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Elfin Lakes (Diamondhead)

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Garibaldi Provincial Park

Elfin Lakes (Diamondhead) is a 12.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 12.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,693 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

no dogs

This hike could be done as a day hike or an overnighter. 35 tent pads and a large backcountry hut can be found beside Elfin Lakes. Backcountry permits are required if you plan on spending the night. It costs extra to stay in the hut if you don't have a tent. The hut is a two story building with kitchen and common area on the ground floor and bunk beds on the top floor (no privacy). The hike starts with six kms of uphill that is fairly tough going if you are carrying your gear. 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 thru September is the best time if you're hoping to avoid snow. There is also a small shelter in Red Heather Meadows on the way up to the lakes, which is used as a warming hut during the winter months.

hiking
closed
icy
no shade
off trail
scramble
snow
7 days ago

Trail was closed at the base of the mountain - we decided to hike in anyway and it added about 10km to our hike (aprox. 5km to the trailhead on a steep incline and 5km back to where we parked the car). Overall trail had great panoramic views of Garibaldi, but the actual lakes were frozen over and not much to look at. Be prepared for a lot of snow as it will actually increase the difficulty of the hike by quite a bit. We started hiking from our car at the base around 12:40pm and didn’t arrive back at the car until 10:30pm. Be prepared for a trek if you go in the coming weeks; would definitely recommend a) waiting for the park to open so that you can drive to the trailhead, and b) waiting till the snow is gone to attempt this hike. As well, there was quite a bit of blood in the snow from animals so make sure you are prepared with bear spray! Didn’t run into any live ones on our trip, but you never know and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

12 days ago

the trail is blocked off by a chain and two cement blocks. We were not able to get to the trail

hiking
snow
19 days ago

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Straightforward, non-strenuous route with plenty of bang for your buck. Bluebird day and t-shirt temp. Hut is closed now due to COVID-19 but a worthy destination nevertheless. Hard-packed snow and no flotation needed but pretty soft in the pm. Microspikes'll do. Access to trailhead still requires chains. Very icy around 9am for the last 2ish kms. 2:45 in an about the same return. Views are righteous.

3 months ago

Completed this trail in late May with plenty of snow leftover.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Loved this hike. Early March and there was lots of snow. Most people had snowshoes but the trail was packed down enough that a good pair of hiking shoes were fine enough. Micro spikes could make it easier. Beautiful views the entire way which makes this hike super rewarding. Took about 5.5 hours round trip at a good pace. The ranger was guarding the parking lot to make sure no one went up without chains. We weren’t able to make it up even with chains but it was only a 2km hike addition. We were able to get a ride back down which was nice! I would highly recommend this hike— it was a beautiful winter hike and I can’t wait to do it again in the summer!

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Hiked to the shelter 7th March. Trail is well packed down, deep snow pretty much the entire way. Lakes are frozen over and covered with 6ft of snow. Try go when it’s clear, as the views on the ridge/final 6km are absolutely beautiful.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

Snowshoed to Elfin Lake in mid February 2020. We didn't have chains, so parked in the lower parking lot and added 2km to the trip each way. Be aware of potholes on gravel road to the lower parking lot. The last half mile to the lower parking lot was icy. If you have winter tires, you can make it even with a small car. Lots of cross country skiers. We also met a few campers at Red Heather Hut which has a fireplace. Great views of nearby mountain ranges on a clear day. It was overcast at times when we were on trail which blocked some view. The Elfin Lakes Shelter has a fireplace which warmed up the place well.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

Hiked on Monday, February 17. Didn't have chains, so we parked at the chain up area and added 2 km (4 km RT) to the trail head. It added 30 minutes going up, about 20 going down. Was a beautiful day, the snow was packed down so I wore microspikes the whole way. With the added kms, it took ~7 hours round trip (excluding longer breaks). ~4 hours here, ~3 hours back. There is some uphill on the way back too. One last thing to note is that that All Trails has the summer trail, not the winter trail. The winter trail is marked pretty well, so you won't get lost, but just be aware if you are using All Trails for the hike and it tries to say you're off route.

hiking
4 months ago

Had a great overnight hike to Elfin Lakes shelter this week. The snow was hard packed with a few days since fresh snow no snowshoes were required which made it a very quick hike - 3 hours up and 2 hours down. Make sure you have snow chains for the final 2kms of the road. We were there on a Monday and it was quiet but people told us Saturday Sunday night people were sleeping on the floors and on the benches without bookings so be prepared if you’re booked in on the weekend for a bit of chaos!

hiking
snow
6 months ago

Elfin is a great hike for winter. Did it on Dec. 31, group of 6. Obey the chain signal, it could look like you do no need them but you do. It was hard going up to the shelter because a storm got us, we we find following the signs. Snowshoes are a must from at least kilometre 4 or so.

hiking
icy
snow
6 months ago

The first 5kms of the hike had quite a bit of ice and I would strongly recommend studs or something similar for traction (crampons would be overkill as the ice is patchy). The remaining trail to the hut is covered in snow but the snow is compacted from other users. I brought snow shoes but did not use them at all. The lakes are covered in ice and snow. The hut was warm with a fire place, stove top, tables, hooks for drying clothes, and bunks.

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail, a lot of snow

backpacking
icy
snow
washed out
7 months ago

Le 01/12 nous sommes partis à 8h30 afin de prévoir large avec la tombée de la nuit Concernant la route menant au parking c'est du mode 4x4 qui peut vite devenir impraticable s'il neige et surtout si le véhicule n'est pas adapté car descente très raide avec graviers Concernant la randonnée nous étions étonnés du nombre de randonneurs au moins 5 groupes (en week end) Paysages à couper le souffle 6km d'ascension puis les 5 km restants sont du plat et de la descente avant de trouver une cabane pour dormir ou juste faire une pause Rando faisable en 5h avec chaussures de randonnée classiques (à privilégier avec des pointes) ATTENTION au verglas dans la descente

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Hiked on Nov 28, a sunny and cool day. The snow starts shortly after the Red Heather shelter. Would recommend snowshoes for better mobility. Altogether a wonderful hike - amazing views (along the way as well as by the lakes), not technically difficult, with steady incline.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Hiked this Nov. 25 and it was breathtaking! The trail had snow at ~3-4 km up but it didnt call for snowshoes. I wore my regular hikers and it was great, maybe a bit slower than I would have planned due to snow! We only hiked up past the red heather shelter to where the treeline starts to thin, but definitely want to come back and do the whole thing when I have more time! Had a leisurely incline and well defined trail. However, something to consider is that you’re in tree cover for the first 5 km or so. Great trail!

hiking
muddy
snow
7 months ago

Breathtaking views! We hiked it on Nov 19th. It took us 5.5 hours round trip but that includes our lunch break at the lakes and stopping for photos. Snow starts around 4kms in. Getting a bit slippery but didn't need snowshoes (yet!) Absolutely stunning in the snow.

7 months ago

Quite heavy snow all day today (Nov 16), so lots to work with after about 7k. Didn't need snowshoes, but not far off. Beautiful wonderland at the moment, even if the clouds are covering the mountain views

7 months ago

Beautiful trail for all seasons. Very easy terrain and definitely well trafficked. It's multi purpose, so you can bike, snow shoe, ski it as well. The lakes are a great hub to set up and go complete the additional trails in the area. With a choice of the shelter or tenting (with reservations). Great trail for kids, especially in good weather as they can swim. Be sure to follow the posted winter/summer route recommendations as we approach avalanche season!

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