Alice Lakes – Four Lakes Trail

Alice Lakes – Four Lakes Trail

Alice Lakes - Four Lakes Trail and Fawn Lake viewAlice Lakes is the name of a Provincial Park located between Squamish and Whistler. There are several different trails in this area, but the most obvious is a loop called the Four Lakes Trail, which takes you through pretty forest past four lakes; Alice Lake, Edith Lake, Fawn Lake and Stump Lake. This whole area was created by the collapse of Mount Garibaldi’s lava flows hundreds of thousands of years ago; Leaving mini hills and lakes as the glaciers receded. Nowadays the Four Lakes Trail is a calm, relaxing walk through mossy forests on the way to each lake. It must fantastic for hiking, biking and swimming in the summertime!

This was the last walk we did in the wilderness (although this real trail isn’t particularly wild!)

Alice Lakes – Four Lakes Trail map

Four Lakes Trail the basics

Distance: Β 6km in a loop
Elevation Gain:
140m
Time: 2- 2.5 hours
What to bring: 10 essentials, and your camera.
Dogs: Its perfect for dogs, but they need to stay on leashes.
How hard is it? Pretty easy. We saw a few families walking with kids.

Getting started – Alice Lake

We parked close to Alice Lake, so started the Four Lakes Trail from there. This was a slightly chilly winters day, so it looked a bit grey and sad. Don’t judge this walk by my rubbish photos. I bet it is more picturesque on sunny days.

Once you’ve met the Canada geese on the beach, you follow a path around the lake in the trees. I quite like looking out to Alice Lake from inside the trees as you get to peek out the mountains. There are loos and loads of picnic benches at the beach on both sides of Alice Lake. There were a few people hanging out as families, so we kept our distance and crossed straight through onto the Four Lakes Trail towards Edith Lake.

Geology Geek-out

The Alice Lakes Provincial Park is right below (the amaaazing) Garibaldi Provincial Park and the giant dormant Garibaldi Volcano. 11,000-13,000 years ago, the Squamish Valley was covered by a receding glacier. Back then, Mount Garibaldi was more active, so it spilled lava out over the ice, and created a huge dome at its peak. Then, as the climate warmed, more and more of the glacier melted leaving gaps under the lava flows that could no longer support the rocks above them.

This resulted in a giant landslide where a huge section of Garibaldi mountain slid down into the valley. The debris from that slide created all the mini hills in this area that cyclists love to explore.Β  Lastly the melting glaciers carved a channel into the volcanic debris. Alice Lake and Stump Lake are the remnants of that melt-water channel. Cool eh?

Four Lakes Trail – Forest time

The forest must have been logged in the last century as most of the trees are a bit spindly. It’s still a gorgeous area to explore though, all covered in moss. You need to follow the path up a gentle hill, so you can get your heart pumping slightly.

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I loove how mossy this whole area can be! The forest floor, the boulder and the trees are all wrapped in fuffy green moss-blankets.

Edith Lake

I thought the second Lake, Edith Lake was the prettiest of the four. It is quite small, so calm and great for reflections. We went the wrong way, so walked the whole way around this lake, rather than following the official trail straight to the next lake.

We did take a wrong turning, but the sign posts around the Four Lakes Trail are pretty decent. Even if you are direction ally challenged, you can do this one!

Alice Lakes for Cycling

The path between Edith Lake and Fawn lake is really wide and easy to follow. It seemed like it would be great for getting started mountain biking. If you look at the map above, you can see there are quite a lot of bike friendly trails here. They seemed pretty easy compared to the more advanced forest trails in Whistler or Vancouver.

Fawn Lake

This lake is teeny, and easy to miss, as you need to take a mini detour off the main trail. We met a few very happy dogs who’d just been swimming, so I liked this lake!

The trail wiggles through the forest beyond Fawn Lake.

I suppose this is the furthest area from the car park and camping areas, so it was really quiet and serene.

The only slightly odd thing was all the trees that had fallen down. I’m not sure if there are always piles of moss-covered logs on the forest floor, or this was from a big storm recently. Some parts of the forest felt like a skinny-tree-graveyard.

Painted rocks – Leave No Trace

We started to find painted rocks hidden in the moss, or placed on stumps along the trail. I didn’t see this mentioned in previous trail reports, so maybe someone placed them recently.

I don’t want to encourage more people to leave painted rocks in the forest, as it doesn’t really follow ‘leave no trace’ principles. But I have to admit, it was fun to watch out for these flashes of colour. We found quite a few. Since then I have found loooads around Vancouver, so maybe it is some kind of project for kids during self isolation? If you have kids and want to put their painted rocks out, please leave them in the city, rather than the wilderness.

