Squamish Hikes – Watersprite Lake

Squamish Hikes – Watersprite Lake

I have found a new favourite hike!! The walk up to Watersprite Lake near Squamish is simply perfect! I can totally see why the lake has such a fairy-like name; It is ridiculously beautiful, so it really does feel like you’ve arrived in a bright-blue, watery fairyland.

In addition to the epic views at the end of the walk, your eyes will be treated to stunning vistas for the entire hike. There are perfect views of Mount Garibaldi, over to Squamish and the Tantalus mountain range. Then as you get close, you’ll see Martin Peak, Gibson Peak, Watersprite Tower with Dreadnought Peak behind the lake. I was making “squeeee” noises for our entire walk as it was so, so pretty!

Watersprite Lake – the Basics

Distance: 17 km (although my phone thinks we walked more like 19km)
Elevation Gain:
Highest Point: 1465m
 6.5-7 hours (plus plenty of time at the lake!!)
What to bring:
Walking boots. Hiking poles. Plenty of water and food. The 10 essentials.
There is a loo by the lake, and BCMC have a hut by the lake, but you need a reservation to stay in fairyland!! There is a camp site as well.
Dog owners are discouraged from bringing their pups on this hike as it is a sensitive ecological area.
How hard is it?
Intermediate. 17 km feels quite long, although it’s not a huge elevation gain for such a long distance. There are some long flat sections as well as some areas where you need to scramble over boulders. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day!
Extra tips:
You need a car that can cope with dodgy logging roads for this one. We have an SUV, which coped fine, and we did see a couple of regular cars up there…but I wouldn’t attempt it without four wheel drive and high clearance.
Although I always prefer hard-copy maps, I couldn’t find one for this walk in MEC. So, I downloaded an app from Vancouver trails and then also downloaded the trail map for this walk to my phone, so I could view it offline. This worked really well to show how far along the hike we were.

Beautiful views from the trail

The vista below is one of the first views from just above the car park! This sets the tone for how impressive the views can be on the Watersprite Lake trail! Normally we have to hike for miles to see views this beautiful!

Gorgeous Alpine Flowers

We spotted columbia lilies and Indian paintbrushes along the trail to Watersprite Lake.  I only know the names because of my blogging friend Andy Gibb. You should follow his blog if you are a fan of amazing alpine flowers!

Brand New Trail

BCMC made a new trail up to the lake in 2016, and they are still working on it and improving it. This means the path is really well maintained and easy to follow. There are some very muddy parts of the path, but they have created boardwalks over the very worst bits, and new stairs in the steep woodland sections.

Mount Garibaldi Views

This is easily the best view we have ever had of the beautiful Mount Garibaldi! Just, don’t come here expecting to see this view unless it is a ridiculously nice day! We had been to Squamish more than six times before we ever caught a glimpse of this mountain as it is often surrounded by clouds! This stunning viewpoint was about 4 kilometers into the hike.

Not *too* steep

Compared to many of the hikes on the North Shore of Vancouver, this hike is not too steep at all! The first big gain in elevation is spread out over several kilometers, so it wasn’t too exhausting. Just be aware, there are some steeper moments right at the end of the hike, just before you reach the lake.

In fact, you can see the path, in the line of trees in the photo below. You do keep going uphill the whole way, but it’s not very steep.

There are also long flat(ish) parts of trail where you can catch your breath and look at flowers and the surrounding views.

Squamish Views

Behind my jumping photo is the view back to Squamish, the Stawamus Chief and even Mount Crumpit (which looks more like a pimple than a mountain from up here!) I think we had to travel for 14 km along logging roads to reach the car park. From up here you can see how difficult it would be to reach this trail without those logging roads! They may be bumpy and hard to drive on, but they do allow us to reach some stunning places!

Rock slides and scrambling

There are quite a few places along this trail where you can see some massive rock slides have scarred the mountains in the past! Around 5km into the hike, some massive sections of rock have been cleaved off the mountainside, so you just have to scramble over them. You can even see cracks in the ground where this might happen again! There was quite a steep drop-off at the edge of the path too! You need to be careful!!

After the big rock slide there is a long easy section where you stay at about the same elevation and wind your way up into a valley. We spent quite a long time watching humming birds zoom around. They are so, so tiny (and speedy) that it took me a while to take a photo!

Boulder field

Soon, you get your first view of Martin Peak, and you can just see the top of Watersprite Tower peeking out behind other mountains! This shows you’re only a few kilometers away from Watersprite lake! But, before you can start the last ascent up to the lake, you have to cross a large boulder field. There are markers, so we didn’t find it difficult to find the path, but it was a little tiring in the hot sun.

Doesn’t Martin Peak look amazing!?

The last push

Next you get some shade as you cross and creek, and walk up through the forest. This part of the walk was being improved by BCMC while we were there. Those volunteers are SUCH superstars! We tried to keep out of their way, so I don’t have any photos of this section.

Lastly you need to hike up a steep pile of rocks. But if you get tired, just turn around and admire the view!

