Elfin Lakes (Diamondhead)

HARD 59 reviews
#4 of 11 trails in

Elfin Lakes (Diamondhead) is a 23.5 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Squamish-Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October.

23.5 km
992 m
Out & Back




cross country skiing


mountain biking

nature trips


trail running




wild flowers





no dogs

This hike could be done as a day hike or an overnighter. Tent pads and even a shared cabin can be found beside Elfin Lakes. Backcountry should be purchased for safety reasons if you plan on spending the night. It costs extra to stay in the cabin if you don't have a tent. The cabin is just a two story house full of beds (no privacy). The hike starts with six kms of uphill that is fairly tough going if you are carrying your gear. But once you've battled past that you break out onto a gorgeous ridge on Round Mt. that takes you to Elfin Lakes. From this ridge you get a great view of the Mt. Garibaldi's peak as well as the Tantalus Mountain Range. Timing is everything with this hike because the snow stays around well into the spring. July/August is the best time of you've got no snow gear. There are also warming huts on the way up to the lakes stop for lunch in.

11 days ago

A Group of 4 of us went up this past weekend (April 7-8) and even though the weather wasn't ideal we had a blast. We parked in the parking lot and began our hike in the rain at 10:30 AM, however, once we reached the warming hut, it was lightly snowing and beautiful. After a 30-minute lunch break at the warming hut, we started the second half of the hike which was a bit steeper for at least 45 minutes and then leveled out and was much easier to walk. We arrived at the shelter, just passed the lakes at 4:00 PM.

The hike back down the next morning was a breeze and we had clear weather with the odd 5-minute snow flurry here and there. We didn't even bother stopping at the warming hut on the way down and we were back at the car at 2:00 PM (we had left the shelter at 11:00 AM)

Snowshoes are highly recommended!!!

3 months ago

Went today and was able to make it to about 1-1.5 km past the Red Meadow Shelter. (16 km round trip) Beautiful hike with a steady climb and some beautiful views.

Chains are needed to get to trailhead parking lot. Otherwise it’s a 2.4 KM steady uphill climb to reach trailhead.

Toilet facilities at Trailhead and Red Meadow.

5 months ago

Went at the end of October and it was walkable without snow gear. Mountain range was spectacular and breathtaking. Not a difficult hike and would recommend to everyone! Plenty to see: mountains, marshes, wild flowers, lakes, rabbits!

6 months ago

Incredible flora in the Fall. Long but steady incline throughout. Excellent views of Garibaldi Mountain and parts of Squamish.

6 months ago

Still a perfect hike at this time of year. Beautiful colours. Fairly long, but definitely not "hard".

6 months ago

We saw a black bear near the trail. Lakes are not so beautiful as Joffre Lakes or Garibaldi Lake, but the mountain views all around are incredible! Whiskey Jacks nearby the lodge are so eager and curious. I would not rate the hike as Hard, it is more Intermediate or Easy. The ascent is not very steep. Yes, the round-trip is 22km long but it feels like a nice walk than some real hiking.

7 months ago

Long but not hard.

7 months ago

Anyone who camped up there at the hut, is the propane cooking stuff still out in repairs or is it fixed. Going up there this weekend for overnight stay. Can anyone give me an update ?

7 months ago

Went for a day hike yesterday. This isn't a hard trail at all. It is 11km from the lake to the trail head. It's a nice place for a swim. Wish I brought water shoes, as it is pretty rocky.

8 months ago

I have done this hike several times and normally find it a beautiful hike. Unfortunately, the black flies and horse flies are absolutely horrendous right now. Prepare to be constantly swarmed by dozens of them from the parking lot all the way to the lake. I've done this hike a few times and I wouldn't recommend it with the current wildfire smoke obscuring all views and the highly annoying flies. Do it in late summer sky clears and the rest of the snow melts, and hopefully the flies go away.

9 months ago

Snow up to 1.5 m after 3 miles but easily passible with good shoes although microspikes made it less slippery. Lakes are frozen over.

9 months ago

Reached the lake after treading through the snow. Unfortunately the lake is covered with snow but you can still enjoy the nice views of the surrounding peaks. This hike can be done with boots alone but I highly recommend snowshoes and gaiters.

