Wedgemount Lake. You had better be in good condition
"Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternatives."Maurice Chevalier
Wedgemount Lake is a gem set in spectacular rugged mountains and fed by a huge glacier. Not for the light-hearted, you must be in good physical condition to tackle this hike. The elevation gain is 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) and since the distance from the trailhead to the lake is 7km (4.2 miles) the trail is going to be steep. Better to heed our advice and take easier rails.
Turn right off Hwy 99, 13 km north of Whistler. You must cross the BC Rail train track to access the road. Use must use extreme caution as this is an uncontrolled railway crossing. The parking lot is located 2 km from Hwy 99 along a deactivated Forest Service road. This road is recommended for 4x4 vehicles only. If you are in an auto you should park near the highway and walk in.
There is a small, basic hut which can sleep 6 people. Camping is permitted at designated campsites on the ridge near the hut and at Wedgemount Lake near the inlet from the Armchair Glacier. There are 10 camping platforms at each location with overflow camping available on the delta near the lake sites. A year-round pit toilet is located near the hut and another is set up near the lake sites for the summer season. No other amenities are provided.
Irma and I were camping at Duffy Lake one week in July. The forecast was perfect for the next day so we decided to hike the Wedgemount Lake trail. Rising early we enjoyed a hearty breakfast and were under way. In less than an hour we were parked (yes the road in from highway 99 was rough) and on the trail.
The trail is heavily forested and in good shape. Plenty of birds greeted us as we made our way along a not too steep trail. Before long we could hear the sound of running water and soon arrived at a very narrow wood foot bridge to cross Wedgemount Creek. After that harrowing experience we soon were into some serious elevation gain. The creek was far down into the canyon so we were happy we had carried water with us.
We came to a beautiful meadow with colorful wild flowers strutting their full colors to the rest of the world. Irma loved the aroma. Not far ahead we came across boulder fields. Off in the distance we could occasionally catch a glimpse of the falls but we would leave that for serious climbers. Shortly we emerged into another nice meadow and after crossing a creek the trail gods decided to get this climb into serious climbing. So steep we needed to switchback a couple of times before emerging into the open with an amazing vista of mountains, glaciers and down below, the emerald green waters of Wedgemount Lake.
The hut was off in the distance and we met up with two couples who had stayed the night. We could see three other tents down at the lake. We quickly made some tea and had a great lunch. As is the norm in these remote sites, the Canada Jays (Whisky Jacks) soon came up for their part of the lunch, trustingly eating crumbs from our open hands. We enjoyed the company of the other couples but decided against hiking down to the lake and around to the other end to view the glacier up close. We were satisfied to just take it all in from up high.
After about an hour and a half we parted company and headed home. The trail can be wet at times and of course that means slippery so you must be careful on the rocky areas. Reaching the crossing we had our last tea and lunch and arrived back at our van just eight hours after setting out. Wedgemount Lake is a good hike, not as tough as you may think, but a good workout never the less. The views are the greatest rewards for getting off the couch.
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