Cheekye River

The most Northerly part of he trail brings you up to a fantastic view of the Cheekye River and the spiky Alpha Mountain. Even on a grey day, I looved this mountain view.

Stump Lake

The last of the four lakes is Stump Lake. There are two ways to head back to the car park. We chose the slightly longer walk so we could see more of this lake. You actually can’t see much through the trees, but every so often there are spots where you can sneak down to the water.

The views through the trees give you some idea of how pretty (and busy) this area must get in the summertime!

After that weekend, more and more of the trails and parks closed here in BC. Since then, we’ve not left Vancouver or been anywhere near mountains or forests for a month now. There were quite a lot of cars in the car park when we visited, but the area is large enough that we didn’t meet many other people on along the trail. I initially thought it was pretty easy to practice social distancing in these kind of Provincial Parks. But I guess once you add in the possibility of people meeting up for picnics, as well as the chances of people getting lost/needing search and rescue…I can see why they decided to close everything in the end.

I’m sad to not be out on the trails in this lovely weather, but it’ll be worth it if people in BC avoid this virus. I’d love to hear how you’re all staying sane and healthy during the lock down in your part of the world?

Alice Lakes - Four Lakes Trail through the forest Alice Lakes - Four Lakes Trail and Fawn Lake view Alice Lakes - Edith Lake view

Click on the pins above to save them for when you can walk again!

71 thoughts on “Alice Lakes – Four Lakes Trail

    1. Thanks Rebecca!

      We are starting to miss seeing mountains peek out through the forest! It’s so strange for me to be within a city for more than a month!!

  1. Another fabulous trail, looks wonderful and how great would that be to walk and explore at this moment when we’re all in the grip of this terrible crisis. Stay safe and healthy.

    1. Haha me too! I am okay once I can see big landmarks like mountains, but I am easily turned around in the forest. Luckily Marc is some kind of direction-genius!

  2. I miss Canada so much! Although we were so close to here during our road trip last summer we just missed this part, just an excuse to go back though right! πŸ˜‰

    1. I hope you’re doing okay where-ever you are locked down Vicky! But yeees come back – there are loads of places like this that are more famous for locals than international travelers. You just have to find them.

    1. Thanks Lenore! I hope you can try hiking soon! It’s so easy – just one foot in front of the other and you’re off.

  3. What a wonderful place. The 4 lakes look amazing and your photos are so lovely. We are all missing these adventures. I’m in Melbourne and I can’t wait to get out in our nearby forests and walk some scenic trails too.

    1. Thank you! It all looks a bit grey from my photos, but I am pretty sure it is a lovely area sometimes!

      I hope we can both get out onto the trails soon-ish!

  4. This looks gorgeous! I miss being able to get out and go for a good hike. I can’t wait to take another trip to Canada and explore some more of these beautiful trails! Thanks for sharing 😁

    1. Thanks for reading Jen. I know what you mean. Hopefully we’ll all be out of quarantine and back on the trails soon.

  5. Such Gorgeous Lakes and the trail is so fabulous to walk! I supposed to be in Canada this summer but would like to visit next year for now. Enjoyed your Post and your pictures are so beautiful. I am badly missing mountains.

    1. Urgh me too. I hope things will be better later in the summer, but it sounds like they might not be. At least Canada and the mountains will be waiting for you the following year. I can even help you plan if you like.

  6. Wow, your pictures of the four lakes trail look beautiful! Ah the colored rocks do add some fun to the trail, but I totally agree with the leave-no-trace principles!

    1. Thanks Lara. They did make me smile to start with so I feel a bit humbug-y for mentioning leave no trace. Still I really hope this doesn’t become a normal thing to leave them in the wilderness…

  7. I’ll definitely have to try these walks next time I am in Canada. I was actually near this area last time I was visiting and I had no idea that these lovely walks existed?

    1. Oooh Pip, if/when you come back, please let me show you some of the really pretty spots. There are sooo many less famous areas that are worth blowing your socks off with their prettiness.

    1. Really? I never think of Scotland as being very forest-y, but I have only scratched the surface of your beautiful country.

      Now we’re used to driving Canadian distances, if we move home to the UK, we will definitely head North more and walk more in Scotland.

  8. These lakes look so stunning! Your post has definitely inspired me to visit, and I’ve been wanting to explore Canada’s nature for a while now! Thanks for this πŸ™‚

    1. You know, I didn’t think of it like that, but it is pretty good value for seeing so much on such an easy walk. <3

  9. I hiked this trail back in fall 2019, the last time I was out in British Columbia (I live in Ontario). It was such a great day hike to do out of Squamish. Not too tough and beautiful views. Since all my international travel is now cancelled for the coming months, depending on if the pandemic continues to improve in Canada, I expect I’ll be coming back to BC in the late summer – Might be time to revisit Alice Lakes!

