Backpack to Lake Lovely Water

8 miles 3840 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Matt Hosford

Lake Lovely Water is one of the best Kept Secret in Vancouver - Whistler Area. Enjoy beautiful, sanctioned campsites, canoeing on the lake, and very few people around.

This adventure is one of the best kept secrets in the Whistler area, let alone, British Columbia. The trailhead for Lake Lovely Water is located on the west side of the Squamish River. There is no road access to the trailhead so you need to cross the river via boat. Make reservations with the jet boat operation prior to the trip. There is overnight parking in the parking lot across from The Watershed Grill (49°45’409.2”N, 122°57’27.5”W). Alternatively, people rent or bring their canoes/kayaks and lock them up on the other side. For jetboat service across the Squamish River, call Jay Bricknell at 604-815-9647 or 1-866-466-2628.

Once at the trailhead, the trail is straight forward up to Lake Lovely Water. The trail begins relatively flat for the first 0.5 km / 0.3 mile and then turns steep as the trail climbs its way up the valley wall. The trail is rugged making progress slow. The large old growth forest and rushing river below create a great ambiance while you stop to catch your breath.

The trail only flattens out once you reach the bottom of Lake Lovely Water. At the fork, the trail to the right crosses the river and goes to the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) hut ($25 a night), a few camp spots and the dock with two canoes. Only paid hut members have access to the canoes.

The trail to the left hugs the southern edge of the lake for two kilometers and ends at a small beach campsite. Set up camp and enjoy the glacial views on the other side of the lake. Take the canoes out for a spin if you’ve paid the ACC fee.

There are a number of peaks and ridges to scramble up so the next morning follow the trail up the creek next to the campsite to Niobe Basin. From here Mt. Omega, Mt. Niobe, Mt Pelops and Iota Mountain stand before you. Go southwest up to the Omega-Pelops col and soak in the glorious views.

If time & energy permits, there are more trails on the north side of Lake Lovely Water or just crack open that wine and paddle the lake.

Once back in Squamish, head over to The Howe Sound Brewery to celebrate.


  • Trailhead Coordinates: 49.797919, -123.206504
  • Beach Campground: 49.779172, -123.254040
  • Niobe Basin: 49.776612, -123.252167
  • The Watershed Grill
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Picnic Area


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Overall rating: 

Parking on private property

Alot of people are parking at 9.5 mile on reserve. I work as bylaw officer for Squamish Nation . We are going to have to start charging for parking ?! They are now parking overload. Contact me via email. Are we will start towing them away .


Did this hike Saturday morning and came back Sunday morning. We booked with Jay who picked us up via jet boat at Watershed Grill and boated us about 20 minutes upstream to the trail head. Jay was epic and had cold beers for us when he came back to get us the next day! The jet boat ride was the most fun of part. It took us almost 5 hours up and 3.5 hours down. This hike is NOT for the faint of heart or for the inexperienced hiker! There is a reason that people helicopter in and out of this location!!! Going up is gruesome; especially with heavy overnight packs on. You are literally climbing up "ladders" of tree roots and rocks -- think the Grouse Grind but super back country harder. Some sections you are bush walking and walking through thorn bushes that make you itchy if you grab them. Watch out for wasp nests inside some of the tree roots too! One of our girls got stung 4-5 times on the way down. Once you get to the top it really is beautiful! The lake is so refreshing for a swim and the views are seriously epic. The mosquitoes and black flies are on a mission to eat you alive so definitely bring bug spray! The tent pads are nicely spaced out and I briefly went into the hut and it looked well-equipped. You are not allowed to use the hut or the canoes on the lake unless you pay the fee to stay in the hut which is about $35 a night if you are a non-member. It makes it feel kind of disheartening when you get up there and people who have helicoptered in are partying and you are completely dehydrated and exhausted. It was really busy when we went up -- the hut was fully booked (16-20 ppl) and every tent pad was taken up and some people who arrived late via hiking had to camp wherever they could find a space. Tent pads are first-come, firt-serve and you can't book them ahead of time. Saw a tent next to the outhouse and also on the cooking platform where the bear cache is. Hiking down was a lot scarier than up and it really wrecks your knees! I am relatively fit and have done some pretty decent treks in my day but I can say that I would never do this hike again. There was a medical incident on our way that we had to help with and that was a bit traumatizing. On the way down someone who had partied a little too much the night before looked really rough and not prepared for the journey down. Use your common sense when you attempt something like this! Stay hydrated, have a big meal and be ready to sweat your ass off and destroy your lower body. This one is physically and mentally challenging! The views on the way up and down and the lake are 5-star... the hike itself I would give 3-stars :)


