One of my favourite hikes in BC is Wedgemount Lake, it was the hardest hike I’ve ever done but wow was it worth it! It’s only a short drive from Whistler which makes it the perfect opportunity for a day hike or overnight camp at the lake. This gem of a hike should be on your list and I want to share with you why it’s a must do hike when you’re in Whistler!
As always please practice these Leave No Trace Principles. When we do our part, we will protect the beauty of the outdoors for future generations.
If you’re staying in Vancouver for a few days then check out my favourite spots to eat and if you’re going down the coast to Oregon then these are some tips you should know before you go!
Length: 14 km
Elevation Gain: 1400 m
Best Time to Visit: June – October
Total Hours: 5-6 hours depending on fitness level
Note: Bring lots of food, water and snacks, hiking boots are a must, poles are a life saver and no dogs allowed!
What you need before you go
In the summer you need a day pass that you can reserve at 7am 1 day prior to your intended trip. If you’d like to camp at the lake then permits go on sale 2 months in advance. There are 20 spots available and cost $26 for 2 people per tent pad. Reservations are competitive so ensure you are on the website at 7am 2 months prior to your intended date. The reservations aren’t released by month, they are released on a day to day basis.
Be sure to print or save your permit on your phone prior to getting into the parks. You may not have service to access the website when you arrive so being prepared is better!
How to get to Wedgemount Lake
Wedgemount Lake is about and hour and a half drive from Vancouver and only an additional 10 minute drive from Whistler. When you’re approaching the turn off there is no obvious sign so be sure to pay attention to Google Maps. You’ll drive over a railroad and then reach a small gravel parking lot, keep driving until you reach a fork in the road and then take a left and drive 2 km until you reach a large 2 tier parking lot. Arrive before 10am to ensure you get a spot on weekends since many of the cars already in the car park are people who camped over night so that only leaves about 30 spots for day hikers.
Trail Details + What to see
The trail is well marked once you leave the parking lot, there are lots of orange ribbons along the way. You’ll see a small sign labeled Wedgemount Lake with an arrow and then you’ll follow this small trail into the forest and it does open up after a few minutes.
Once you reach a large boulder field this is the half way point, it’s a great stopping point to eat food and filter water in the stream. This will be the only water source until you reach the lake. There’s a steady incline through the trees and then you’ll reach another boulder field and just across the field is the scramble. If you’re like me and have never done a scramble before it can be a little daunting. It’s not a quick scramble either, it takes about 30-45minutes until you reach the very top. The rocks are not sturdy so going up or down when busy is not ideal because rocks can hit you from other people on the trail.
At the top you’ll see a hut and that’s when you know you’ve reach the top! There are 3 camping pads at the hut as well as a place to hang food. These spots fill up the quickest. We walked down the other side of the ridge for another 15mins until we reached Wedgemount Lake and around the lake there are another 15 tent pads spread out. We stayed at the foot of the lake which was so beautiful and definitely recommended! There’s another spot to hang food and a stream to filter water whereas the pads at the top of the ridge don’t have a water source.
Now that you’ve set up camp at the lake or are just visiting for the day you have to walk a little bit further to reach Wedgemount Glacier!I know… I know at this point you’re probably exhausted but find the energy to visit the glacier it is amazing! It’s only an extra hour round trip from the tent pads at the lake. Follow the trail towards the large boulders, it’s an easy climb and then you’ll be greeted by another smaller blue lake and Wedgemount glacier!
What to Bring
Here’s what I recommend to be well prepared for this hike. One the second day when we made our decent I was in a severe calorie deficit and exhausted and so I want you to make sure you have everything you need for this amazing hike and come prepared! We saw people on the trail with flip flops….(i’m not joking) and others with 1 water bottle to last them the day.
Day Trip List
- 3L of water (1 bottle to drink and the other to filter water)
- Purification Tablets
- High protein lunch and snacks
- Emergency Kit
- Bug Spray
- Hiking Poles (strongly suggest)
Overnight List (all of the above plus these extras)
- Toilet Paper
- Sanitary Items
- Camp Stove
- Dehydrated Meals
- Sleeping Bag
- Hiking clothes for the next day and clothes for the camp site
- Puffer Jacket
- Rain Coat
- Power Bank
- 65L Backpack
- Book (optional)
- Bathing Suit (optional)
This hike in Whistler is very special and I hope you get a chance to experience it for yourself one day!
Josy A says
Beeeautiful! I have been meaning to do this one for a while, but I always get put off my the steepness. I need to get my arse in gear and just do it. 🙂
I think camping by the lake looks waaay nicer. Waking up to those views making the hard trek up worth it.
The steepness was really tough for me too, it took me 7 hours to get down with my overnight pack. Definitely need to train more before I do this one again! Camping right at the lake was the best decision!!
I haven’t made it over to Whistler yet but I can’t wait to – hopefully next year when I’m back home. This looks like a great hiking trail to go on so I will save it for then!
I love to hear that, hopefully you get a chance next year!!
That is huge on the elevation gain. Great job! My husband and I have been doing lots of hikes around Colorado this summer as a way to be socially distanced. I think I would have to think twice about the elevation gain on this hike. The miles/KM is doable.
Love that idea, i’m sure Colorado has some awesome hikes! Yes it was quite steep and something I wasn’t ready for. The km’s were good but it’s basically an incline all the way up, worth it for the views but I need to train a little more next time!