Elfin Lakes (Diamondhead)

HARD 92 reviews
#5 of 12 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.

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

backpacking

birding

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

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.

8 days ago

ran the last 10km very easy

14 days ago

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

1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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

backpacking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 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.

3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
4 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
7 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.

9 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!

10 months ago

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

hiking
10 months ago

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

hiking
10 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.

11 months ago

Long but not hard.

camping
11 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 ?

11 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.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

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.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

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.

hiking
Thursday, June 22, 2017

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.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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

snowshoeing
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.

backpacking
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!!

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

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