Hike to Elfin Lakes, BC



13.7 miles

Elevation Gain

1968.5 ft

Route Type


Added by Brice Ferre

Located 90 minutes north of Vancouver, off of the Sea to Sky Highway, Elfin Lakes offer amazing vistas, along the 11 km it takes to get there and an incredible reward once you get to the lakes. One of them is off limit because it is a water reserve and the second one is there for hiker's pleasure, if you don't mind swimming in cold water. 

To access the trail head you will have to drive a few kilometres up a pretty beat up service road, so SUV's and 4x4 are a must but it can be done in a regular car if you take it easy. Lots of pot holes and loose rocks.

The hike to Elfin Lakes might be 11km each way, but it is not very steep and is quite scenic, so it doesn't feel like work at all. The trail is wide, and you are surrounded by big mountains all the way to the lakes.

If you enjoy trail running, Elfin Lakes is a must, because you can cover a lot of terrain with not a lot of effort. And the reward once you reach the lakes is pretty incredible.

You can either camp at the cabin up there, that is equipped with bunk beds and firewood furnaces, or camp outside on the wooden platforms overlooking the mountains. The view from the tent is sensational!

If you enjoy a nice cold dip in the lake, you won't be disappointed. The water is a bit cold, but is very clean and transparent. On a sunny day you will enjoy floating around while looking at the massive mountains facing you.

11km up, means that you have 11km back to the car, but these are downhill, so effortless if you have brought enough food and water, that is. 

If you are around Squamish, make sure to check the lakes out, you won't regret it.

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Known for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly



Leave a Review

almost 5 years ago

Great as a snowshoeing adventure in the winter

A group of us did this hike in the winter on snowshoes. We took the same route, following the trail up to the Elfin Lakes Shelter and stayed there for the night since it does take a little extra time in the snow. The shelter has beds on the top floor sleeping 33 people, which you can book out. Great change up to the usual hike!

Lakes And Views!

Jan 1-2, 2016. We parked at the first parking lot (which was packed) because we were unsure of the roads and if we would have parking space further so that added a 2 km walk. In hind sight, we could have made it to the main parking lot in our truck as we had chains with us, but better safe then sorry. 5 hours up, of glorious views. Stopped in the hut at heather meadows for lunch. Recommend using the outhouse here as it is much preferable to the 4 at the top. The trails were very well marked and very used! Saw lots of people out coming down from an overnight or just out for a day trip. The trail was very doable, no crazy steep sections. The hut was not over full, just to capacity I think and more in tents outside. Make sure you pay in advance online, there is a ranger that comes around to check. Melting snow on the stoves was constant as that was everyone's drinking & cooking water source. One of the highlights was finding the perfect winter spot to watch the sunset over the mountains. Incredible!! 2014 - Great hike! Not difficult at all. Nice variety and views along the spacious trail. Great hike for an easy enjoyable day to soak it all in. The hut at the top is really nice, sleeps at least 20 and there are 20+ tenting stands there as well! Outhouse and another building with tables inside (not for sleeping). The swimming lake was cold and refreshing! Beautiful views, loved it! A relaxed 2 hours up and 1.5 hours down? Maybe less.

Beautiful Spot- Great In Off Season If You're Prepared

Great hike, stunning views at the lakes. The cabin is well set up with a propane stove (connected to a central gas line) and fireplace. Though I didn't stay in the cabin it was nice to know it was there as I went up May 18th and the tent pads, along with everything else, were still covered in 8-10ft of snow. The hike can be challenging without snowshoes in the winter, but if you are well prepared the stunning views and peaceful solitude up there are worth it. Next time I will go further on to Mamquam Lakes.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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