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Recommended This Week

2018 June Hiking Guide Squamish

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June Trails Guide - Squamish & Sea to Sky Trails


Stawamus Chief - Squamish Trails in JuneJune in Garibaldi Park is the first month of the year where you feel proper summer weather, and much like May, most of the hiking trails are almost completely empty.  This is of course due largely to the sometimes deep, lingering snow that makes the trails difficult and some requiring snowshoes to access.  In Squamish, The Chief, Shannon Falls and Upper Shannon Falls are all Squamish Hiking - Shannon Falls Provincial Parkexcellent to hike.  In 2017 many of the hikes closer to Whistler were free of snow in late May.  Cheakamus Lake, Ancient Cedars, Alexander Falls, Brandywine Falls, Nairn Falls, Train Wreck and the the trail to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake will be quickly emerging from the snowy winter of 2017/2018.  Nairn Falls and Train Wreck are generally free of snow in early April.  Up in Whistler, hiking from the Village to Russet Lake via Singing Pass is an interesting option in June.  The trail is continuously steep, long and any snow encountered will be well packed down from backcountry skiers from their return from Russet Lake.  The trailhead is just a few hundred metres from the Whistler Gondola and runs in between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains on theSquamish Hiking - Upper Shannon Falls Whistler side.  After 3k you walk directly under the Peak to Peak gondola, as it passes far overhead.  The trail continues steadily uphill through the deep forest, though very well marked trail which is used continuously in the winter by skiers doing the Spearhead Traverse.  Snow will be encountered in June around half way up the trail so having snowshoes might Brandywine Falls Provincial Parkbe handy to avoid post holing at times.  At 11k you reach the junction where you can turn right to hike Musical Bumps on Whistler (another 4k to the amazing summit), or turn left and reach Russet Lake and the beautiful little hut there (another 3k).  You could easily argue that late June is the best time of year to hike in Garibaldi Park.  No crowds, not that there really ever is in much of the park, with the exception of the Garibaldi Lake area in the summer and on other trails the odd weekends.  In June there are no bugs.  An extraordinarily wonderful thing, as you will appreciate if you can contrast the lack of bugs in June with the swarms of flies and mosquitoes Alexander Falls Provincial Parkyou can encounter in July and August.  Not that the Garibaldi Park trails are notorious for bugs.  But once you hike in June and suddenly realize you've not seen one single irritating insect.  Hiking in July and August take on a previously unnoticed annoyance with bugs.  The third great reason June is great for hiking is the occasion to camp on snow, and yet not feel cold.  As the snow in many places Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Parkyou will find to camp would have reached 5 metres deep in the winter, it takes considerable days of hot weather to melt it by July, so in late June you may still be putting up your tent on snow, though be hot enough to walk around shirtless and shoeless.  The difficult answer is when the snow is gone enough to hike comfortably without snowshoes in Garibaldi Park.  The simple answer is usually late June, but recent years that date was well into July due to the extraordinarily late accumulation of snow.  The BC Parks website has fantastic and frequent trail updates with regards to snow levels.  So for June hiking in Squamish, if Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Parkyou are motivated enough for a little extra exertion hiking in the snow, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable hiking experience.  Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk, Wedge Mountain are examples of these incredible places to try in June.  Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park in Squamish is always amazing and in early June the lakes are sometimes buried in snow and in late Skookumchuck Hot SpringsJune they emerge as the days in the alpine start to hit 20c. Joffre Lakes is one of the best hikes in June as it's reliably free of snow, usually.  The snow disappears faster from the trail there, and what snow remains is consistently packed down by skiers, snowshoers and hikers.  To hike Joffre Lakes in June you just need good warm clothes, good waterproof shoes for the mud and snow patches and the foresight or luck to go on a sunny day.Squamish Hiking Trails - Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park The lake is amazing in good weather so try your best to go on nice days.  The various hot springs north of Squamish and Whistler are great in June as the roads are all free of snow leading to them.  Skookumchuck Hot Springs and Sloquet Hot Springs can be done on one trip as they are on the same road (3hrs for Skookumchuck and 4hrs for Sloquet from Squamish).  Both have excellent campsites.  Meager Creek Hot Springs is still technically closed due to the massive slide in 2010 but can be accessed by the adventurous by hiking in via the Harrison Trail built last year.  Keyhole Hot Springs is also for the adventurous as it's tricky to find and to hike to.  The trail is tricky and treacherous.  Lots of ups and downs as you skirt the river for 2 kilomtres.  Unfortunately it looks like Keyhole will be closed for the next couple years due to grizzly bear activity in the area.  For a look at the top 5 best easy hiking trails in Squamish click hereBest moderate trails here, and best challenging hiking around Squamish and Garibaldi Provincial Park click here.  For some amazing driving destinations around Squamish try here.

