Backpack to Semaphore Lakes

Rate this Adventure Canada Sephamore Lakes Trail

Added by Emily Haggar

  • Snow capped peaks, a waterfall, glacier and series of beautiful alpine lakes
  • Top notch hiking, fun scrambling, epic camp spots
  • A great choice if you're looking for some off trail exploring
  • 5km round trip to the lakes + camping area; 300m/1000ft elevation gain

How does a series of sparkling blue alpine lakes, beautiful mountains, a huge waterfall, glacier and uncrowded camping sound to you? For me, the area around Semaphore Lakes has been one of my favorite destinations for quite a while. It has some of the best camping you could hope for, and two incredible mountains to climb if you're up for some route finding and scrambling - Locomotive Mtn. and Face Mtn.

It's possible to climb Locomotive in a day trip from the Hurley FSR (Forest Service Road), but the camping is so good, you might as well stay a few days. The Semaphore Lakes trail is in a couple of hiking guide books for the area, so it's likely you'll see other people on the weekends, but there's so much space here, it never feels crowded. In fall or during the week, you might have the entire place to yourself.

There is a well worn trail from the Hurley FSR to Semaphore Lakes, for hikers of intermediate ability. You'll find some serious mud puddles here any month of the summer, no matter how dry it's been, so waterproof your boots and bring gators. From the lakes, there is a playground of ridges, alpine lakes and mountains to explore, depending on your ability. Route finding skills are required for all travel beyond the lakes.

Head north on HWY 99, turning left into Pemberton towards the Pemberton Meadows. At 25km, turn right onto the Lillooet FSR for about 9km, then keep right to merge onto the Hurley FSR. The trailhead is marked by a few pieces of flagging tape on your left, almost exactly 50km from the stop light in Pemberton (yes, there's only one). The Hurley is best suited to 4WD vehicles, but you can carefully drive your 2WD car up if you don't mind the bumpy road.

On your way home, stop in at the Goat Mtn. veggie stand at the junction of Pemberton Meadows and Lillooet FSR. It works on the honor system. Just put your cash in the metal box and choose what you want from the fridge. Yum.

Pack List

  • Backpacking/camping equipment
  • Water filter (it's pristine here, but there are lots of animals so filter the water)
  • Camera
  • Everything you need in a daypack for exploring
  • Sturdy hiking boots + gators
  • An empty vehicle if possible (you'll be leaving it on the side of the road if camping, best to not leave anything valuable inside)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



3.1 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1000 Feet


Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Emily Haggar

Guided by the belief that we make our own rules when it comes to creating a happy life, I work with entrepreneurs on brand storytelling, design + illustration, while keeping my feet in the mountains day after day.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike through McGillivray Canyon

Canada / Mcgillivray Slabs Trailhead

Between Pigeon Mountain and Mount McGilliveray, pull off the road and slow down until you see a little dirt road turn off to the large parking area.

Rayne Grein
2 Saves

Hike the Wild Pacific Trail

Canada / Wild Pacific Trail

Drive south west on Coast Guard drive to the parking lot for the wild coast trail to your left (where the pin is). Park in the parking lot, and head to the trailhead where the big sign board is.

John Entwistle
7 Saves

Photograph Sunset Point in Tofino

Canada / Sunset Point - Tofino

You can park at the public beach parking at Cox Bay Beach Resort and make your way out on to the beach. Once you are on the beach, head north until you get to the "Sunset Point" trail sign.

John Entwistle
3 Saves