Finding Fall, Part 4: Watersprite Lake

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Intro: So I’m incredibly excited to introduce this new series, highlighting some known and lesser-known (but equally beloved) Canadian trails. Earlier this year, I partnered with MEC to ask trail runners across Canada what their favourite trails were. I was blown away by how passionate everyone was about “their” trail, and many of them were ones I’d never heard of before. It got me thinking about what makes a trail special. Is it because it’s the “old faithful” route we run twice a week? Is it our “love to hate” route with that one big climb in the middle that we just won’t let beat us? Or is it a bucket list trail that we spent years lusting after before we ever got to explore it?

In this series, I’m going to explore some of those trails and what makes them special…and what better time to do it than in the fall, as the leaves turn golden and the trails are at their very best?

**If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, start with those!

Still with me? Yay! Here we go. Part 4.

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The Details:  

Where: Watersprite Lake, Squamish

When: May to October (snow dependent)

Distance: 17km roundtrip

Time: (4-6 hours moderate pace, plus allow time to admire the lake’s colours)

Terrain: The BCMC has done a ton of trail work up here in the last year, resulting in a really runnable first and last 6km. The final few km to the lake get more technical, with a couple of stable boulder fields and a steep final climb to navigate. The trail is well marked.

Pro Tip: It may only be 20km to the trailhead along the Mamquam Forest Service Road, but it will take a solid hour to get there, and you will need more than 2wd. Don’t forget to gas up so you aren’t coasting down the hills in neutral like we were!

Beloved By:

Hailey Van Dyk (@haileyvandyk). Hailey is a Squamish local who has run on incredible trails all over the world, and yet she still ranks Watersprite Lake as one of her all-time favourite routes.

I asked her why, and Hailey told me that she loves how the community (especially the BCMC) have come together to continually improve this trail and the lake access, including building a little cabin up there for people to enjoy. It’s a local favourite, with good reason!

 Heading up the super runnable first 6km.

Heading up the super runnable first 6km.

 Annnnd into the not so runnable boulder fields.

Annnnd into the not so runnable boulder fields.

The Route:

The trail is flowy and runnable, with a view that is hard to beat, and Hailey loves/hates using this gradual uphill route for hill training. If you’ve got to run the hills, at least make the view at the top worth it…right?

 Pit stops to snack on wild blueberries make everything better.

Pit stops to snack on wild blueberries make everything better.

 Ohhhh that’s a view worth working for, isn’t it?

Ohhhh that’s a view worth working for, isn’t it?

This is not a lake where one simply turns around and leaves, without at least taking a few minutes to soak it all in (and maybe go for a quick swim!).

 Hit pause.

Hit pause.

 And then maybe go for a little swim while trying to circumnavigate the lake.

And then maybe go for a little swim while trying to circumnavigate the lake.

 On the way down, revel in those fall colours and that gradual downhill grade.

On the way down, revel in those fall colours and that gradual downhill grade.

Gear Picks:

Hailey loves her MEC Mission Possible Zip Top for fall layering, and her Salomon Adv Skin 12L pack (for storing emergency gear like extra food, layers, a headlamp, and first aid).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have! Do you have a favourite trail that I should check out next? Send me an email or DM… I’d love to hear it!

xo

Hilary MathesonComment