Elfin Lakes, Diamond Head Riding in the Squamish Alpine

The day before Lee had ridden the Triple Crown. Sharon had organized so still had a riding itch to be scratched. As it promised to be a rare (so far) day of good weekend weather we headed up to Garibaldi Park to Elfin Lakes.

As the only legal biking trail in Garibaldi Park, the doubletrack to Elfin Lakes is not aesthetic singletrack by any means. It’s really just a way to get from Squamish to the alpine and stunning views.

We start biking up the fire road from the junction of the Ring Creek FSR where the road swings northwest at the houses. Many cars full of hikers and mountain-bikers shuttling trails pass us. The parking lot is pretty full – not surprising given the nice weather.

Perfect weather for slogging up a long road. Here’s a view of the Tantalus Range taken from the road just above the Red Heather hut.

Here’s another view of the Tantalus Range from Red Heather Meadows – this time unimpeded by trees.

There’s still the odd small patch of snow on north -facing sections of the trail approaching the summit of Paul Ridge.

Red Heather meadows namesake taken through the filter of my sunglasses.

As you get to Paul Ridge, Mt. Garibaldi becomes the dominant feature. Unfortunately the peak was shrouded in clouds the whole day.

Here’s a view of Garibaldi where the trail splits into hiking and biking sections; Cheekye Ridge stretches off to picture left (west). Lots of people out enjoying the fine weather this day.

Here is another picture of Garibaldi showing the expanse of Garibaldi Park and Garibaldi neve to the right/east of Mount Garibaldi..

Here I am on Paul Ridge with the Bishop Glacier (picture left) and Mamquam Icefield (picture right) in the background.

The further you get on the trail, the better the views. Or is that the views are different? There’s something about the alpine that always brings me back. Here is Sharon riding over the last ridge dropping into Elfin Lakes with from left to right and looking east – Pyramid Mountain, the Mamquam Icefield and Mount Mamquam in the background.

Elfin Lakes themselves are in a gorgeous setting; an alpine bowl surrounded by summits and icefields. Enjoy this place in summer; love it in winter. There is a hut there which tends to lend itself to overcrowding but like anywhere in BC, there is lots of room to spread out.

Mount Garibaldi is a beautiful mountain with three peaks; all of which are unfortunately are hidden in cloud today. It’s an extinct volcano – part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and is climbed and skied quite a bit.

I’m rather pleased with the way this panorama turned out. It’s taken from the picnic benches in Elfin Lakes and is a 270 degree view.

After riding down the trail we head down Powersmart and Skookum. I promptly get lost in trails I should know well – blaming it on new forest clearcuts and take the lower FSR to the Ring Creek FSR. We slog back uphill to the car and retire to the Shady Tree for well-earned food and drinks.

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