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I booked us a camping spot at Wedgemount Lake a few months in advance and had been counting down the weeks until we’d take on this hike. Wedgemount Lake is notorious for being difficult (just read any review of it on a trail website), but also for being one of the most beautiful lakes near Vancouver. While the sun wasn’t exactly shining on our hike to Wedgemount Lake, it cleared enough for us to take it all in, and the clouds rolling in and out across the lake and our campsite possibly made it even more pretty. It makes a great Vancouver day hike, but if you can, then definitely camp as it’s so peaceful up there overnight. If you’re looking for hikes around Whistler or are planning to do the Wedgemount Lake hike, here’s everything you need to know before you tackle one of the best hikes in Whistler!
About Wedegemount Lake
Wedgemount Lake is in the north of Garibaldi Provincial Park. As one of the best hikes in BC, Wedgemount Lake is also one of the most rewarding Vancouver trails. The lake is circled by Wedgemount and Armchair glaciers and mountain peaks. Of these peaks, Wedge Mountain is the most noticeable as it’s also the highest in the whole of Garibaldi Park at 2,891m high.
If you choose to hike to Wedgemount Lake, be aware that you’re in for one of the most difficult hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The trail climbs more than 1,100m in just 7km but the spectacular scenery at the top makes it all worthwhile. The emerald lake, the snow-capped peaks and the quiet make this one of my favourite hikes. It’s one of the most challenging Whistler hiking trails, sure, but one that’s well worth it.
How to get to Wedgemount Lake from Vancouver
It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from downtown Vancouver to the trailhead for Wedgemount Lake. Simply follow Hwy 99 from Vancouver towards Whistler and continue north passed Whistler for 13km.
You’ll see a sign to Garibaldi (Wedgemount) and turn right to come off the highway. You’ll have to cross an uncontrolled railway crossing (take care) and then follow the signs up the forest service road.
Hiking the Wedgemount Lake trail
If you’re planning on doing the Wedgemount hike then check out the details below. It’s a lot of effort to get to this spot for camping in Whistler, BC but it’s worth it!
Wedgemount Lake stats
This is one of the best Whistler hikes, so be sure to note the following.
Duration: 6-8 hour round trip
Our Wedgemount Lake hike
Wedgemount Lake isn’t a hike for inexperienced hikers, especially if you’re planning to camp and thus carrying all your camping gear. To enjoy it, you’re going to want to be fairly fit and by that, I really just mean being used to BC hikes with all their tree roots, uneven terrain and forest climbs!
The road up to the trailhead for Wedgemount Lake is easily accessible by 2 wheel drive and there’s a decent-sized parking lot at the top with a pit toilet. The trail starts off easy for the first 5 minutes before you take a right turn (which is well marked) up into the trees.
From here you’ve got to just keep on plodding. There are a few parts of the trail which provide a little respite, but not many! Make sure you have plenty of water, especially in the summer.
The climb begins by hiking upwards through the trees getting steeper and steeper. There are a couple of boulder fields to cross, a little stream with a bridge, and plenty of times when you’ll want to use your hands to help pull yourself up some old tree roots.
When you come out of the woods you’ll emerge out to another boulder fields which marks the last and steepest part, of the climb to Wedgemount Lake.
There are a lot of loose rocks here, and when we hiked this trail at the end of August, it was also pretty dusty which made slipping more likely. Just take your time. When you feel like a break, don’t forget to look behind you for beautiful views of Green Lake in Whistler and the surrounding mountains.
After reaching the top of the gully you’ll finally get a reminder of why you chose this hike.
Wedgemount Lake is often mirror-like and the green-blue colour of the water is magical. You’ll also get a glimpse of Wedgemount Glacier and be able to see Wedge Mountain too. Carry on to the small overnight hut on the and campsite. There are some awesome campsite spots up by the hut but personally I think the best ones are another 20 minutes away, right at the water’ edge.
We carried on down to the lake (one of the only real downhill sections of the whole hike) and found a camping pad right by the lake. It was such an incredible view to wake up to!
Hiking to Wedgemount Glacier
If you’re camping, set up camp and relieve yourself of your heavy packs and head out to the Wedgemount Glacier a little further along the path. If you’re day hiking you should also carry on walking this way as getting up close to the glacier is incredible.
There’s a small pool of glacial melt at the bottom of the glacier with little icebergs floating in it. Every now and again you may hear, or see, parts of the glacier cracking off and rolling into the water. For this reason, don’t get too close! Also, never climb on the glacier unless you have the equipment, experience and training.
Camping at Wedgemount Lake
At Wedgemount Lake there’s both tent camping and a hut. And what makes one of the best hikes near Whistler even better? Camping there!
The cabin at Wedgemount Lake sleeps 6 people and works on a first-come, first-served basis and must be reserved. It fills up quickly so don’t expect there to be space if looking to book for the next weekend.
Tent camping at Wedgemount Lake
Wedgemount Lake has 20 tent pads with 10 up near the cabin and the other 10 down by the lake. You must reserve in advance and failure to do so can result in being fined. All reservations for camping at Wedgemount Lake can be made on discovercamping.ca. A reservation guarantees you a spot but not a specific tent pad.
There’s a pit toilet at both tent camping areas as well as bear hangs.
What to pack for Wedgemount Lake
Before heading out on one of the best hikes in Vancouver, BC, make sure you pack the following:
- Bug spray: When we got back down to the logging road the bugs were out in full force, I was very glad to have bug spray on us.
- Sun cream: You’re going to want suncream no matter what season you hike in. This one is my favourite.
- Bear spray: Ideally with a holster as it’s useless if you can’t get it out of your bag quickly!
- Lots of snacks & food
- Plenty of warm layers & waterproofs
- Good hiking boots or shoes
- Camping gear: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat
- Camera or phone
Things to know before hiking Wedgemount Lake
Wedge mount Lake can be one of the best places to hike if you’re prepared. Be sure to think about the following before hiking in the backcountry near Vancouver.
- Dogs at Wedgemount Lake: No dogs allowed in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
- Toilets: There’s an are outhouses at the trailhead and both campsites.
- Water: You can get drinking water from the lower lake but it needs filtering and/or boiling.
- Pack Bear spray: Always take bear spray on your hikes near Vancouver. We saw a bear on this trail so were glad to be prepared had we needed it.
- Be adventure smart: Remember to respect the terrain, environment, and other users while you are enjoying the trails. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. AdventureSmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors.
- Check current trail conditions for Wedgemount Lake here and Garibaldi weather.
- Before heading out to the trailhead, check the Whistler road conditions, especially in autumn-spring in case of snow. Between October 1st and March 31st all vehicles must carry snow chains when driving to Whistler.
Looking for more Vancouver hikes?
These Vancouver hiking trails are also within Garibaldi Provincial Park and are make hikes near Whistler and offer similar types of views of the mountains and lakes near Whistler. If you want to see all my Vancouver hiking posts then read here.
- Lake Garibald hike
- Panorama Ridge, Whistler hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park – without a doubt one of the best Vancouver hikes!
- Elfin Lakes trail
- Mt Seymour – no big lake here, but one of the best hikes near Vancouver where you can camp for free without too much effort.