In the Autumn I always find time to hike up to Elfin Lakes in Garabaldi Provincial Park. During the summer and on weekends this trail is very busy with dayhikers, mountain bikers and those people who are overnighting in the Elfin Lakes shelter which has bunks for 34 people. I usually hike the 22 km’s and 600 m of vertical in a single day with time for a leisurely lunch.
The trail is actually an old access road to the Diamond Head Lodge which was built in the 1940’s. Joan Matthews and two Norwegian brothers, Emil and Ottar Brandvold, from West Vancouver, built the lodge for backcountry hiking and skiing. The lodge was closed in 1972 and recently disassembled by BC Parks.
The first part of the hike winds it’s way up through tall Hemlock trees. At about the halfway point you reach the subalpine and Red Heather Meadows which are a beautiful colour in the Fall. This area is also popular with black bears who like to feed on the berries. The second part of the hike is my favourite as it runs along the Paul Ridge and you get spectacular views of Atwell Peak, Mount Garabaldi, Opal Cone, Diamond Head and Mamquam Mountain. It was a great day although the bugs were a bit of a nuisance.