Roughly 14.5km, 5h30hrs
Elevation gain: 635m
Distance from Vancouver: 2h
I have heard about Watersprite Lake for the first time about 2 weeks ago while visiting another BC outdoors blog. Turns out, the BCMC club is planning on building a hut at the lake, in Squamish, to use as a starting point for backcountry skiing and scrambling. After reading a few available trip reports online, I decided to plan a hike over there last week-end. The elevation gain and km I have written are based on an estimate from various trip reports I was able to find (I don’t usually track my trails myself!). Refer to the Watersprite Cabin website for more information on how to drive to the trailhead.
Most reports say that the trailhead (in the summer at least) is 2WD accessible. It is true – however it is a bit challenging at times. There are some very steep hills with loose rocks that can make it difficult for some smaller vehicles to get all the way to the trailhead. We ended up parking just before the last steep slope before the parking lot, because of some large water bars we wanted to avoid.
The first hour of the trail is mainly flat or with small elevation gain. It is a large trail/road surrounded by trees and bushes. After about one hour, you will see a large pile of logs in the middle of the road, where the road goes quickly down and up right after. Look on the left hand side – there were many pink markers as well as a marker on one of the trees indicating the turning point for the main trail.
The trail itself becomes very narrow and goes through a meadow along the creek. We could tell this is a freshly made trail – a lot of branches and roots poking through the ground and on the trail. Watch your step! It was cold for us that morning and most of the ground was frosty, which made some parts of the trail quite slippery. We started hiking very early in the morning, and although the sky was completely clear, the first few hours of the hike were cold and in the shadow of the large mountain peaks in front of us.
After a few creek crossings on logs and at the end of the meadows, there are 2 large boulder fields to cross, and quite a bit of elevation gain through the forest. Make sure you keep following the pink markers attached here and there by other hikers, especially in the boulder fields. When in doubt – look up! At this point you should be able to see the ridge above you in the valley, and this is mainly where you are heading. The second boulder field leads directly to Watersprite Lake.
We saw a total of about 35 hikers on the trail that day, including 2-3 groups that were coming back down from an overnight at the lake. There seems to be quite a few spots for tents in the area. The temperature was surprisingly warm at the lake, as it is mainly surrounded by mountains and away from the wind. We took about one hour to rest and have lunch, but did not go explore much of the area. It took us 3hrs to reach the lake area. From previous trip reports, I believe there are quite a few scrambles to do around the area, as well as a glacier.
We came back down from the same way we went up, in about 2h30. The last portion of the trail on the larger road seems quite long though, considering it is pretty flat. It is definitely a trail that I will want to check out again, with my tent this time, and explore the area around the lake!