The hike to Rohr Lake was our first snowy day of the year in 2020. We had planned to walk the whole way to the lake (I thought it would look beautiful with the sprinkling of snow.) However there was a bit more snow than we expected, so we didn’t make it the whole way up the bolder field. Even not getting to our planned destination, we still really loved the misty views. I would love to go back and explore more around here in the summertime.
The hike itself is not very hard until you make it up to the beautiful meadows below the boulder field. It’s only the final half kilometer that is challenging.
Rohr Lake trail map
Rohr Lake – the basics
Distance: 8.5 km (10km if you reach the lake and hike to the opposite side.)
Elevation gain: 540 m
Highest Point: 1800 m
Time: 4-6 hours (It took us 4 hours including breaks, but we didn’t make it the whole way)
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
Swimming things in summer if you fancy a dip in freezing water
In winter you need avalanche gear (transceiver, shovel and probe) as well as snowshoes.
Facilities: Nothing along this trail.
Dogs: Yes, on a leash.
How hard is it?
The last section in the boulder field makes it challenging. It’s intermediate up to that point.
Rohr Lake – Getting Started
There is parking at the side of the Sea to Sky Highway, opposite a huge salt shed. This trailhead is 3.5km after the parking area for Joffre Lakes, North of Pemberton. If you have 4×4, you can drive part of the way up the forest service road, however there is limited space to park, so you might have to drive back down and park by the highway.
There’s a mini short cut from the highway over to the logging road. After that, you just follow the gently sloping forest service road right to the end. It is only 2.2km along this road. We started our walk in sleet, and it slowly changed into snow as we hiked along here.
Main trail to Rohr Lake
Once you reach the end of the logging road, turn right into the trees to start the main muddly, rooty trail towards Marriot Basin and Rohr Lake. The snow had just started to settle here, but we were happy to continue.
Rohr Lake in winter
There is an avalanche terrain map posted at the start of the trail. You can see the route to Rohr Lake is mostly simple terrain, with challenging terrain in the very last section up to the lake.
If you’d like to see the full map, it is in the trip planning section of the Avalanche Canada website. To learn more about the different types of terrain and how to read Avalanche forecasts, take a look at the fantastic Avy Savvy website. Please do not attempt to visit Rohr Lake later in the wintertime without Avalanche equipment (as well as training, so you know how to use it!)
On this occasion, near the start of the trail there was only enough snow to cover teeny mushrooms, so we were not too worried about avalanches!
Marriot Basin Trail
This trail is the winter route to Wendy Thompson Memorial Hut and Marriot Basin. There was a sign saying the hut is closed (and locked) due to covid-19 this year, but it would be a cool snowshoeing adventure to go there another time!
There are plenty of creeks to cross (on ice/snow covered bridges). The route is a constant, but easy-ish ascent through beautiful forest. It looks like it must be a very muddy trail normally. When we visited, the ground was frozen.
Watch out for the Rohr sign! Turn right at this tree to continue onto the Rohr Lake trail.
At this point, the snow started in earnest. The forest is so pretty when the snow starts to fall. We both made plenty of stops to soak up the quiet, calming views.
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As we hiked higher there was a bit more snow. There wasn’t enough for snowshoes, but we were glad to have microspikes in our bags to stop us from sliding around too much.
At around 1680m the trail flattens out into a meadow that was blanketed in snow and shrouded in mist.
You can see this area had not been cold for long. The creek was still flowing, and there is only a thin layer of snow on the ground.
We couldn’t see the route, but we were able to follow the map on my phone to find the base of the boulder field below Rohr Lake.
The boulder field
The last stretch is through this snow-covered boulder field. Rohr Lake is only 1km (and 200m elevation gain) away. Unfortunately we’d arrived when it wasn’t quite snowy enough to hike straight up with snowshoes.
Some of the boulders are huge (with large gaps in between them.) so when the snow is new and soft, you could easily lose your footing and hurt yourself.
Follow the flags!
We found flagging that followed a pathway through the trees on the right-hand side of the boulder field. The trail follows a stream that had not yet frozen, so we hiked through cold water to make our way up. This was much easier than attempting to climb up the boulders as we could at least see where we were placing each step.
This section is a bit of a challenge. It is slippery. Plus you need to be able to pull yourself up some vertical rocky sections and you can’t help but get wet in the stream, so you’ll be cold.
In the end, the route turns back into the boulder field to avoid some cliffs. We traversed part of it, but it was just a little beyond our comfort zone. It seemed far too easy to break through the snow into a hole between boulders and twist an ankle or really hurt ourselves. GPS showed that we were only about 20m below the lake, but we called it and turned back. The Lake will still be there next time, so we’ll just have to return another day.
Views from the boulder field
We may have failed to reach Rohr Lake, but look at the views from just below it!? This was such an incredible hike.
The mist kept floating along, revealing different mountains as we slowly climbed back down the edge of the boulder field. It’s always much harder climbing down, but at least we had views like this to keep us company.
Head back via the same route
We made it down the tricky section safely, so now we just needed to retrace our steps back to the Sea to Sky highway and our car. Heading down from the meadow back to the car only took 1.25 hours. So we didn’t have to stay cold for long! We stopped off in Pemberton for coffee and hot chocolate to warm us back up.
We may not have reached our destination on this occasion, but I think we made the right choice. I’d love to hear from you if you have done this hike, or if you like the sound of it. Next time, I’d like to come in the summertime and attempt to go the whole way up Mount Rohr. I like the idea of attempting to roar like a bear from the peak.
If you like the look of this trail, click on the pins below to save them.