The challenging Echo Lake Trail spans 6.9 km and takes hikers on a captivating journey from the Squamish River’s edge to the enchanting Echo Lake. The adventure begins with a boat crossing over the river, followed by a demanding ascent through dense woods, featuring numerous rugged scrambles. However, the effort is rewarded upon reaching the tranquil lake, where breathtaking vistas of the Squamish Valley and Howe Sound await. The return journey is made easier by a newly-established bypass trail, offering a gentler descent back to the riverbanks.
Echo Lake Squamish Hiking Video
Echo Lake Trailhead
To access the trailhead on the western bank of the Squamish River, hikers must plan ahead for crossing the river. Options include canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding, but it’s essential to exercise caution and check river conditions beforehand. Alternatively, hiring a transport company is possible for a safe river crossing.
We booked a boat through https://www.squamishwatersports.com/ located here on the Google map in Squamish: https://goo.gl/maps/3K8KxUNhCwBrE5bs5 We were a group of around 30 people and we had booked a total of 4 boats. The price per head was around $55- $60.
We reached Squamish water sports at around 8.30 AM. Then we signed the waiver form. After signing the waiver form, we took the boat to the trailhead. The ride to the trailhead takes around 15-20 minutes in the Squamish River. In the morning, the tide was low. So, we could not make it to the real trailhead. That’s why we were dropped around 300 meters before the real trailhead.
From the drop location to the main trailhead, there were pink ribbons as a marker but it was easy to get lost. Even though it was just 5-10 minutes of walking to the main trailhead because of the overgrowths and bushes. While going back, there was a high tide. So the boats could come near the main trailhead. We were advised by the boat guy to pin the drop location on the map, just in case and there were other instructions given as well before we started the hike. On our return journey in the afternoon, the tide had risen, allowing boats to approach closer to the main trailhead. Once you reach the main trailhead, you will see a signboard showing two routes.
Monmouth Creek (Recommended Up Route)
Route one via Monmouth Creek is the recommended UP route. This route follows Monmouth Creek descending directly from Echo Lake. This route is very scenic and has a plethora of waterfalls along the trail. There are many small swimming pools as well along the trail where you can take a break, jump, swim, eat, etc. The trail becomes steep soon and continues to be steep for most of the part. Just after a few minutes into the hike, you will come across the waterfall and water pools. And then the trail continues along the waterfall almost until the entire trail. Since the trail is steep, there are a lot of technicalities involved on the Echo Lake trail such as steep sections, roots, rope sections, chains, ledge, etc.
‘Squamish River’ via descending trail
The coming down route is around 4 KM long and not that steep as the ascending route. It’s recommended not to use the ascending route called Monmouth Creek route to come down. A lot of hikers plan to come only to the top of the waterfalls, not until Echo Lake. Near the top of Falls around 1.5Km from the trailhead, there is another route which is just 20 meters from the ascending route for going down. The directions are simple. The other route mentions ‘Squamish River’ via descending trail.
Echo Lake Hike Trail
The hike up to the lake presents a challenging climb with varying terrain, featuring several scrambles and stretches of mixed forest with rocky and root-covered trails. Proper hiking footwear is strongly advised, given the trail’s steep nature. The initial section will be steep, treating you to views of picturesque waterfalls along the way. As you progress, the terrain will ease, leading through a less steep forested area before ramping up again for the final ascent to Echo Lake.
Once you’ve successfully crossed the river and arrived at the trailhead, be prepared for an initial steep climb at the beginning of the hike. The trail closely follows the falls, offering a breathtaking journey that ascends 950 meters. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to admire various captivating rock formations and pools created by the water’s persistent carving through the stones. However, the hike is not for the faint of heart, as there will be moments when you may need to scramble on all fours. The ground can be loose, and rocks may occasionally fall, so caution is essential. Nevertheless, the awe-inspiring presence of a mature rainforest and old-growth trees surrounding the area makes the experience truly remarkable.
As you progress further, the steep terrain gradually gives way, providing a more leisurely hike. The trail then runs alongside the river, affording ample views of Howe Sound. Just before reaching Echo Lake, the path takes another steep ascent, granting you views of the frothy whitewater as the trail leads you to the top where Echo Lake lies.
During your trek along the trail, expect to feel hot and tired, but fear not, as you’ll find plenty of pools where you can take a refreshing and rejuvenating dip. Additionally, there are several access points to the waterfalls along the way. However, exercise caution when near the waterfalls, as the currents can be swift and the rocks slippery. The water’s flow varies with the changing seasons, influenced by snowmelt and rainfall, so be careful when approaching the edges of falls or swimming in the pools. Safety should always be a top priority in these natural settings.
Nestled within the untamed allure of the Pacific Northwest, Echo Lake stands as a mesmerizing gem with its pristine, crystal-blue waters. In the warmer summer months, the lake’s temperature becomes inviting enough for a delightful swim, offering a paradise-like experience after the rewarding hike. Fishing enthusiasts will find joy in knowing that the lake is abundant with stocked trout, presenting an opportunity to cast a line and test their luck. For those seeking an overnight stay, numerous campsites dot the lake’s surroundings, providing ample spots to pitch a tent. Moreover, the area boasts a steady supply of fresh drinking water, ensuring campers’ needs are well taken care of.
As the summer arrives, Echo Lake becomes a popular destination for weekend tent campers, drawn in by its captivating allure and tranquil ambiance.