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ELFIN LAKES SQUAMISH

Known as the 'outdoor recreation capital of Canada,' Squamish has ski touring options for all skill levels and abilities.

Garibaldi Provincial Park stretches from the Diamond Head area above Squamish all the way past Wedgemount Lakes north of Whistler. The Diamond Head area has been a popular skiing destination since the 1940s. While the rolling meadows of Paul Ridge are a mellow start as you approach Elfin Lakes, the terrain quickly changes to rugged alpine peaks with views of the Mamquam Icefield to the east. The pyramid shaped Atwell Peak (2655m) is the most prominent peak visible from the Elfin Lakes area.

The routes described in this section are all in the Diamond Area in the south-western corner of Garibaldi Park. The classic Garibaldi Neve Traverse begins here and continues onto the large group of glaciers under Mt Garibaldi and eventually

crossing Garibaldi Lake. This traverse can be done as a moderate two-day trip (longer if more skiing is desired) and should only be attempted in good weather. Preparation for attempting the Garibaldi Neve Traverse should include purchasing the Clark Geomatics topo map for Garibaldi Park as well as John Baldwin's detailed guidebook Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis.

The Elfin Lakes Shelter is a comfortable 33-bed hut that provides an excellent base for attempting the routes described in this guidebook and beyond. The hut does not take reservations and costs $15/night payable in cash only. It is a popular destination (especially on weekends) but the facilities are open to campers for $10/night.

This is classic, coastal, big-mountain skiing. Be sure to check the Sea-to-Sky avalanche report from the Canadian Avalanche Centre  here. As well as the excellent route descriptions below, there are a growing number of trip reports on the Backcountry Skiing Canada site which may inform and inspire you. To find them, go to the Forums, hit the search icon at left and type in what you’re looking for (“Elfin,” as an example). We’d also like to add more routes to this section. If you know a route you’d like to share (no secret stashes out of respect please) mouse your way to our submit a new location page and spill.

Backcountry Skiing Elfin Lake Squamish Whistler

 (This map is not meant to be used as a navigational aid but rather a visual indication of the route description.)


1. Paul Ridge
2. Columnar Peak
3. Gargoyles
4. Diamond Head





For a full listing of backcountry huts, cabins and lodges check out the Coast Mountain cabins/huts/lodges page over here. If you are looking for maps and guides to the area then check out the following publications in our Backcountry Skiing Canada Store:

backcountry skiing canada whistler guide book The Whistler & Area Ski Touring Guide: $16.95  

exploring the coast mountains on skis

 Exploring The Coast Mountains On Skis: $39.95

backcountry whistler map The Backcountry Whistler Map: $19.95

garabaldi park map Garabaldi Park Map: $18.95

 

 


Backcountry skiing is an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely. Any of the routes on this site may be dangerous depending on conditions. You are responsible for your own safety in the backcounty—the team behind backcountryskiingcanada.com disclaim any responsibility for any injury resulting from people travelling on routes described on this site.  To read our Terms of Use and get all the details, read HERE


PAUL RIDGE

Paul Ridge is a scenic field of rolling treeline meadows at the S end of Garibaldi Park and is the quickest access for skiers and snowshoers looking to reach the Elfin Lakes Shelter.

Elfin Lake Squamish Whistler Paul Ridge

ROUTE: #1
ACCESS: Diamond Head Trail  
MAP: Garibaldi Park (Clark Geomatics) No. 102, 92G/14, 92 G/15
TIME: 5 - 6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 880m/2,887’
ATES RATING: Challenging (2)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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COLUMNAR PEAK

If you are looking for more of a challenge than Paul Ridge on your trip to Elfin Lakes then Columnar Peak is an excellent choice – the terrain is steeper and longer and there are no complex entrances. 

Elfin Lake Squamish Whistler Columnar Peak

ROUTE: #2
ACCESS: Diamond Head Trail  
MAP: Garibaldi Park (Clark Geomatics) No. 102, 92G/14, 92 G/15
TIME: 5 - 6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,030m/3,379’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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GARGOYLES

This peak is an excellent choice if you are already skiing Columnar Peak and has a great vantage for gauging the approach to Diamond Head. 

Elfin Lake Squamish Whistler Gargoyles

ROUTE: #3
ACCESS: Diamond Head Trail  
MAP: Garibaldi Park (Clark Geomatics) No. 102, 92G/14, 92 G/15
TIME: 5 - 6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,030m/3,379’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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DIAMOND HEAD

If you are looking for a steeper descent in the Elfin Lakes area then Diamond Head is an excellent overnight or long-day objective.  

Elfin Lake Squamish Whistler Diamond Head

ROUTE: #4
ACCESS: Diamond Head Trail  
MAP: Garibaldi Park (Clark Geomatics) No. 102, 92G/14, 92 G/15
TIME: 8 - 9 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,270m/4,166’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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