For People Passionate About Hiking
The Wedgemount Lake Trail Whistler Snowshoeing
Wedgemount Lake is a steep and difficult hike in the summer when there is no snow. It doesn't require technical skill, but it is just exhausting. You gain 1220 metres of elevation in just 7 kilometres and hiking with a backpack takes about 2.5 hours to reach the lake. In the winter, on snowshoes, the Wedgemount Lake trail is considerably harder.
First, the obscured trail is hard to follow, despite the frequent trail markers. Second, on snowshoes, each step on steep ground is one step forward, half a step backward. You plod on slowly and with each step slipping back part way. If you can get past the difficulty of the exhausting winter trek to Wedgemount Lake you will reach an amazing paradise in the mountains.
The Wedgemount Lake Hut is an extraordinary oasis of warmth in the middle of the beautiful Wedgemount Lake valley. Anyone can use the hut, anytime. It can sleep up to 8 reasonably comfortably and consists of two large tables on the lower level and a small loft that can fit four people. Sporadically used by skiers in the winter, though rarely used by snowshoers due to the difficulty of the trail in the winter. If you do make it up to Wedgemount Lake you will be rewarded with a phenomenally beautiful, snow filled mountain paradise of a valley. The
Wedgemount Lake trail is deep with snow from late December to late June most years. If you snowshoe it November to mid December or mid June to early July, you will only need your snowshoes partway up the trail.
Depending on conditions and traffic on the trail, you may get lucky and be able to follow previous tracks in the snow, however this is not reliable. The final kilometre before Wedgemount Lake between the months of November and late June is almost always deep with snow, sometimes as late as mid July. This part is very steep, and even on snowshoes painfully difficult, so consider that if you plan to go.
Also, losing the trail is always a consideration worth worrying about and having a GPS with you is a very good idea. At a good pace, when the trail has snow top to bottom, expect to take over 3.5 hours from your car to the hut. Some take as long as 6 hours. You have to add an extra kilometre or two in the winter as well due to having to park 1.5k below the usual trailhead parking as it is inaccessible due to snow December to May.
Winter Parking Area for Wedgemount Lake:
The trailhead to Wedgemount Lake, or Wedge as it's more often called is easy to find. Located a short, and beautiful, ten minute drive north of Whistler Village. Zero your odometer at Village Gate Boulevard and proceed north on Highway 99. At 11.3km a sign will direct you to turn right to "Wedgemount(Garibaldi) Trailhead". Cross the train tracks and the bridge over Green River. At 11.5km turn left onto the Wedge Creek Forest Service Road, this gravel road is usually plowed in the winter. At 11.7km you will see, on your right, a snowy road going up to the Wedgemount Lake trailhead parking. Park in a way that no other vehicles can be impeded and walk up to the parking lot which is 1.5k from this winter parking area.