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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.

Length 12.5 mi Elevation gain 2,693 ft Route type Out & Back

Backpacking

Camping

Cross country skiing

Hiking

Mountain biking

Snowshoeing

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Rocky

Snow

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (3)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

Note: Garibaldi Provincial Park is now open - visitors must reserve a permit before arriving at the park. For more information, please see http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/garibaldi/ 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.

Parking at the trail head can get a little crazy. Sometimes it is packed and other times it is not. Don't leave valuables in your car overnight as the parking lot is completely isolated.

More information can be found at: http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/elfin-lakes/ Register for your overnight backcountry pass here: https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/Backcountry/ SPECIAL NOTE: The length and duration numbers only account for a one way trip. The trip back from the lake will ultimately be faster than the trip there. Time is based on my own experience. I have heard of other hikers doing this trail faster.

Take the Sea to Sky Hwy north towards Whistler. When you get to Squamish take a right on Mamquam Rd and follow that road up to Quest University. The trail head is called Diamond Head and can be accessed from a gravel road that can be found at Quest University. The gravel road to the trail head is very steep and should be done in a reliable vehicle with some power or 4x4 ability.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (405)
Photos (355)
Recordings (296)
Completed (834)
Amanda Chew
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking

First time doing this hike, and I see why it's popular! the trail is well maintained and the weather was perfect. There were some bugs out and about, so bring some repellent. Would definitely come back to camp next time.

View Amanda's Recording
Martyn Hurst
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Enjoyable hike. Would rate it easy moderate. Left my iPhone on the trail.. 1/2 into the trek up. New backpack... not so secure pocket. Back tracked.. but it was gone. Camped overnight. Returned to Squamish this morning. Via iPhone tracker and my home iPad. Discovered someone in a pink t-shirt left it at the Adventure Centre. But left no contact info. So if your reading this. All I can say is a BIG BIG THANKYOU!!!! And Happy Trails... : )

Samuel Sherlock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking
View Samuel's Recording
Andrew Rimanic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking
View Andrew's Recording
Fi W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

Great trail. As a moderately fit person, I managed it in 5 hours excluding breaks. The first half is in the trees but a nice wide path. Second half is on the mountain and has amazing views (when you’re not in the clouds). Really enjoyed the hike as it was not so difficult that I felt like I had to watch my footing or catch my breath but still feel like I got my exercise in. Will definitely come back on a clearer day to get more of the views.

Larissa Carriere
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

I did this hike in September 2017 and I enjoyed it so much more than my hike August 2020. The trail was a lot busier and had a million bugs. There were black flies, these annoying little gnats, mosquitos and despite loading on bug spray constantly, they still flew all over me. I went on a clear day last time and unfortunately the cloud coverage and fog really obstructed our view. We were unable to see the sheer magnificence around us so the payoff wasn’t there. Do not recommend this hike on a cloudy day and was really frustrated with the crowds and bugs this time around.

View Larissa's Recording
Clinton Wong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020

Good intermediate trail. Here are my notes for those who haven't been before. The last 10km of the road to get to the trailhead is gravel with some rougher bits, so be aware. I did fine in my subcompact but there were a few big potholes to avoid. Overall the trail is well maintained with no technical bits or climbing. The intermediate rating, in my opinion, is really due to the sheer length of the hike. At a moderate pace with full overnight packs and stopping to enjoy the view a few times, it took us about 3 hours on the way up and 2 hours on the way down. The first half of the trail has some beautiful views peaking through the trees, but is otherwise a bit of a steady uphill slog. The middle is marked by the Red Heather hut, and after this the terrain becomes more interesting. There's beautiful views throughout the entire second half, but again nothing technical. The lakes themselves are a bit underwhelming, but the views of the mountains from the tent pads are wonderful. The shelter was closed when I was there but the communal hut for eating and washing was clean and well maintained. Overall a great intermediate hike for those just getting into that kind of distance.

