A Perfect First Hike of the Season: Wedgemount Lake

Upon arriving in Whistler, we were overwhelmed with the number of hikes on our doorstep. Choosing which to do first was a very difficult decision only made easier by the amount of snow still on the trails. By mid July, we heard that the hike to Wedgemount Lake was clear.

The Wedgemount Lake trail head is about 12km north of Whistler. Once turning off the Sea to Sky Highway, the road becomes dirt and is quite bumpy for the final couple of kilometres to the car park. A 4WD is not necessary, however we had to pick our way around pot-holes carefully. From this point, there are no facilities until you reach the lake and mobile phone reception is scarce.

The trail starts at the far end of the car park and follows Wedge Creek for a short time before beginning the steep 7km ascent. I had read articles about this hike prior to going and thought they were all being a little dramatic…. they weren’t! In total, you will gain 1200m of elevation, and with our overnight packs on you could feel every step!

 

 

For most of the ascent, we were surrounded by beautiful trees with the sun just peaking through the canopy above. This meant there were lots of tree roots to avoid tripping on and considerable concentration was required. At the 5km mark, the trees opened a little allowing us to see Wedgemount Falls. Despite being a fair way in the distance, it gave us some extra strength for our tired legs!

Another kilometre on and the trees were now very sparse. The soft, mossy ground had changed into sharp rock and what appeared to be a solid wall loomed in front of us. A quick break here gave us the energy we needed to make the final climb.

Good thing it was the last ascent because we were spent! The joy felt by our whole group was so intense as we saw the most beautiful blue lake in front of us. We made the short scramble down to the lake foreshore and set up camp. Our aches and pains of the arduous hike were immediately forgotten as we settled into our home for the night. It was the perfect spot to open a cider and share some cheese and crackers.

 

After feeling somewhat rested, we explored around the lake. There is a basic yet rustic hut available on a first come-first served basis which is also a good spot to store food if you are not carrying your own cache. Whilst we didn’t see any, bears are around this area so it is crucial to pack out what you pack in. A pit toilet is also available, however there is nothing glamorous about it!

Perching ourselves on a rocky outcrop, we were able to witness one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen. Perhaps it was the fact that we were the only people there to see it, or that it had been such a struggle to get there, but there was something magical about it.

The remainder of the night was spent eating dinner – consisting of instant noodles and semi cooked lentils, and chatting amongst friends. It was not long before we had all crashed out like a light. The night time temperature plummeted a lot lower than we had anticipated and despite extra layers we all ended up quite cold! The morning sun seemed a long time coming and was welcomed with open arms when it appeared. Some of us were so thrilled with the sight of the sun that a morning swim seemed like a good idea… it wasn’t! Turns out glacier fed water remains very brisk.

With lighter packs, our hike back down was much easier, although our knees still felt a lot of strain. Arriving back at the car was a welcome relief; we had done it! Our first hike of the season and it was a banger!

Things to remember:

  • You will need to make a reservation with BC Parks. This costs $10 per adult
  • There are no garbage facilities at Wedgemount Lake. Pack out what you pack in
  • Take plenty of warm clothes. Warm day time temps do not mean warm night time temps
  • Carry lots of water. There are few fill up points until you reach the lake. It is recommended to boil or treat water prior to drinking
  • This hike can easily be done as a day hike – having much lighter packs would be a bonus! However, being able to camp right on the lake makes it 100% worth it.

If reading isn’t your jam, you can watch my video recap!