• Difficulty Intermediate
  • Time 7 hours
  • Round-Trip 17km
  • Elevation Gain 660 meters
  • Season July - September
  • Camping Yes
  • From Vancouver 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Public Transit No
  • Dog Friendly No

The hiking trail to the turquoise coloured Watersprite Lake offers some incredible views of the area around the Mamquam River, including mountain peaks in the southern region of Garibaldi Provincial Park, Martin Peak, Dreadnought Peak, and extensive views of the Watersprite Creek Valley. The scenic trail begins east of Squamish, about 20km up the Mamquam and Skookum Forestry Service Roads and follows old logging roads overlooking the valley before a final ascent up a boulder field to the lake.

The following describes the trail to Watersprite Lake that was built by the British Columbia Mountaineering Club and completed in September 2016. The old route has been deactivated due to extensive wear and damage to the bog portion of the trail. This route follows deactivated logging road routes along higher ridges, offering many scenic scenic views on the way to the lake.

From the parking lot area, pass the metal gate and follow the old gravel road that veers off to the right, heading up a gradual hill. A Trail Kiosk with maps and information is schedule to be installed at the top of this Hill in 2017. The trail continues through an open gravel section, passing the Skookum Dam below to your left, before narrowing and joining an old logging road. This section of trail climbs gently and passes over a couple of creeks, including the bridge over Skullhead Creek, as you quickly make time along the route.

After walking for about 20 - 30 minutes (1.5 km), the trail veers left and onto a section of narrow trail that first descends quickly, before climbing through the forest. Follow the orange aluminum tree markers until you reach a junction at a wide trail which is an old logging road. Note this junction as you will return to here and will need to follow the narrow trail back to the parking lot. Go right on the wide trail and continue hiking along the well defined route as you cross another wooden bridge over Skullhead Creek, this time further.

The trail veers sharply left after about 1.4km and climbs up a steep, rocky section for about 600-meters before veering right and opening up to a view of the valley below. As you continue along the trail, just beyond the clearing with the viewpoint, the trail crosses a small creek next to a waterfall.

After emerging from the creek bed, follow the trail for another 600-meters until it rounds a corner and arrives on a ridge, known as "The Prow Lookout", that overlooks the entire valley. From here, you can witness one of the most scenic viewpoints in the region, seeing as far 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 many more.

Continue following the trail along the route to Watersprite Lake for the next 2.3km as it offers many open views of the surrounding mountains and the Watersprite Creek Valley below. The trail continues climbing gradually until it reaches a rockslide area. As the rockslide slows your pace, follow the markings and flags across the rockslide 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 very steep ascent up the boulder field is the final section of trail 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 scenic area, including the turquoise coloured lake, Martin Peak, and Dreadnought Peak.

There are several locations around the lake to enjoy lunch and the scenery but please ensure to find a location that has minimal impact on the sensitive ecology. A cabin and were built by the BCMC in 2016 and are located on the west side of the lake.

After enjoying time at the lake, begin your hike back by follow the trail back down the rockslide and heading to the right side of the slide to where the trail continues. Cross Watersprite Creek and follow the route through the forest, back across the rockslide and along the open trail with many views. Descend down the rocky section before veering right and following the trail back to the 3-way junction. Make sure to go left at the 3-way junction, following the trail downhill and returning via the first section to the parking lot near Skookum Dam.

How to get to Watersprite Lake

Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver
1 hour, 45 minutes

Note: The Forestry Service Road (FSR) is rugged in some areas and 4x4 vehicles are recommended.

The trailhead to Watersprite Lake begins about 20km up a series of Forestry Service Roads to the east of Squamish. From Vancouver, drive to Highway #1 and enter the highway heading westbound. Following Highway #1 towards Horseshoe Bay and then merge onto Highway #99: The Sea To Sky Highway heading towards Squamish. Follow the scenic Sea To Sky Highway northbound for about 40km.

About 1.5km after passing the Sea To Sky Gondola, turn right onto the gravel Mamquam River FSR and zero your odometer (note: this turnoff is just before the 4-way stop by Chances Casino, so if you reach the intersection, you will need to turn back). Follow the Mamquam River FSR for the next 13.2km as it starts out relatively smooth but becomes bumpy and steeper in some sections. At the 13.2km mark, turn left and drive over the bridge crossing the Mamquam River. Drive past the parking area for the kayak put-in at 9 Mile Bridge on your left before crossing a second bridge over Skookum Creek.

Just after crossing the second bridge, you reach a junction in the road with two large signs fastened between log pylons on the left. Turn left and pass between the signs as you are now on the Skookum Dam FSR. Pass the power station on your left and continue to follow the Skookum Creek FSR as it steadily climbs through a fairly bumpy section of road while offering views of the valley to the right.

At about 16km, the road will fork at a large flat area, to the right is a very steep and narrow road, the road to the left descends briefly, then flattens out. Both of these roads will join up later on; the lower road to the left is slightly less difficult to navigate, although either option features rough terrain. If you opt for the right side, you will ascend, then reach a huge metal air vent that looks like a giant candy cane. Go left at this junction to continue to the new trailhead for Watersprite Lake as the road continues through a relatively flat section for a bit before climbing up a very steep hill and then descending a short time later.

The road ends at a metal gate and large parking area near the Skookum Dam. Park your vehicle here and begin the hike near the metal gate.

View a map of Driving directions to Watersprite Lake.

Traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish) and S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō).
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Additional Info

Camping at Watersprite Lake

View more details about camping at Watersprite Lake

Dogs at Watersprite Lake

Dogs are not permitted at Watersprite Lake.

Toilets at Watersprite Lake

There is one pit toilet located near the cabin at Watersprite. There are no other toilet facilities along the trail to the lake.

Dogs, Toilets and Camping

Although we try to keep information as current as possible, www.vancouvertrails.com makes no warranty or representation as to the availability, quality, fitness for purpose, conditions or accuracy of the information provided with respect to this trail or trails. The information provided herein is further subject to our Terms of Use.