Lava Lake Loop – Whistler Hikes

Lava Lake Loop – Whistler Hikes

Lava lake loop Whistler hikesThe Lava Lake Loop is a fun, easy hike in the gorgeous Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. I have visited Brandywine Falls a few times before (it is amaaaazing in winter, covered in ice) but I had never been on the longer trails around the park. More than 99% of visitors just walk the waterfall, but if you have some extra time, it is worth exploring the rest of the area!

I found this hike in my Squamish Hiking book. It’s another good’un if you’d like ideas for hiking in Squamish and along the Sea to Sky highway.

Lava Lake Loop map

The route we did was slightly different to this, but you can get the idea.

Lava Lake Loop – the basics

Distance: 9.1 km 
Elevation Gain:
44m (according to the Squamish hiking book) 200m (according to Alltrails.)
High Point:
Time: 2-3 hours
What to bring:
This walk is not too hard, but you’ll want water, snacks and your camera!
There is a car park and a pit toilet at the trailhead.
This is doggy heaven, but you must keep them on a lead.
How hard is it?
Easy. There is hardly any elevation gain and the path is easy to follow.

Lava Lake Loop – Getting started

When you first leave the car park, most people will take the path to the right (after you cross the cool covered bridge.) However this walk goes off in the opposite direction, to the left. You’ll soon find yourself on a pretty, easy trail through quite open forest with plenty of ponds and mini lakes.

The trees are quite spaced out, so the trail is very sunny, despite being in woodland.

At the North end of the trail you need to walk along some private properly that is on the boundary of Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. This is the location of an abandoned train station, McGuire. But after a few meters along a forest service road, there is a trail that leads back south, into a more dense area of gorgeous forest.

Scarpa Boots on the trail

At one point we noticed that almost all of us have the same brand of walking boots! I love my pair, but I have never heard of this brand before I bought them, so it was a nice surprise to find out that everyone else loves them too. Mine are holding up much better than my previous Solomon boots that fell apart in less than a year.

The main loop continues back around to Brandywine Falls, but we took an extra mini detour to visit the Whistler bungee bridge. There are loads of mini lakes on the approach. The whole area is gorgeous.

Whistler Bungee Bridge

Does this look like the kind of bridge you’d like to jump off!? When we visited there were 3 people that jumped off while we watched. One of them is in the photo below if you look carefully!

The Cheakamus River

You can look down into the Cheakamus River Canyon. There are some truly fantastic views over to the black tusk as well.

After watching the crazy folks bungee jump, we took the picturesque path back towards Brandywine Falls.

The views are pretty good eh!?

Brandywine Falls

This has to be one of the best waterfalls near Whistler. If you don’t fancy doing the entire Lava lake loop, it is still worth vising Brandywine Falls Provincial Park for the waterfall. There is a great viewpoint that will be full of people. Still, you can brave a crowd for a view this good.

If you like the look of this, there are a few other amazing waterfalls nearby (or look at my Canada page for more ideas.)

Brandywine Falls, Whistler's best waterfall Lava lake loop Whistler hikes Brandywine Falls on the Lava Lake Loop - Fun, easy hike near Whistler

51 thoughts on “Lava Lake Loop – Whistler Hikes

    1. Same! Although they did make it look pretty cool. I think I’d prefer to jump out of an airplane (to avoid the moment when you’re yanked back up!)

    1. It’s great for a quick visit too isn’t it!? To be fair, you crammed sooooo much into your trip, it’s not surprising that you didn’t add in the whole 10km hike!

  1. I love it when hikes are easy but offer up views like this one. Thanks for the tips on which directions to go and I certainly won’t be jumping off of any bridges while I’m on the hike, haha!

  2. Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful!! This is exactly the kind of hike we love to do as family. Clearly, I need to book tickets to Canada, so we can do this hike. I cannot get over the views!! Breathtaking….

    1. Oooh there are sooo many good (easy/family friendly) options for hikes near Vancouver. If you ever do pop up here for a holiday, let me know and I can help you find some!

  3. I still can’t believe I haven’t been to Whistler yet! What a gorgeous place to hike! Oh my gosh I don’t think I would ever bungee jump haha but those views are stunning!!!

    1. Do you know about the turkey sale? On Canadian Thanksgiving, Whistler has a massive sale, so you can buy the winter gear if you want to go skiing/snowboarding.

