Whistler trips. Hike, Backpack or Bicycle. Diamond Head has it all.
Diamond Head is really a mountain peak or destination. You may hike to the area and spend days on trails, and off trails, in the area. Mamquam Lake, Black Tooth, Opal Cone and Little Diamond Head and Garibaldi Mountain are trails accessible from the hut at Elfin Lakes.
Bikers please note. On these whistler trips you may use your bike to travel the 11 km (6.5 miles) to the Ranger Hut at Elfin Lake only.
It takes a very special skill to not only see what might make a beautiful photo such as these of Elfin Lakes. Thanks to the artistry of Ryan and Sabrina there are many more on their web page. Why not drop by and take a look..
Here is a truly great hike. Irma and I spent a few days checking out the area and now, more than 8 years later, we still reminisce whenever great memories of wilderness hiking come to mind.
A fairly simple and straight forward, fairly long hike of 22 km (13 miles) return, it is possible to do in a day. For those who are lesser human beings, you should probably allow two days. This will give you more time to explore the surrounding points, take a dip in one of the lakes and enjoy the flora and fauna.
Please note. You must place the correct amount for parking into the envelope provided. $3.00 per day is the rate. Cash only so be prepared to pay.
From the parking lot you will gain 850 meters (2700 feet) in elevation. Most of this will be accomplished in the first 4 km (2.5 miles).
You have two camping choices.
First. You simply carry your tent and gear all the way and camp in the campground a short distance from the Elfin shelter.
Or you can climb up to the saddle between the Gargoyles and Columnar Peak for fantastic views of everywhere. We opted for the lower campground.
Another option and some tougher whistler trips is to hike up Little Diamond Head at an altitude of 1700 meters (5500 feet). You may also hike out to Opal Cone (same height as Little diamond Head) on the edge of the Garibaldi permanent snowfield. This is a 13 kilometer round trip from Elfin Lakes. Or continue on to Mamquam Lake further to the east which is a 22 kilometer (12 ½ mile) round trip from Elfin Lakes.
Second. Carry your sleeping bag and pad and stay in the Elfin shelter. It sleeps 34 in bunks, has a gas range and water.
The rate for the campground is $5.00 and the shelter is $10.00 per night. The shelter is first come first served.
View of Red Heather Campground
The Elfin Lake trail system is one of the few that allows bikes to the shelter area.
To get to the trailhead for these whistler trips, from Whistler, turn south onto highway 99 and head for Squamish approximately 60 km (35 miles) away. After you pass the intersection for Brackendale look for the Mamquam road at a traffic light.
Turn left onto Mamquam road and drive 16 km (10 miles) to the Diamond Head parking lot. The road is good until you enter the park and then pot holes take over but with some patience your car will do just fine. Chains are a requirement in winter.
It is not advisable to leave anything in your vehicle as break-ins do occur.
The trail to Elfin Lakes is actually a service road for the park. The steepest part of the trail is in the first 4km (2.5 miles) and once you reach the Red Heather Meadows it’s much easier. There is a very nice campsite at the Red Heather with a good building where you can get in out of the weather to eat. The Meadows in winter get covered with copious amounts of snow, a great place to develop your cross country ski techniques.
The Red Heather campsite has a few platforms for tenting. If you intend to only stay one night, this is a good area to camp overnight. Hide your pack and gear in the woods and day pack it to Elfin Lakes in the morning. Enjoy the visit and pick up your pack on the way out.
The trail gradually brings you to the high point of Paul Ridge 3km (1.8 miles) further along from the Meadows. You are now at the highest point of the trail at 1600 m (5120 feet). Here is where the beauty of Elfin Lakes opens up to the eye. Your destination is in view. this is what makes Whistler trips so exciting. This is a photo of what it is like in winter.
Mt. Atwell is the diamond shaped pinnacle to the north. Thus Diamond Head gets it’s name. Look at the mountain in behind Mt. Atwell. That’s Mt. Garibaldi 2678m (8600 feet) the park’s namesake. Soak in the beauty of the surrounding mountains. The Tantalus range is to your west, Garibaldi and Diamond Head to the north and Mt. Mamquam dominates to the east.
Glaciers adorn the peaks to add to the beauty before you. In the past this whole area was one of the most volcanically active of the Cascade Range. What you see today is a far cry from thousands of years ago. The Black Tusk is a volcanic plug from that era. Whistler trips are fantastic.
View from Black Tusk.
The walk ahead takes you 5km (3 miles) through beautiful stunted alpine fir and the meadows are alive with flowering heather and Indian paintbrush and countless low lying wild flowers adding to the descending trail. Soon you will walk around the cool clear waters of Elfin Lakes and arrive at the shelter and Ranger post. From here you may decide to camp or set your sights on one of the many other adventuresome trails leading to even greater memorable experiences.
This is one of the worlds most beautiful areas to hike whistler trips. Enjoy it and leave it clean for others to enjoy.
Check out more of these spectacular Whistler trips.
Joffre Lake. A tough 4 hour hike to a beautiful glacier and emerald green lakes.
Blowdown Pass. A great day hike or a week or more. It's fantastic.
Crater Rim Trail. Walk in an ancient volcanic crater.
Shadow Lake Trail. Only a few minutes from Whistler.
Cheakamus Lake Trail. Scenic walk to a beautiful lake.
Brandywine Falls. Gorgeous waterfall, lakes and river easy hike.
Whistler Hiking Guide. Explore the many fabulous hiking trails on your doorstep.
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