Oren Friedman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2020
Backpacking

Would have been 5 stars if not for the weather. Don’t trust Alltrails forecast. Weather.com was the closest (but was still wildly inaccurate). If the forecast even hints at clouds, don’t go. Clouds = no views. No mountains. Check out my recording to see what that looks like. Otherwise the trail is easy (if long-ish). The campsite is very nice with nice amenities like picnic tables and a communal shelter for cooking and eating (don’t forget to maintain social distancing). If camping, make sure to bring some extra piece of clothing in case it gets too cold. I ended up wearing my fleece hoodie + gloves inside my 3C sleeping bag, on top of an R5 mat - and it was still cold-ish. Last - make sure to have a day permit or a campsite reservation, or you’ll be turned away before the parking lot.

View Oren's Recording
Christine Radl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

The trail is easy and the view at the lakes is absolutely stunning. The first half of the trail is a bit boring, so coming down makes you just want to finish. For us it took a total of 4,5 hours up and down plus the hours we spent at the lake.

Muf Combs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Nice easy hike. Beautiful views. The first 1.5 hrs have the most incline then it’s mellow from there. 2.5 hrs up, 1.75 hrs down (we jogged at the end) There were hikers of all levels there. A lot of older folks were doing it no problem which was great to see. Make sure you get a day pass from bc parks.

Scott Jackson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

What an amazing hike/camp route! Can’t believe it’s not more famous or well used. We hiked up one day (took about 3hrs with 30lb packs) then did Oppal Cone and then back the second day (that was a bit too much for this fit 52 yr old at 25kms with a lot of elevation). We parked in the second last lot because the road was steep/rough but the last stretch is actually okay. Bugs on the trail and at the camp were a bit of a pain but totally worth it for the views and beautiful little lakes.

View Scott's Recording
Wyatt Goodlet
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

Easy but incredibly scenic hike, terrain has zero challenge but views are amazing. perfect hike to bring your less hardcore friends on.

View Wyatt's Recording
C Stanley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 31, 2020
Hiking

Boring trail with a beautiful payoff. The campsite up top is really nice with stunning views of mount Garibaldi. The ‘Lakes’ should be renamed to ponds, because that’s what they are. Refreshing swimming in one of them. Epic views of surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail follows an exposed logging to the top. Crazy bugs up there; mosquitos and flies. I would recommend lots of bug spray and a bug hat... or a flame thrower if you have one. They were 8/10 bad. My times are off as I forgot to stop my recording. 3 hours up and 2 hours down with an overnight pack.

View C's Recording
Becky Kathryn Mary
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Good trail with great payoff. Buggy in places.

View Becky's Recording
Alex Paige
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
HikingNo shadeScrambleSnow

We hiked to Elfin lakes and continued to the Gargoyles. I would not consider this climb a moderate climb. Lots of scramble and steep sections. From the parking lot it took us 3 hours and 51 minutes to the far point of the gargoyle peak, but that’s with two avid hikers... Incredible view but not for the faint of heart. Runners or hikers were just fine. HIGHLY recommend going to the top, just be prepared to get extremely sweaty.

View Alex's Recording
Krista Dalrymple
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingBugs

Beautiful hike always! I really loved the ease of the day-pass system, rangers right before the parking lot to make sure you had a pass. Plus very limited people on the trail which was nice. There’s bees that are a bit aggressive on the lower bit of the trail so just be careful! People complaining about the road being closed or blocked off shouldn’t have been hiking here while it was still shutdown, it’s very easy to get up there now that it’s back open :)

Khal Qahwash
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingGreat!
View Khal's Recording
Julia Zhu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2020
Hiking

Did this trail with family 2020-7-27. The trial is in very good condition. Small snow patches at the end but totally manageable with running shoes. View is magnificent!! With our 5-yr and 7-yr kids, we spent 3.5hr up, 3hr down, 1 hr at the lakes for lunch. The new regulation requires day passes for each person. Not hard to book online. We met less than 10 people in the morning! Easy to keep distance. The shelter at Red Heather hut has gas and pot. The hut by the lakes has tables and benches for lunch with great views. Make sure bring big repellent, sunscreen and lots water!

Alber Khan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2020
Hiking

Did this in the fall of 2018 with an overnight pack. Amazing views all around on a clear day. Stayed at the cabin and hiked further to opal cone. Definitely recommended staying a night or two and going all the way.

Abigail Edgar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 29, 2020
HikingClosedIcyNo shadeOff trailScrambleSnow

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!

View Abigail's Recording
Megan Egan
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 25, 2020

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

Trustin Jennissen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020
HikingSnow
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