Trip 072 - September 9, 2014 (Tuesday)

Mamquam Lake Trail Hike

Garibaldi Provincial Park (Diamond Head Entrance)

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Distance From Vancouver:
83 kilometers. Drive for 65 kilometers on Highway 99 North (Sea-to-Sky) to Squamish. Follow signs to Garibaldi Diamond Head by turning right from Highway 99 onto Mamquam Rd 3.5 km after Squamish Adventure Centre (which itself is located on the right side of the road several hundred meters past the intersection of Highway 99 with Cleveland Avenue), then left on Highlands Way South 1 km later. Take first right onto University Blvd at a roundabout 700 meters later. 1.7 km after that make first right at yet another roundabout, and 100 meters later (7.0 km after Squamish Adventure Centre) turn left onto Mamquam Road (again). 500 meters later paved road would end and gravel road would begin. You would drive on that fairly smooth road (aside from the last 1.5 fairly rough kilometers) for 10.8 kilometers and would reach the parking lot for Garibaldi Diamond Head, 18.3 km after passing by Squamish Adventure Centre. If this sounds complicated, there are signs to the park before every turn, so the parking lot is easy to find.

Liked: Many great mountain and nature views, mostly gentle grades, easy to follow trail, bicycles permitted up to Elfin Lakes.

Of note: Remote wilderness area. No cell phone signal. This is a bear country. No tree cover beyond Red Heather shelter sun protection essential on sunny days. Cloudy weather (like today) may obscure (most of) the views. Hiking poles and boots are recommended to Elfin Lakes, and are highly recommended beyond that area. There is a small but very treacherous trail washout between Opal Cone turnoff and Mamquam Lake check out the photo in the trip report. Camping fees are required for anyone staying in the park overnight.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (2010 edition) Trailhead Coordinates: Page 22 (Squamish) E5. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available for purchase at

103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia (2008 edition): hikes #22 (Elfin Lakes) and #23 (Mamquam Lake).

Related Website: Garibaldi Provincial Park - BC Parks Official Site.

Other Trips in Squamish Area: Panorama Ridge Trail, Squamish River Forest Service Road Washout, Squamish River FSR Ashlu Main Hike (second trip), Second Trip to Crooked Falls, Crooked Falls / Sigurd Creek Trail Hike, Squamish River FSR A-Main Branch (first trip), Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, The Squamish Spit, Black Tusk Trail (Garibaldi Provincial Park), Squamish River Forest Service Road E-Main Branch, Shannon Falls, Squamish River Forest Service Road, Squamish Valley Road, Railway Heritage Park, Downtown Squamish BC, Stawamus Chief Trail Hike.

36. This is one of the main reasons that we would highly recommend hiking boots and poles beyond Elfin Lakes - the trail is washed out in this area and there is no easy way around due to the steepness of the terrain. You have to get creative or turn back, if this looks like too dangerous of a crossing.

Dangerous Spot on Mamquam Lake Trail BC Canada

37. If you succeed in crossing the danger zone, Zig Zag Creek would soon appear on the path.

Hiking Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park - Diamond Head BC Canada

38. The bridge across the creek.

Bridge Across Zig Zag Creek Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Canada

39. Zig Zag Creek itself. Very muddy.

Photo of Zig Zag Creek Garibaldi Provincial Park

40. Looking the other way. Still very muddy.

Zig Zak Creek Garibaldi Provincial Park

41. The trail continues.

Mamquam Lake Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Canada

42. Approaching that tree we saw from far away.

Mamquam Lake Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park British Columbia Canada

43. Here it is.

Garibaldi - Diamond Head Provincial Park

44. The clouds parted just enough to give a glimpse of the beauty one would see on a sunny day.

Picture of a View From Mamquam Lake Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Canada

45. A closer look.

Glacier Seen From Mamquam Lake Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Canada

46. Meanwhile, the descent to Mamquam Lake begins.

Descending Trail to Mamquam Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Canada

47. This descending trail weaves all the way to Mamquam Lake.

Mamquam Lake Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park Province of BC Canada

48. You would pass by a rock field.

Rock Field by Mamquam Lake Trail Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Canada

49. It takes half an hour to reach Mamquam Lake once you start your descent. The grade is fairly gentle, but you would still need to hike it up on your way back, so plan accordingly. Mamquam Lake starts appearing about half way down.

Mamquam Lake Garibaldi Provincial Park

50. Mamquam Lake, our final destination. Pyramid Mountain on the background. There are three tent pads by the lake (one of them is damaged), as well as a toilet sitting wide-open, since the toilet cabin fell to the side. Time from the start of the hike: 6 hours 20 minutes. We spent 25 minutes at the lake and went back, in order to beat the darkness.

Mamquam Lake BC Canada

Here is our video of Mamquam Lake:

A Complete List of Our Videos.

51. On our climb back up, the clouds somewhat disappeared and allowed good shots of Pyramid Mountain...

Pyramid Mountain British Columbia Canada

52. As well as the mountain to the right.

Mountains by Mamquam Lake BC Canada

Here is our video of these mountains:

A Complete List of Our Videos

It took us just over five hours to get back to the parking lot, with about two hours (in total) saved by using a bicycle to and from Elfin Lakes, especially since the trail from the Red Heather shelter is all down. If you have no bicycle, to get to Mamquam Lake and back would be quite a monumental one day hike, of about 14-15 hours in duration. Even with a bicycle it was an exhausting trip, but the great views were certainly worth it. This is one of the most spectacular hikes near Metro Vancouver, and, as such, comes greatly recommended.

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