Wedgemount Lake Hike
The Wedgemount Lake hike is reminiscent of the “Stairmaster” at the gym, as you gain over 4429ft in just 5.0mi. Trust us, though, that the unbelievable views of the turquoise Wedgemount Lake are too stunning to describe, and make the hike well worthwhile in Whistler.
To get to the trailhead of the Wedgemount Lake hike, drive north from Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway. After passing Green Lake, look out for signs pointing towards the Wedgemount Lake parking lot. You will turn right onto a dirt logging road, and follow the signs posted by a logging company towards the trailhead. This logging road is a challenge for two-wheel drive cars, however most will be able to do it. A competent driver is a must.
|When to do|
June through September
Yes at Lake
Trailhead & Hut & Backcountry campgrounds
Out and back
Wedgemount Lake Hike
Wedgemount Lake Trail Description
The first part of the Wedgemount Lake hike is relatively easy; a short flat approach to the meat and potatoes of the climb. Shortly you will begin the ascent, and it will not end until you crest a ridge and arrive at the west side of Wedgemount Lake. Make sure to bring plenty of water and take regular breaks – this a steep climb that must be taken seriously, especially on hot days. After a seemingly never-ending climb under the trees, you’ll emerge in a boulder field. This is the last section of the climb, albeit the most difficult. There are many loose rocks, so take care when ascending and always shout “ROCK!” when you dislodge a stone.
Finally, after cresting the pass, you will realize why you’ve put your body through all this pain. The views of Wedgemount Lake are absolutely stunning. A quick flat hike will bring you to the campsite and the small hut located on the north side of Wedgemount Lake.
From here you get unbelievable views to the south, taking in Rethel Mountain on the right and Parkhurst Mountain on the left. Above you to the north there is the conical Mount Weart, as well as Mount Cook to the left. Across the lake on its eastern flank you can see two sections of the huge Wedgemount Glacier.
If you’ve got the energy, the hike around Wedgemount Lake to Wedgemount Glacier is an absolute must. Follow the trail around Wedgemount Lake, and scramble up the ridge on the far side to come within meters of the glacier. Take a little time here to appreciate the unique beauty of the glacier, and marvel at its long life. Above the glacier, you will be able to see the tip of Wedge Mountain poking up.
Note: Glaciers are very dangerous to be on or around. Watch for rock and icefall. Further, walking on the glacier is extremely dangerous. Do not undertake any glacier travel unless you and everyone in your party have experience and training.
Return the way you came, taking extreme care descending the steep trail.
Hiking Trail Highlights
The turquoise waters of Wedgemount Lake make this hike one of the most popular day treks in the Whistler region. Fed by glacial meltwaters, the incredible color of the lake is perfectly offset by the surrounding snow-capped peaks, making the steep climb to the top worth all the effort.
From the lake, you’ll have a wonderful view over some of the most iconic peaks in the region. Expect to see the distinctive outlines of Rethel Mountain, Parkhurst Mountain, Mount Moe, Mount James Turner, Mount Weart and Mount Cook. On a clear day the colors are dazzling, from the brilliant turquoise of the lake to the dark rocks and snow-covered summits of the imposing mountains.
The scenery around Wedgemount Lake is so spectacular, you may wish to linger for longer. There is a cabin perched on a small knoll just above the lake, which is a popular gathering place for hikers in the summer months. The cabin sleeps approximately 8 people, and offers some minimal facilities, but there is plenty of space for camping in the surrounding area.
The Wedgemount Glacier sits just below the imposing summit of Wedge Mountain, so-named for its distinctive ‘wedge-like’ shape. The terminus of the glacier is around 984ft from the lake shore, and over the past 40 years has receded significantly, leaving new pools, ice caves and riegels (ridges in the bedrock).
This dramatic natural feature is one of the highlights of the Wedgemount Lake hike, offering the opportunity to get a close-up view of the gargantuan river of ice that covers the northern face of the peak. Glacial recession has created a unique phenomenon; while the glacier once reached the lake shore, it now finds its terminus several hundred meters away, creating a dramatic ice cave. Large chunks of ice drop from the glacier’s terminus on a frequent basis, so keep your distance and take extra care when visiting this side of the lake.
Frequently asked questions about Wedgemount Lake
Can you swim in Wedgemount Lake?
It is possible to swim in Wedgemount Lake, but the water can be extremely cold. The lake is fed by glacial meltwater, and the high altitude means that temperatures by the lake are usually cool, even on hot days. Nevertheless, many hikers do brave the icy waters – just make sure to have a warm change of clothes ready when you get out!
How long is Wedgemount Lake trail
The Wedgemount Lake trail is 9.7mi, if attempted as an out-and-back day hike. Due to the steep, challenging climb to the lake, it typically takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete.
If you don’t already have them, hiking poles would be worth purchasing for this hike. More so for the way down, as the steep, root filled trail is difficult to descend with the support of extendable trekking poles.
The area surrounding Wedgemount Lake always seems colder than the rest of the Whistler region. Bring some extra layers so you can sit and soak in the stunning view.
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