    1. I really hope Canada opens up a bit this summer (even if we can’t travel internationally!) Squamish is SUCH a gorgeous area to explore. Did you get a chance to visit Garibaldi Provincial Park? That whole area is stunning, but if you need ideas for places to visit, please give me a shout. πŸ˜€

  10. I’ve overlooked Alice Lake in the past and was surprised how much I enjoyed this trail when I did it for the first time last fall. I’m fortunate that I can still get up into the trails from my house these days and have discovered a few beauties above Horseshoe Bay with very few people.

    1. Same! I always overlooked this one for the more exotic (well, up-high) trails. I did really enjoy it and I’d definitely come back, especially in the shoulder season,

  11. Love this post and love the Squamish area altogether! We are currently in Utah and some parks are closed but not all of them so we can still be on the trails. We have done a fair bit of hiking last week and saw almost nobody which was great!

    1. Oooh you lucky thing! Whenever I see posts about Utah I am blown away by the diversity of the views. I hope you keep enjoying those trails. πŸ™‚

  12. I’m actually a big fan of hikes with little elevation gain. Sure, they’re more of a walk, but it’s nice sometimes to just focus on the scenery instead of keeping your breath! Also! My daughter’s name is Edith so that would definitely be our favorite lake. πŸ™‚

    1. Lol yes, it’s always the best if you can visit somewhere with your name! I have a feeling there are quite a few places in BC with Edith and Catherine for names – you could go on so many family hikes.

  13. Oh how gorgeous, I love the moss-covered landscape as well! I’m itching to get to Canada, so this will be going on the list.

    1. The forests here are temperate rainforests, so when you get here, you’ll definitely find plenty of moss.

  14. Always wanted to visit Canada! Feeling inspired after reading this – I will definitely try some hiking when I get to visit πŸ™‚

  15. What a beautiful hike! I travelled through West Canada 16 years ago and made a stop in Whistler, but that was just an overnight stay on my way to Tofino. I had no ideas about these beautiful trails in the area. Loved Canada though and definitely want to go back one day πŸ™‚

    1. Wooah that is a long way to go in a day! I still really want to get to Tofino too…maybe if things open up later in the summer.

      I hope you can make it back to explore the area around Whistler too. There is sooo much to see here.

  16. seeing all these photos have made me missed trekking so much! I can’t wait to travel and get out there on trails again! 😭

  17. I never knew about these stunning place and I would definitely go for Alice Lakes trail. Good to know that it is the name of a Provincial Park located between Squamish and Whistler.

  18. This looks like a great walk and definitely plenty to see! I do always find it interesting going hiking in the ‘off season’, you’re right that sometimes the views aren’t always as picturesque as the summer (e.g. grey skies instead of blue) but it’s almost a whole different experience to have the place to yourself! I guess that’s one of the perks of visiting in the quieter months.

    1. Yes! In Canada it seems like there are quite a few people that still walk in the off season, but back home in the UK, we always had trails to ourselves in winter!

  19. You had me at ‘calm, relaxing walk’, lol! Most of your hikes are generally too difficult for me, but this one sounds amazing, and doable! Love love love lakes – don’t be too hard on your photos, they are great πŸ™‚ Love the reflections! Alpha Mountain looks impressive!

  20. What wonderful trails around four pretty lakes. You’re right about the painted rocks. Canadians have implemented this fun activity at our Viewpoint Gold Resort in Arizona. We walk around (while social distancing), find the rocks and move them to another place for others to find! But why can’t you hike these trails, especially if there are so few people on the trails?

    1. Sorry about my slow reply Carol. I think the BC government wanted to stop people congregating in the same places.

      I personally thought we could maintain social distance on the trails, but once all the parks were closed, there wasn’t much we could do. We decided to follow the rules and stay in the city while that’s what the authorities advise.

  21. The beauty of those lakes is incredible – we were meant to visit Canada in September and this seems more and more unlikely to happen…
    Can’t wait to trek again…

    1. Thaaaaank you! Yeah I feel the same way with this pandemic. I am sooo excited to get back on the trails soon.

  22. Ooo, the lakes are so pretty! :] I miss going for walks/hikes–finally went on one last weekend and it was so nice to be out again!

    Poor skinny trees! :[ Agreed on leaving no trace, although those are cute finds!

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