The experience is unbelievable. Half our group hiked, while the other half helicoptered in with all the gear (Black Tusk Heli was awesome and reasonably priced). Staying in the cabin was comfortable and cozy at night with everyone. You really don't need to bring any cooking utensils, it's all there. Having access to the canoes (if you pay for the cabin) is another huge perk. You can go for a leisurely paddle or access more hiking routes that are breathtaking. Hiking down was a bit tough on the body (and that was without the packs). We arranged for Jetboat Jay to come get us. His wife arrived on time and with a canoe (which was a cool experience paddling across) and cold beers. What an ending! We thought they were lovely people and got some great insight on some other neat places to hike in the area that you wouldn't really know about. Everything about the trip was worth it, spending the money on the cabin, transportation and strong bug spray ;)

What a brutal hike and what a beautiful lake!

I booked with Jay, Squamish Jet boat over a month ahead for about 8 ppl in my group. We were alittle worried about Jay not showing up or late because of the bad review online. It turns out to be a fun ride. The ride is about 15 min from the boat launch to the trailhead. We even saw a group of Elk crossing the river while we were heading up on the boat! We booked for 9am on Aug 20, 2016, and Jay was only late for about 6 min. He showed up with the jetboat. We were having such a fun ride just going up to the trailhead! (same as coming back!). This lake was high up in the mountain, it took us between 4hour to 5hours to hike up there. And the path just gets steeper and steeper when you get all the way up, especially last hour was just brutal. It is a beautiful trail though. There were quite a few camping pad just around the hut when we arrived. We didn't book the hut because we were only there for 1 night and it was a sunny day. There were few groups flew in with helicopter or float plane. Apparently if you have 10 ppl, you can fly into the lake for about $290 a person. I might do it if I were to stay more than couple days on the lake. We were only there for 1 night, so $50 for the boat ride return plus 4 hours of brutal hike is worth the effort. We went in the hot day, so there were quite a bit of bugs flying around. It is kinda annoying but the water still very nice to swim. You can use the canoe to canoe into other side of the lake. We didn't get to the "beach" part of the lake because it is another 2.5km plus 300m elevation and none of us have that energy to hike another hour to get there. The beach area seems small, you can probably fit like max 4 to 5 tents. We canoed there and found there are a group of ppl came by float plane and took up half of the beach with all their equipment. We stayed by the hut side, there's no nice beach entry except there's a dock. We hang out by the logs area, and it was decent and we just happy to make it there and relax for the rest of the afternoon. On the way back, it took us longer than we heading up, due to the steepness, so our group really took the time and rest. We make sure our knees will still be okay when we are done. And when we reach the trailhead. Jay already left a bucket of beer for us! What a treat!!! On the way back it was pouring rain but that 15 min of Jetboat ride was still fun to be on! If people having trouble reaching Jay, Squamish Jetboat. You need to text and email them to make a reservation early. There isn't much choices, you could try to kayak or canoe to the trailhead but it is also against current. For us, it will be too time consuming and just too much effort. If you want to use the jetboat, try to have at least 5ppl or if you go there on a good day on a weekend, you have a higher chances combining with other groups to go there without booking.

best adventure

We hitched a ride with jay from brackendale in his jet boat up to the TH, boat ride itself was pretty amazing. The hike was a grueller ! It took about 4 hours. There's some awesome water falls on the way up and the lake is well worth the hike. We spent the night on the "sandy beach" as we did not rent the cabin. The way down was as hard as going up. Jay picked us up in his canoe for the trip back and he drove us back to our truck. He explained to us that he needs at least 5 people to cover the costs of running the jet boat. If your group is less than 5 people be prepared to catch a ride in a canoe !

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