On my first drive up to Whistler along BC’s Sea to Sky highway I totally missed this stop off. Well actually, that’s a bit of a lie, I saw the stop off marked by heaps of cars crammed into the car park, but didn’t stop as I didn’t realise what was there. This winter we went back – without the crowds of cars – and explored Murrin Lake Park.
About Murrin Lake Provincial Park
Murrin Lake Provincial Park is a great place for climbing, hiking and snowshoeing (in the winter). Thanks to Browning Lake there’s also swimming to be done come summer, and kayaking and fishing.
Climbers will enjoyed the various walls at Murrin Lake Provincial Park named the Shaman, Sugarloaf, Bog Wall, Leviticus, Petrifying Wall and The Brunser.
Technically it’s open from May 1st to October 15, but we visited outside of these dates. However, if you visit during the times when the park is officially open you’ll have to go early: it gets busy and there isn’t a lot of parking space.
Getting to Murrin Lake Park
Getting to Murrin Lake Park is super easy. From Vancouver it’s a 45 minute drive up the Sea to Sky highway (route 99) north. About 9.7km after Squamish you’ll see a sign informing you that Murrin Lake Provincial Park is coming up on the left hand side.
Trails in Murrin Lake Park
There are a couple of different options you can take if you want to hike in Murrin Lake Provincial Park. The best of the trails is probably the Murrin Park Loop Trail; there’s more information about it below.
The Murrin Park Loop Trail
The trail to the lookout is well worth doing whenever you visit Murrin Lake Park. It’s not a particularly long trail, but it is pretty steep in parts and involves a few uneven steps.
It’s pretty well signposted too so you shouldn’t get lost. Once you reach the top of the lookout you’ll come out at a view of Howe Sound and the windy Hwy 99 that you’ve just driven along. It’s a gorgeous view!
To start the trail
From the car park, follow the path alongside Browning Lake and head up a signposted trail for the Quercus Viewpoint.
The path gets fairly steep and then descends to a junction. Here you can go either way, but going to the right is the way we went.
You’ll climb up some steep steps, pass rock climbing areas and then come to another junction.
Go straight here towards the viewpoint. The trail comes out of the forest and climbs up onto the rock where there are beautiful views of Howe Sound. You can also see Browning Lake (where you started).
Careful climbing the rock to the viewpoint as it can get very slippy!
When you’re done soaking up the views, head back off the rock and return to the junction. This time take the other path and continue the Loop Trail. You’ll come down through the forest and more climbing areas, over a bridge and down a hill between two rock faces. Here there’s another viewpoint and bench looking towards Howe Sound.
As you continue hiking down, head left at the next junction to return to Browning Lake.
You can lengthen the walk by walking around the lake but it’s not the best trail! It runs straight along the road where cars zoom past so I’d say skip this and relax on the beach.