Whistler has some fantastic hikes right on the doorstep, and difficulties to suit everyone’s taste. Whether you prefer casual walks, great views or intense climbs, there is something to please you.
This week we’re looking at possibly the most difficult local hike – Wedgemount Lake. Although only 1100 metres up, this height is covered in only 7km! However, it is well worth the effort.
Those who take on the mountain are rewarded with incredible views, a cool lake and the iconic Wedgemount Hut (a great place to spend the night should you choose to).
Where is it?
The trailhead for the hike is located a short drive north of Whistler along the highway. Look for the turnoff on the right, which is well signposted.
From here follow the gravel road and take the first left. This continues to a fork – take the right and continue to follow the signs. Due to construction a new trailhead is signposted to the left of the old car park.
When to go
Technically there is year-round hiking at Wedgemount, but during the winter months it is only accessible with snowshoes. Even in the early summer months the latter stages of the hike will still have a covering of snow. It is not until July that you can be sure of a snow free route all the way up.
So with the seasons the choice is yours. Whether you choose to snowshoe or hike the reward remains the same. The earliest chance to hike is probably mid-May, although be prepared to walk through some knee-deep snow during the last kilometre.
As for the time of day it completely depends on whether you choose to stay the night. You should allow 6 hours for the round trip including a rest at the top (approximately 3 hours up, 2.5 hours down). Obviously doing a round trip, the earlier you go the better.
What to bring
Whether you’re staying the night will determine what you bring. If you are staying you will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes, food and water for two days. Although there is a hut at the top it is still advisable to bring a tent in case it is full. There are around 20 wooden camping platforms located at the lake.
For a day trip you will just need food, water and waterproofs/warm clothes. Even on sunny days the peak can be a bit chilly. The hike itself is mostly shaded so even on the warmest days you are not totally overwhelmed.
What to expect
The hike is very tough, there is no denying that! The first 5k follows a steep ascent through trees. This is as easy as it gets! Look out for orange trail markers in tough sections crossing rock debris.
The last portion follows a stream up through very steep boulders and rocks. This section is especially tough carrying a pack so be careful! (Note – The way down is probably even harder!)
Once you reach the top though, it all becomes worth it.