      If you need an excuse to visit, that is a good time to go! 😉

  4. I love Brandywine falls, such a nice little walk, but never looked beyond that. This is good to know for my next trip to Whistler, I’m always looking for new places to stop along the way

    1. If you bring a swimming costume, there is another mini walk to a swimming lake here too.

      I have a few other fab ideas on the way to Whistler, Crumpet Mountain in Squamish, or the Tantalus lookout….or the Crater rim trail. There are so many good’uns.

      (Lol we might spend too much time driving up and down the sea to sky highway!)

    1. I do love Whistler in the snow! It’s just, it is a great destination for biking and hiking in the summertime as well. 😀

  5. First off I love the name Lava Lake Loop, so fun and intriguing! If there is a waterfall involved I’m always down for a hike. It looks so beautiful and one I’d love to do when I’m in that area!

    1. I think most of the geology is basalt (super old lava) I guess that is how it got the name. I would never have guessed that without the name though.

  6. I’ve only been to Whistler area in the winter to ski, but wow, that waterfall! I really want to come out there and do this hike so I can see that waterfall. Maybe next summer I can make this happen. Thanks for sharing another great hike!

    1. It’s a good one isn’t it!? Even if you come back in winter, Brandywine falls is amaaaaazing covered in ice as well!!

  7. Oooh I went to the Squamish area back in 2015 and have been dying to go back ever since!! And your post just gave me an excuse haha – this hike looks beautiful!

  8. You have so many great posts on hikes to do in Whistler, including this one! My husband and I are hoping to visit Whistler soon, so I will definitely be referencing this again!

  9. Another wonderful walk and you’re making me want to return to Whistler even more now. The scenery and views are absolutely stunning aren’t they?

  10. This hike looks so beautiful and those waterfalls are stunning! I love that it’s not crowded. I think my children would really enjoy an outing here. Hopefully one day we’ll check it out.

    1. Oooh yes, this would be a great walk for little legs! Or if 10km sounds too long, you could just do the second half to the waterfall and the bungee bridge.

  11. That bungee jump looks really scary to me, don’t think I’d have the guts to do it! Those falls though, absolutely spectacular. Totally worth a long hike!

    1. I know how you feel! I was thinking the exact same thing…until I saw people jump…now i can’t decide if I like the idea or not (!)

  12. We’ve never heard of the Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, but it looks like a great place to go for hiking. The water fall is really awesome, and during hot summer days it must be great to stand down there, don’t you think?

  13. We love incorporating hiking with our travels as much a we can and this looks like an incredible experience. That view of the Brandywine Falls is absolutely spectacular. That bungee jumping experience from the Whistler Bungee Bridge must be quite a delight for thrill-seekers – I sure don’t have the guts for that though!

  14. This look like a beautiful and very do-able hike! The forest and small lakes look so peaceful. I’d also like to see Brandywine Falls. It’s good to know about the bungee jumping over the bridge — something I don’t mind watching, but don’t think I can muster up the courage to do myself!

  15. That waterfall is stunning! Totally reminds me of Iceland. That bridge is also quite cool looking but there is no way I would jump. Lol.

  16. 2-3 hours hike is something I can manage. Whistler Bungee Bridge looks breathtaking. And what I should say about Brandywine falls, it looks amazing. BTW, I bet there is a story behind the name Brandywine.

    1. Oooh I wonder what it is!? To be honest, there are a bunch of alcohol related places near by (Gin Peak, Tonic Peak, Brew Lake etc…) whoever first named them must have liked alcohol!

    1. It did look pretty terrifying, but it didn’t look quite as scary as I expected. I can’t decide if I should consider it or not!

  17. This was a nice walk, and would probably be a great trail for a quick run (barring caveats about the rockiness and uneven ground on the east side). The lake views and cliff overlooks are wonderful.
    After doing this hike yesterday, couple of thoughts so that readers are prepared:
    A) are you certain the vertical is less than 50 meters and “hardly any elevation gain”? It felt like the cumulative vertical was quite a bit more.
    B) the east side of the trail is through closed-in forest and brush so not sunny, and was a little difficult to follow at times. At most other times the trail was finished well and straight forward.
    Thank you for the trail description!

    1. Thanks for the comment Craig! I’m glad you liked it too!

      You are right! We did this before Alltrails was popular, so I took the info from the Squamish hiking book. But it looks like the cumulative gain on alltrails is more like 200m. I’ve updated that in the main post. I really appreciate the feedback.

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