The Wedgemount Lake hike outside Whistler, BC, is a unique yet challenging trek to alpine heaven. Twenty minutes from Whistler, the trail doesn’t mess around from the start and gives your body no time to warm up.
The first mile of the Wedgemount Lake hike gains over 1,300 feet of elevation, so breaks will be plentiful.
The incline doesn’t relent until just before the three-mile mark, where you’ve already conquered your 4,000 feet of elevation gain. This is where Wedgemount Lake comes into view.
At this point, if the difficult ascent doesn’t make you sit down, the jaw-dropping scenery just might.
1-Minute Details for the Wedgemount Lake Hike
- Length: 6+ miles round trip to the middle of the lake. 8 miles to Upper Lake
- Elevation Gain: Between 4,000 and 4,600, depending on your final destination
- Difficulty: Strenuous, with the trail being funky and rooty in some areas
- Trailhead Distance from Whistler: Less than 20 minutes
- Dogs allowed? No dogs allowed on this one
Planning your Wedgemount Lake Hike
You’re going to want to make Whistler your home base, as it’s the closest and offers the most amenities.
How to get to Wedgemount Lake
As mentioned, this is only a 20-minute drive from Whistler. While this would make it a bit too close and crowded, the hike’s difficulty keeps a lot of people away.
You’ll continue North on the 99 (Sea to Sky Highway) like you’re driving to Joffre Lakes. Once you reach Gravel Pit Road, you’ll turn right and exit the highway. From here, you’ll drive a short distance on the Wedge Creek Service Road. We had a standard sedan when we drove, and it had zero issues.
However, use your best judgment. With more traffic since 2018, this road may have deteriorated over time.
Check the Weather Forecast
You’re hiking to a high alpine lake which can see changes in weather much more frequently than down in the valley. If you can, aim to hike earlier in the morning so you can be coming down the mountain in case afternoon storms roll in.
We got chased from the lake when a storm rolled in in the early afternoon.
What to bring for the hike
You’ll want your standard hiking gear, and make sure to bring hiking poles. These will greatly help you on the uphill and downhill approach. Additionally, bring extra layers and a rain jacket in case the weather turns on you.
You’ll also want great boots that can handle rocky and muddy terrain. You never know what you’ll find up there.
When is the best time to hike Wedgemount Lake?
This is a perfect summer and fall hike or backpacking trip. You’ll want the snow to have melted off the trail to make it easier (and have no avalanche dangers). Plus, with its altitude, summer months will mean its warm enough to jump into the lake if you’re that brave!
On the Trail: Hiking to Wedgemount Lake
Wedgemount Lake Hike is steep all the way
This was possibly the most arduous hike of my life up to this point. Or it sure felt like it. We were huffing and puffing the entire way with ~4,000 feet of elevation gain in under four miles.
The first part is in a heavily forested area that was full of roots and muddy in some parts, as our trip was in early July. However, we made good time (all of us were in our mid-20s).
As we continued going up, we came across a couple of rock fall areas and the various streams and mini waterfalls that come with a water hike. Luckily, we weren’t rushed, and the team enjoyed the more minor features of the Wedgemount Lake hike.
Final Push to Wedgemount Lake
As we neared the final uphill, it was more of a low-key scramble as we were hand over feet for portions of it. Furthermore, there was even a rope in one section to help us get up. So even with the unusual terrain, it wasn’t as bad as we expected.
And then, Wedgemount Lake appeared. We were all floored.
It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
Photos from the Incredible Wedgemount Lake Hike
While the area around the lake is rocky, it’s not hard to maneuver. We enjoyed the sights higher up and then moved down towards the lakeside later. The towering peaks above humbled us as if we were just tiny ants in this glacier basin.
Heading down from Wedgemount Lake to Whistler
After at least 90 minutes in the lake area, that was it. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided we had had enough of Wedgemount Lake.
Storm clouds began forming, and a light rain ensued. This forced us down the mountain. Even though it was only 3.5 miles back, it seemed to take forever. We were hungry, exhausted, and ready for a hearty meal.
What else should you know about the Wedgemount Lake hike?
Can you camp at Wedgemount Lake?
Yes, but only by backpacking and securing a permit beforehand. It’s a small area and fragile ecosystem up there, and it’s regulated pretty heavily.
Even with a permit, it is still first come, first serve, meaning you don’t have a predetermined spot. In all, there are 10 tent pads near the inlet and 10 near Armchair Glacier.
Additionally, there are no garbage facilities, so please pack out all of your trash, including toilet paper.
What to bring backpacking Wedgemount Lake?
Most Canadian locations have a platform you can sleep on, which keeps your tent clean and you off the ground. I think this is designed to protect the environment more and discourage people from setting tens up wherever they want.
For your trip, which is likely just one night, you’ll need the essentials.
- Light backpacking tent
- 15-30 degree sleeping bag
- Light, yet comfy sleeping pad
- 55L-65L backpacking bag
- Jet Boil Stove
- Water filter
- Hiking Poles
- Backpacking Chair
- Backpacking Meals
- 1x Hiking Pants, 1x Sunshirt, 1x Down Jacket, 1x Rain Jacket, 1x sleeping shirt, 1x leggings, 1x beanie and hat
What is the Wedgemount Lake Elevation?
The elevation of Wedgemount Lake is 6,106 feet or 1861 meters. Expect temperatures to be around 5 degrees cooler than when you started.
What is the Wedgemount Lake Hut
There is a small hut, the Wedgemount Lake Hut, that is used as an emergency shelter and bear cache. It’s a cool thing to have and I wish USA hikes had more of these.
Final Thoughts on the Wedgemount Lake Hike
Since doing this in 2018, the Wedgemount Lake hike has seen its popularity flourish thanks to social media. Thankfully, it’s still a difficult hike, and that creates a natural barrier. However, with only 20 backcountry spots available, it does make finding open dates a bit tricky.
Then again, Canada is much less crowded than the US, and if you can get up there on a weekday, you can probably find a good spot!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
Subscribe to my blog!
Everything you need to know about visiting Mt. Rainer
Are you an outdoors brand or tourism board and would like to work together? Please take a look at my photography portfolio here.