Elfin Lakes : Distance :22km., Elevation : 1550m , Elevation Gain : 760m . Time : 6 1/2 hours .
I can't say enough about this spectacular alpine area. To get to this trail take Highway 99 north to Squamish at the 3km. mark you should cross Mamquam River . Look for the B.C. Parks sign for Diamond Head and turn right at the lights . You will be on Mamquam Road , follow the road passed the golf course and up about 10km. The road turns into a good gravel road and at the 10 km mark turn left . From here up to the parking lot it is a bit rough so go slow , most cars should be able to make it just take your time .5km.more brings you to the parking lot . The elevation here is 915 m. The trail starts out as a old logging road which turns into a jeep road .
Not very interesting , just a steady, moderate , incline with a few switchbacks. In about 45 min you get the odd peek-a-boo view of the Tantalus Range . At 5km. ( 1 1/2 hrs) you should arrive at the Red Heather campground . This subalpine meadow is a great place to take a break . Look at the outhouse on stilts and you get an idea of how much snow is up here in the winter time . I stopped and sat down on a large rock at the entrance of the campground , had my water bottle up to my mouth and was taking in the splendour . When all of a sudden I heard a VERY loud buzzing .... I looked forward and saw a humming bird 2 inches from my face ! Good thing no one was there to see me jump . Now that my heart was pumping on with the trip . Just passed the campground is a junction , hikers go left and , bikers go right . Yes you can ride all the way to Elfin Lakes , one of the few places that B.C. Parks will let you get into the alpine . The elevation here is 1455 m .Thankfully you get off the road for a bit and enter a trail , but this only lasts for 1 km. then you join back up with the road . Continue climbing up Paul Ridge and the views will take your breath away . Once you make the summit (1675 m) of the ridge the rest of the trip is easy walking .From the east side of the ridge you can see the ranger cabin off in the distance . You lose about 150 m dropping down to Elfin lakes . The campgrounds for Elfin Lakes is located 1 km . passed the ranger station . They charge $5.00 to camp of $10.00 if you decide to stay at the shelter . The shelter has a two stoves , a heater , sink , tables , and(34) bunk beds . * Note weekends in the summer draw tons of people , best come mid week or in the fall . The crowds and the bugs will have died down by then . " There were about 15 people here New Years Eve 2000 " *
Once here the exploring can take you days . Mamquam Lake is up the valley with it's icefield .
The Saddle trail will take you up a rock slope for some good scenery. Opal Cone is 6km away and will give you a chance to walk on the crater rim . Columnar Peak offers a good climb , and if you have the energy Little diamond Head . All this and Morains , mountain streams and plenty of wild flowers . A very worthwhile hike , so far one of the best I have done and will be going back .
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