The 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: 541m
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!?
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.)