Elfin Lakes (Diamondhead)

HARD 119 reviews
#4 of 14 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 June until October.

DISTANCE
23.5 km
ELEVATION GAIN
992 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Wow. The views in the second portion of the hike from the Red Heather Hut to the lakes are breathtaking. I couldn't stop taking pictures!

This hike is long but not technical at all. Had I known, I would have started earlier and tried to combine with one of the other hikes that start from the Elfin lakes to make it a huge day hike (Opal Cone maybe). I will definitely do it again if I'm in the area!

PS the last portion of the road to the trail head is steep and bumpy but very doable in any type of car! just take it slow!

hiking
2 months ago

Did it again on October 20. Wonderful views and pleasant trip.

3 months ago

I've done this trail twice in the winter and once in late summer. It's a great hike (or snowshoe/split board) with amazing views. There are some avalanche hazard areas in the winter so just make sure you check online before you go and make sure you're fully prepared.

The hut at Elfin Lakes is great! There are burners in the kitchen for boiling water and a propane heater to keep the hut (somewhat) warm.

In the summer, the views from the tent pads can't be beat.

I haven't swam in the swimming lake yet (you can only swim in one of the two lakes) but it looks great.

3 months ago

Loved this trail! Would highly recommend!

hiking
3 months ago

Fairly easy hike with some moderately steep areas mostly in the beginning. Weather during hike was overcast during hike to the lake then steady rain the last third on our return. We had some views of the mountains occasionally but much of it was obscured by clouds. The heather meadows were lovely with the different fall colours. We saw a black bear from a distance in the meadow then another black bear about 15 feet away from the trail eating berries on our way back to the trailhead.
The approximately 10 km drive along the gravel road to the trailhead not too bad except for last 1-2 Km which was quite rough and bumpy.

4 months ago

awesome alpine terrains, numerous day hikes using Elfin Lakes as a base.

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful hike. My wife and I did out and back to Elfin in one day, finishing in about 5 or 6 hours. It was mid September and we went through many rainy patches along the way. Thankfully Elfin Lakes were in sun and we were able to enjoy the views (and a sip of fresh lake water). We mostly had the trail to ourselves, and it was wonderful to stand along the high alpine meadows and enjoy the peaceful silence. One word of caution, the trail head is somewhat difficult to find and is at the end of a rough gravel road. Keep pushing ahead past the mountain bikers until the very end of the road.

4 months ago

It was amazing hike!
We went there on Sept 4. Weather was just perfect with no smoke and clouds. Views on this trail are breathtaking!
We met a bear with a cub. They were walking down the hill. The adult bear looked at our group of 13 people, headed toward us and then changed her mind , crossed the trail went down the hill and jumped in the pond. The cub was not so brave. He was staying at a distance from trail probably waiting for us to leave:-)

backpacking
4 months ago

Awesome trail. I would say it’s moderated, the first half is a bit steep, but not too much. Let’s say 6/10.
The second have was very nice due to the views. Pay extra attention when hiking in the meadows because there’re many black bears this time of the year, we saw one in the way up and in the way back another hiker gave us a heads up for another bear in the way.

backpacking
5 months ago

7/12/18
Due to fog and smoke the visibility was pretty limited so I don’t know how good the views from this trail can be, therefore I’m rating the trail itself. It is basically a service road to the ranger station which makes it a fairly uneventful hike, though since I was backpacking I didn’t mind the packed surface and gradual, sweeping incline. The app states 14.6 miles (R/T) but when I reached the camping area I was at 6.3 miles so I think it’s closer to 12.6 miles total. It would be a very easy day hike, even with a large pack it took me around 2 hours to reach the lakes so it could reasonably be completed in 5 hours or so. Getting to the trailhead required driving on a dirt/gravel road for about 7 miles but other than some washboards and potholes it’s decent and easily passable in a car.

5 months ago

ran the last 10km very easy

5 months ago

Awesome went in early July. But there was still a lot of snow

6 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous once you clear the uphill slog initially. Panoramic views of stunning B.C. mountains along the ridge. Lake was still partially frozen and plenty of snow near the last 2 km of the trail, but doable in hiking boots.

backpacking
6 months ago

What an incredible trail. From the Elfin Shelter, there are almost 360 degrees of mountain views. I spent one night up there on July 10.

The road to the trailhead isn’t bad, but a bit rocky at the end. I did fine in my Prius, taking it slowly when needed.

The snow starts just after the hiking trail rejoins the mountain biking route, about 4.5km from the Shelter. It’s patchy in spots and then starts to thicken as you get closer to the lakes. We used poles, micro spikes, and gaiters; without them, the going was slow due to slush.