 

Elfin Lakes Snowshoeing - Squamish Hiking

Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park


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

In 2018 a lot of changes with Garibaldi Provincial Park’s campsite reservations. The first big change is that overnight camping fees are required at all campgrounds, year-round.  It is still free to day hike in the park, but sleeping in the park requires a reservation and camping fees apply in all areas of Garibaldi Park.  You can’t pay by cash or at the trailheads or at the campgrounds.  Reservations must be made in advance via the BC Parks online reservation service or at the call center.  It is a pretty organized and fair reservation system.  Fairly easy to use online and reasonably priced.  The revenue goes into maintaining trails, access roads, parking lots, park buildings and snow removal.

The second big change this year for Garibaldi Provincial Park is that for the first time you can legally register and pay to camp in the backcountry beyond the official campsites. Wilderness camping permits are available to mountaineers, climbers, ski tourers, and other visitors with advanced skills in wilderness travel and camping, within the wilderness camping zone. The areas you can wilderness camp is quite restricted in an effort to not overrun the park and maintain some control over the massive numbers of hikers in the park.  Backcountry Camping Permits for Garibaldi Park cost the same as the campsite fees: $10 per person, per night.  Children 6-16 years old pay $5 per person, per night and kids under 6 years old are free.

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 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.

Elfin Lakes Trail Above the CloudsThe 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.

The Elfin Lakes Hut

As this trail is within Garibaldi Provincial 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 difficult 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.

Diamond Head Elfin Lakes Trail Map

Garibaldi Provincial Park Reservations 2018


In 2018 a lot of changes with Garibaldi Provincial Park’s campsite reservations.  The first big change is that overnight camping fees are required at all campgrounds, year-round. It is still free to day hike in the park, but sleeping in the park requires a reservation and camping fees apply in all areas of Garibaldi Park.  You can’t pay by cash or at the trailheads or at the campgrounds.  Reservations must be made in advance via the BC Parks online reservation service or at the call center.  It is a pretty organized and fair reservation system.  Fairly easy to use online and reasonably priced.  The revenue goes into maintaining trails, access roads, parking lots, park buildings and snow removal.

Staying at the Elfin Lakes Hut costs a bit more at $15 per adult, per night and kids 6-15 pay $10 per person, per night.  Kids under 6 are free.  The Elfin Lakes Hut fee includes your backcountry camping permit, so one adult staying in the Hut pays a total of $15.  If you want to stay in the Wedgemount Lake hut or the Russet Lake hut, you simply buy a campsite pass and if the hut has an empty bed when you arrive, you take it.  There are no reservations for these two smaller huts and the rule is simply first come, first served.

The second big change this year for Garibaldi Provincial Park is that for the first time you can legally register and pay to camp in the backcountry beyond the official campsites. Wilderness camping permits are available to mountaineers, climbers, ski tourers, and other visitors with advanced skills in wilderness travel and camping, within the wilderness camping zone. The areas you can wilderness camp is quite restricted in an effort to not overrun the park and maintain some control over the massive numbers of hikers in the park.  Backcountry Camping Permits for Garibaldi Provincial Park cost the same as the campsite fees: $10 per person, per night.  Children 6-16 years old pay $5 per person, per night and kids under 6 years old are free.

There are two ways to book a reservation to camp in Garibaldi Provincial ParkReserve online 24 hours once the inventory is available for booking.  For mobile devices, scroll to bottom of page and click “Switch to Full Site”.  Or via the Call Centre (an additional $5 surcharge applies): 1-800-689-9025 (toll free Canada) +1-519-826-6850 (International) 7:00 am-7:00 pm seven days a week.  Some of the Garibaldi Park trailheads don’t have reliable cell coverage, so don’t forget to book your reservation  before you start hiking!  When you book online or by phone you will need the following information.  Your arrival date, your desired campground, your group size.  Then you have to pick the number of tent pads your party requires.  At tent pad is 10 feet by 10 feet and usually accommodates one tent.  Each tent pad can fit a maximum of 4 people.   For Elfin Shelter choose one “tent pad” per party (up to 4 people).  Choose your itinerary for each night.  Click “reserve”  Fill in the permit holder and camping party information.   Pay for your reservation with your credit card.

Reserve Now BC Parks Garibaldi Park

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