemount is super easy. Head north on Highway 99 past the Whistler Village, not long after you pass Green Lake you’ll see a signpost saying Wedgemount and the turn off is shortly after this.
Once you turn off the highway, finding the parking lot is the hard part. If you’ve been here before you’ll know there’s several turn-offs and roads on the way into the parking lot and there’s no real signs for which one leads to the trailhead.
Once you turn off the highway take the first left and keep going, there will be one sign for the trailhead at the very beginning of this road and nothing after that, so just keep going. Once you reach a fork in the road keep right.
Once you reach the parking lot it will be very obvious – it’s a fairly well-maintained parking lot with quite a few spaces.
The trailhead for the actual hike can be easy to miss – it’s located in a shaded opening off a dirt road/path. Hikers have taped part of the trees & branches to make it obvious that this is the trailhead you need.
The Trail To Wedgemount Lake
The nice thing about the trail to Wedgemount is that it is mostly shaded which is so nice when you are sweating in the BC summer heat! You’ll also find stumps, logs etc along the way which you can sit on to take small breaks.
I started this hike at 6:30am and only encountered other hikers at the final ascent to the lake, most of them were campers heading down. I would recommend doing this hike as early in the morning as you can because hiking midday is not fun in the heat and it means you can get up and back down before the crowds arrive.
The trail is really easy to follow and worn-down, just follow the orange markers. Although the trail was relatively dry and worn-in it is still incredibly steep. We took lots of short water breaks and a snack break half way through.
Around 1.5 hours in we reached a huge boulder field. We mistakingly thought this was the final part of the hike because I’d read there is a steep climb towards the end of the trail. Keep going past this field and back into the cute forest. You’ll pass lots of little streams with stepping stones.
On the way up to the final climb are some of the most stunning views of the mountains in the distance as well as a waterfall.
Before heading up the final climb, we took a break and sat on the huge boulders that are sitting at the bottom of the hill.
The Final Scramble To The Top
The last scramble to the top is really the only technical part of the hike. Up until this point it was fairly easy in terms of technicality (not in terms of cardio though!) You will definitely need good grippy hiking shoes for this part of the hike as in the height of summer the dry dirt is really easy to slip on. This part probably took us around 45 minutes even though it is actually not that long in distance. Just take your time as the scramble is more than worth it!
Once you reach the top it’s a short walk until you get your first glimpses of that blue water. We found that there was no real trail down to the lake, just a big open space that seemed like a free for all. So we made our own trail.
We reached the lake at around 10am and on this particular day there was heavy winds. Since we were standing next to a glacial lake and glacier, the wind chill was really cold. Check the weather prior to hiking this trail and make sure you have appropriate clothing with you.
On a clear blue bird day the mountains and lake are just stunning. To your left you can see the amazing armchair glacier too – which is visible from Highway 99 when passing Green Lake.
Hike To Wegdemount Glacier
If you’d like to see the Wedgemount Glacier, it’s around another 45-minutes from the lake. The hike from Wedgemount Lake to the glacier is super easy and since you’ve climbed all that way you may as well take the walk to this beautiful glacier.
There was no one else at the glacier when we reached it. It was super nice to just sit back on some rocks, eat some snacks and enjoy the sound of nature. We also witnessed huge pieces of the glacier melt and fall into the lake.
Once you’ve spent some time up here, ate your snacks and refuelled it’s time to head back down. Taking the steep scramble down was much harder than going up. Not only was it easier to slip on the downhill but the trail was much busier now. With multiple people coming up and going down at the same time at different speeds it was somewhat hard to navigate. Don’t try to rush this and do it at your own pace to be safe.
After the last scramble going down is much easier. In total we did this hike in 7 hours including about 2ish hours at the lake.
Since this is such a steep hike, I would seriously recommend bringing hiking poles, or if you don’t already have them, purchasing them. The downhill on this hike had a massive impact on my knees and without the poles it could have been worse.
Camping is available at Wedgemount Lake as long as you reserve a spot in advance via the Discover Camping Website.
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