The route is no longer marked with the orange rods. At times, we lost the trail altogether and relied on following footprints and the AllTrails app. I suggest anyone going in the next few weeks do the same. It’s easy to veer off course in the snow.

The tent platforms are entirely melted out and looked pretty inviting. With the good weather coming, this hike will just keep getting better and better. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

No sign of the ranger(s), in case that matters to anyone.

6 months ago

There is still snow on the half of the trail, but it was fun. Lakes are beautiful even they are still frozen.

backpacking
6 months ago

The first 5k of the trail is pretty easy and pretty straight up hill. The second 5 is more challenging and covered in over a foot of snow I would suggest poles to any one who goes up. One of the better hikes and the cabin at the end is beautiful. Must do for any one in this area.

Park rangers are there so make sure you have your ticket.

hiking
6 months ago

Went in January, quite difficult if you are solo or in a pair. We had 6 in our group to break trail, there was about hip height of snow. When you felt like giving up, just had to push forward. The cabin is definitely worth the pain!

backpacking
6 months ago

Did this hike as an overnight at the hut the same day as completing Joffre Lakes. Took about 3.5 hours to get there. No snow for the first 1-2km, then patchy leading up to Red Heather Hut. After Red Heather (5km mark) it's all snow from there. Winter route is still in effect, so follow the tall orange trail markers. Did this in boots/wool socks. Definitely doable without snowshoes, just be careful with your footing at times because you might be walking over creeks covered in snow. Some areas of the trail are narrow/have steep drop offs so mind your footing in these spots as well. You'll see a post saying '5km to Elfin, 17km to Mamquam', be warned that this is a bit misleading because you'll end up seeing another post saying '5km to Elfin and 16km to Mamquam' after trekking for some time. One of them is likely a post for the summer route. Feels long going towards the lakes, but you get a nice view of Mount Garibaldi, the Tantalus range from afar, and snow slopes. Lakes are still mostly frozen over with only a few feet of the edges melted. Stayed in the hut which was warm and cozy. There were two couples there with us. Sunset was beautiful along the Tantalus Range. Campground is fully covered in snow, but if you do choose to camp there you'll have an amazing view of the mountains and a sunrise worth waking up for. No ranger on site at the time. Hiked back to parking lot in 2.75 hours and felt much quicker than the way there.

snowshoeing
7 months ago

Completed on May 26/27 2018. Stayed overnight at the hut- was only about 1/2 full! Slushy snow starting 30 minutes in. Many day hikers completing this in trail runners/ hiking boots/crampons however I was glad to have my snowshoes as the snow was so slushy/hard to grip. Hard ascent to past Red Heather Hut, then comfortable walk along Paul Ridge before descending to the lakes. The views are breathtaking, ensure you complete this on a sunny/ mostly sunny day, armed with sunscreen. Took the winter route due to avalanche risk.

8 months ago

Did this today. No snow in the parking lot however you will hit snow about 20 minutes into the hike itself. We did it in crampons on hard packed snow the way up. With the warm weather coming back was pretty much walking through the slushy top layer of snow. Lots of people in snowshoes. Lakes are both covered right now. If you're doing this on a sunny day do yourself a favour and wear a hat, the glare off the snow is enough for you to end up with a sun burnt face even with sunscreen. Definitely a must!! Views of the mountains are breaktaking. Also if anyone found a pair of Tory Burch sunglasses please let me know!!!!

hiking
8 months ago

An awesome hike. Did it yesterday (May 13th). At this point I'd highly recommend snowshoes as snow begins within the first 15 minutes. My shoes got absolutely soaked through even though they're waterproof. I'd recommend wearing covers over the tops of your shoes so snow can't get in. Bring extra socks and sunscreen if it's nice out, there's not much tree cover after the first 5km. Regardless of all of this, people were doing this hike without snowshoes and I had the best time ever so do whatever and you'll have a great time.

hiking
8 months ago

The latest trail report May 7th says that chains are mandatory to drive to the trailhead. I'm planning to head up tomorrow. Does anybody have an update on the Mamquam/Garibaldi Park road conditions?

backpacking
8 months ago

We did this hike on May 5th with overnight camping at Elfin lakes. The parking lot is free of snow but not the trail (snow starts just after the beginning). We made it without snowshoes or crampons but most people had. 3:15 up / 2:45 down. Amazing views after passing the first 5/6km. Rough gravel road for 11km to go to the parking lot. Doable without a 4WD but carefully.

hiking
9 months 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!!!

snowshoeing
Sunday, January 14, 2018

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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

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!

Friday, October 20, 2017

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

hiking
Monday, October 09, 2017

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

hiking
Sunday, September 24, 2017

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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Long but not hard.

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