10 months ago

I've been here many times in both the winter and summer. It never disappoints.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Winter hike is beautiful. Mixed terrain, so some nice inclines to get your heart going a little, combined with winding, mellow areas. Chains are still required to get to the higher parking lots and, with all the snow we've had this season, avi gear is highly recommended. Areas that are normally low risk are a little more dicey this season.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My 10 yr old boys chose this as our first overnight hike of the year. Guess they like a little challenge! The first 6km is a bit of a slog with most of the elevation achieved by the time you hit the Heather shelter. A couple had warned us about the melting snowpack about a kilometer after the shelter and for the rest of the route but We are Men !!... And smirk at such things. We also took the winter/biking route on the way up, the hiking route on the way down. I'd still advise to take the winter/biking route both ways as the hiking trail is still quite muddy.
Both ways met up just below the start of the snowpack. Meant wet feet for the rest of the route but good hiking boots, poles and staunch determination made it no problem:) (think I'll have to pack bigger rocks in their packs next year!)
We got to Elfin lakes in just over 3.5 hours to witness some beautiful views of the Gargoyles and the rest of the range. We were lucky enough to have picked the only day of the week that had some clear skies with sun!!
My boys picked out a tent pad(make sure you prepay online!) choosing the tent over the Elfin shelter. We are men!! Temperature was pretty mild for a July, dipping to under 10C at night. Ah, just crispy enough. And make sure you bring some Off if your skin does not repel skeeters like our manly stench did.
Finished the day w some Man chili and spent the night blowing holes in the tent;)
Would have loved to have made it a three day trip and further explore the area. Next time... And maybe there will be less white stuff.... Not that we don't love bathing our chiseled bodies in the snow! We are Men!!
Thank you Elfin Lakes!!

From the Men!!

Monday, July 04, 2016

Great hike! A little too much snow for how prepared our party was. We turned around about 4.5 km before the lakes due to snow. Great views. Worthwhile to check it out. We will definitely go back later in the summer.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Fantastic experience and off the bucket hiking list. Since it is June wasn't expecting the snow we had from first shelter onward. Definitely a good idea to leave early to get a spot for sleeping at the cabin if you plan to stay over. Had gorgeous weather both days in and out. Will definitely be it doing again without snow.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Heat hike for the effort, worth exploring the area around as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Great hike. Not steep. Lots of bugs in summer. Great shelter in winter!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Very enjoyable. Starts from the parking lot as a fairly steep hour walk then it is a reasonably level walk there on. Beautiful scenery. Pleasant stay in the chalet with its bunks and propane stoves.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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!!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

It was an amazing hike with tons to see!!! Just make sure you wear some proper shoes!!! It's a rocky trail!! Overall I definately adored this trail and would highly suggest it to someone who is looking for a challenging yet easy hike!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Amazing alpine terrain, glacier views and crazy hikes from the lakes. I went up to the saddle between diamond head and another mountain to check out he lava sculptures called the gargoyles - AMAZING!

Check me out on Flickr - link below

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Great place to hike or snowshoe, (if your into that type of thing) we built a snow fort with a tarp roof and slept in that. candles help with the warmth. Beautiful scenery.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I'm 58 years and experienced Elphin Lakes for the first time. It begins uninspiringly from the parking lot with a moderately steep gravel road leading to the "Red Heather" cabin after an hour. The trail improves with views and ease for the next 2 hours to Elphin Lakes. The Ranger explained a private donation of $200,000 from a doctor (who liked it here so much) allowed the construction of a separate propane hut (to service the Chalet - heated, propane stoves, solar lights, bunks), 37 tent platforms and, bear cache poles.
Thoroughly enjoyed the hike/walk, meeting students (with their instructor from Trinity University as part of an outdoor education program), Korean Hiking Club members, mountain bikers, and trail runners. $15/night/person payable at the parking lot or internet helps maintains the park. Any extra helps.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Amazing hike!! I love this trail. I've done it in 4.5h with a 1h break for photos and lunch. The views from the top are unreal, breath taking! And the hike is not bad at all. A must do!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

OK, I wrote the first review here and did the trail again yesterday and I am very disappointed to have to tell that this place, based on my experience yesterday at least, is ruined: it's become so popular that it's super busy, I didn't have a 500 meters stretch of the trail without seeing anybody, at some times I stopped to greet others there were so many ppl... And the more ppl means more morons who talk aloud, yell to each other.. I even saw a moron who listened to music aloud on something while walking.. Unfuckinbelievable..Even when I left the trail to get some privacy I could hear moronic bits of conversation like "my butt still hurts from that yoga class" thank you very much, you really need to share your shit with anybody nearby in the subalpine area, right?
And that wasn't even the worst part: up at the lakes they are building something and you could hear a machine, hammering and music.. It's just ridiculous how a place can be ruined if too many ppl go there..I haven't seen garbage yet but that's gonna come if the place goes down this road..
Anybody who likes to hike for privacy, quiet, beauty and getting away from civilization: DON'T GO TO ELFIN LAKES ON WEEKENDS, hopefully when it's not the crowds' day off it's still worth go up, but otherwise it's nothing what it was..

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Amazing trail, beautiful views of mountains and meadows all around, one of the great things about it is that most of the trail goes through open areas - not forest - so you can enjoy the views around, plus it's never steep. At the end there is a cabin that can accommodate 20-30 people and has stoves, and the trail continues toward an extinct volcano, which is also worth to check out. I rarely go back to the same place but this hike I did several times it is so rewarding.

mountain biking
Monday, September 19, 2011

this is a fabulous trail in so many ways...gorgeous views and vistas, incredible mountain peaks, great no matter whether hiking, biking, snowshoeing or backcountry skiing...long-ish but not too steep! we have hiked, biked and snowshoed this trail!

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