The reward – Watersprite Lake

After all that, this is the view that greeted us. How lovely is this!? The lake is filled with glacial water, that is why it is such a pretty colour. It also means it is coooold! The tower behind the lake is Watersprite Tower.

Considering the walk was not crazily difficult, I was surprised how few people made it up here on a Saturday in July. We left Vancouver at 6:30am and started walking just after 9:00am. We were up at the lake by 12:30, and there were fewer than ten other people there! Some of them were serious instagram photographers, letting off flares and posing for photos in their swimsuits…so we just wandered around the lake a little way to find a quiet spot for lunch. The water looks really inviting, but it is sooooo cold!!

Reflections of Watersprite Lake

There is something special about the reflection of mountains into a crystal clear lake. It is just so calming and beautiful! Marc showed me how to take better photos of the reflections by crouching down close to the water. I also love the look of Watersprite Tower reflected in his sunglasses.

We normally don’t spend long enough contemplating the pretty views on our hikes, but this lake was so special, that we stayed for ages. We relaxed up at Watersprite Lake for a couple of hours, before we realised we should probably head home. Before we started our return journey, we climbed a little way above the lake to take a panorama. I love it so much that I’ve changed my blog’s header.

We could not have picked a better day! Seeing Watersprite lake in the sun, was just perfect!

BC Mountain Club Superstars

BCMC (The British Columbia Mountain Club) folks were improving the trail last weekend, so hopefully the last section of this walk will be slightly easier if this post inspires you to explore!! I really appreciate their hard work making such amazing trails for everyone to enjoy. Now I’ve seen them, I am planning to sign up. If you like the sound of BCMC too, you can find out more about them and sign up here.


44 thoughts on “Squamish Hikes – Watersprite Lake

    1. Have an amaaaazing time!! 😀

      If you can, leave really early. It was really hot by the time we were heading back, and all the hikers who were heading up later looked really exhausted!

  1. Wow! This hike looks amazing! I’ve finally coming completed the Camino and I’m constantly feeling trek ready so I’ll have to put this on the to-do list! #flyawayfriday

  2. That’s a gorgeous view, but 17km is a fair hike, especially going uphill 🙂
    I could do it, but I’d probably start complaining halfway up. I guess it’s lucky that the view would shut me up! #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Yeah, I was pretty tired by the end of the hike, but those views really helped!

      The bad part was driving back on the logging road once we were tired after the hike. Marc was a hero and took over. 😀

  3. What a gorgeous place! I am planning on hiking a 14er here in Colorado this summer, but need to get a couple of good hikes under my belt first. #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Oooh but if you’re in the US, is that 14 miles? That would be even further! Over 22 km!

      It looks like Colorado has some stunning hikes!! 😀

  4. What an incredible hike! You have inspired me to fit in some hikes for the summer (or fall). The Eastern Sierra Nevada area is full of lakes and there are several I have not visited yet. I have to see how they compare to this lake. The background in here is great! #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Oooh awesome Ruth. I would love to hike in Sierra Nevada too, you are so lucky to live in such a pretty area!! <3

      Summer hikes are brilliant, as long as you can carry enough water!!

    1. It really does, doesn’t it!? If you look on instagram I think some folks add filters to make it look even more crazy blue, but the natural colour is just that crazy!

  5. A beautiful picture of the lake, mountains with the crystal clear sky as the backdrop. The basics information that you provided at the beginning of the post seems really helpful for any future travelers. Happy travels!

    1. Thanks Erica!

      I’m hoping that if folks that live near here see it, they’ll be able to do the same pretty walk! <3

    1. Thanks George!! We did another epic one today (sort of by mistake) but Watersprite was so pretty that today’s awesome hike can’t quite compare…

    1. Thanks for commenting Brianna! <3

      I guess you just need to make sure you can relax the following day and recover! I often find my legs are tiiired on my cycle to work on Monday morning if I do too epic a walk at the weekend!!

    1. Thank you!!

      It was totally worth the effort. I think next time I’ll have to be braver and jump in for a swim. That water was soooo cold!

  6. These mountains are glorious!! I hope I can make it to the west coast of Canada one day to see views like this! So inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank *you* for commenting Viola!!

      We just had an even more epic weekend! The West Coast is amaaaazing! Give me a shout if you do come this way as I can tell you sooo many pretty places to explore!

  7. I love all your posts out west! The lake is stunning and I love any body of water where it is at the end of a hike and you can see your reflection. Love the birds and flowers too! Thanks for coming out to Fly Away Friday! Hope to see you this week!

    1. Thanks Emese!

      Yeah, it did feel long by the end of the day, but oh my goodness it was worth it for those views!! 😉

  8. After hiking up there at the weekend I had to go back and read your post again 🙂 You managed to do what we didn’t, which was hang around at the lake admiring the views – I need to go back so I can take it in some more, and hopefully explore some of the surrounding peaks.

      1. We did enjoy our time up there, but next time I’d like to spend more time admiring the classic view from the hut side of the lake. It was a bit of a slog on the snowy boulders to get to the campground and none of us felt like going back over them, even for that view 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.