Hiking Guide to Wedgemount Lake Near Whistler

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 are allowed on this one
stunning alpine lake british columbia Wedgemount Lake hike

Planning your Wedgemount Lake Hike

You’ll want to make Whistler your home base, as it’s the closest and offers the most amenities.

Budget Lodging: Crystal Lodge
Mid-Tier Lodging: Hilton Whistler
Luxury Lodging: Westin Whistler

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, the summer months will mean it’s 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

best hiking near whistler Wedgemount Lake hike
best hikes near whistler wedgemount lake
hiking to wedgemount lake whistler
hiking to Wedgemount Lake
Wedgemount Lake hike canada

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.

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.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside