British Columbia is known for its stunning natural beauty, and one of the best ways to experience it is by taking a hike. If you are looking for a hike that will take your breath away with its stunning views of turquoise water, snow-capped peaks, and lush valleys, then Watersprite Lake is the perfect destination for you.
Watersprite Lake is a hidden gem in the Squamish area, located about 20 km up the Mamquam and Skookum Forestry Service Roads. This trail leads to a breathtaking alpine lake surrounded by mountains and is a must-see for any nature lover. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Watersprite Lake Trail and what makes it so special. The hike to the lake is 17 km round-trip, with an elevation gain of 665 m. It is rated as moderate, but requires a 4×4 or AWD vehicle with good clearance to reach the trailhead.
Watersprite lake hike summary
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Hiking time: 7-8 Hours round trip
- Hiking distance: 20 KM
- Elevation gain: 660 meters/ 2165 feet
- Best time to hike: June to October
- Camping allowed: Yes
- Distance from Vancouver: ~2 hours
Watersprite Lake Location
Watersprite Lake is located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, just north of Squamish. The trailhead is about a two-hour drive from Vancouver, and the trail itself is approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) long, with an elevation gain of 650 meters (2132 feet). The trail is rated as difficult, so it’s important to be prepared and have the right gear.
Getting to Watersprite trailhead
To get to the Watersprite Lake Trailhead, you need to follow the Squamish Valley Road for approximately 34 kilometers (21 miles) from Squamish. Here are the step-by-step directions:
- From Vancouver, take the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) north towards Squamish.
- Continue on Highway 99 for approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) until you reach the turnoff for Squamish Valley Road.
- Turn right onto Squamish Valley Road and continue for approximately 34 kilometers (21 miles). You will pass through the community of Upper Squamish and cross a bridge over the Cheakamus River.
- After crossing the bridge, continue straight for another 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). You will see signs for the Watersprite Lake Trailhead on your left.
- Turn left onto the unpaved Mamquam FSR road and follow it for approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) until you reach the parking area at the trailhead.
It’s important to note that the road leading to the trailhead is rough and unpaved, so a high clearance vehicle is recommended. Also, be prepared for limited cell phone reception in the area, so it’s a good idea to have a map or GPS device to help you navigate.
Watersprite Lake Trail
To access the trailhead, start at the parking lot area and proceed past the metal gate, following the old gravel road that veers to the right and gradually ascends a hill. The trail continues through an open gravel section, passing Skookum Dam to the left, before narrowing and joining an old logging road. The trail ascends gently and crosses several creeks, including Skullhead Creek, as you progress along the path.
After about 20-30 minutes (1.5 km), the trail takes a left turn onto a narrow path that initially descends rapidly before ascending through the forest. Follow the orange aluminum tree markers until you reach a junction with a wider trail, which is an old logging road. Take note of this junction as you will return to this point and need to follow the narrow path back to the parking lot. Turn right onto the wider trail and continue hiking along the clearly defined route, crossing another wooden bridge over Skullhead Creek.
The trail veers sharply left after approximately 1.4 km, ascending a steep and rocky section for around 600 meters before turning right and opening up to a view of the valley below. Continue along the trail beyond the clearing with the viewpoint, and it will cross a small creek beside a waterfall.
After emerging from the creek bed, continue following the trail for another 600 meters until it rounds a corner and reaches a ridge known as “The Prow Lookout,” which overlooks the entire valley. This spot provides one of the most scenic viewpoints in the area, with vistas extending down the Mamquam River Valley towards Squamish, across the valley to Columnar Peak and the Garibaldi Provincial Park area, and up towards Spire Peaks, Pyramid Peak, and beyond.
Follow the trail along the next 2.3 km towards Watersprite Lake, which offers many open views of the surrounding mountains and the Watersprite Creek Valley below. The trail continues to climb gradually until it reaches a rockslide area. Cross the rockslide by following the markings and flags for about 800 meters until you enter the forest on the far end.
The trail passes through a forested section, crossing Watersprite Creek before exiting the forest and crossing a second boulder field. The final section of the trail is a very steep ascent up the boulder field to the lake. Carefully make your way up the rocks, following the trail until it begins to level, and Watersprite Lake comes into view. Walk out onto the rocky outcrop for a full view of the stunning area, including the turquoise colored lake, Martin Peak, and Dreadnought Peak.
Watersprite Lake is a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by mountains. The crystal-clear water reflects the surrounding scenery, making it a photographer’s paradise. There are several campsites around the lake for those who want to spend the night and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. However, it’s important to note that camping is only allowed in designated areas and a backcountry permit is required.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Watersprite Lake. Swimming in the lake is a popular activity during the summer months, although the water can be chilly. Fishing is also allowed in the lake, with rainbow trout being the most common catch. Hikers can explore the area around the lake and enjoy the stunning views, or take a hike up to the nearby summit for even more breathtaking scenery.
Watersprite lake reservation
it is recommended to check for availability and plan ahead, especially during peak season (July to September). The Watersprite Lake area is a popular destination, and campsites can fill up quickly, especially on weekends. Here is the link: WATERSPRITE LAKE (bcmc.ca)
Tips for Hiking Watersprite Lake
The Watersprite Lake Trail is a challenging hike, and it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your hike:
- Wear proper hiking shoes: The trail is rocky and uneven, so sturdy hiking shoes with good ankle support are a must.
- Bring plenty of water: The trail can be strenuous, and it’s important to stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water and consider bringing a water filter or purification tablets to refill your water bottle from streams.
- Bring appropriate clothing: The weather in the alpine can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain or cooler temperatures. Layers are key, so you can adjust your clothing as needed.
- Pack out your trash: It’s important to leave the trail and campsite as you found them.