Camping, Health and Wellness, Hikes, Vancouver

Elsay Lake Overnighter

August 6, 2015
20km (roundtrip), 8-10 hours starting from Seymour Mountain Parking lot
Link to hike OR this link 

Lake Elsay

This was a tough one as we didn’t expect such technical terrain and had started later than planned. Carrying heavy backpacks we took about 5.5 hours each way with lots of breaks. While it was my first time on this trail, I found the trail pretty easy to follow even though there are loads of warnings about the “poorly marked trail”. There were orange markers everywhere although I can see how it would be difficult to find the trail with fog or snow so make sure you are fit and experienced before attempting this one in less than ideal conditions. Also, there are a couple creek crossings which may be difficult in high water (we are currently in a drought so no issue there).

It would be so nice to sit down…
Well marked path in the summer
technical terrain
We parked at the 2nd Seymour parking lot (designated for overnighters) and started on the trail to Seymour peak’s first pump. Right before first pump, there was a marker to veer off towards the Elsay Lake trail. From here there are about 8kms to get to the camp site and about 6kms of it is technical and tough terrain going down down down. Just a note of warning, we did see someone carrying their dog back the trail in a backpack because the poor pup had warn through their pads on the hot rocks, so make sure your dog is used to hiking on rocks and check their feet often.

starting out with Seymour’s first pump ahead
my vizsla-goat
turn off to Elsay trail

From the turn off, we soon turned a corner to see an enormous panorama of the valley. We crossed about 4 rockslides and followed one more down. There are some streams along the way (about 2kms to the lake) and the lake itself was pretty large for swimming. For space in the emergency hut, make sure you get there early (houses 6). It was a long weekend and we were a bit surprised to find another 6 tents up and a group staying at the hut.

She loved the rocks
just wow!
my hiking buddies
Taking a well needed break
crossing a creek

The way back seemed so much easier although it took the same amount of time (this time going uphill). We had run out of water in the summer heat so we stopped by the creek to filter a couple liters while Whiskey rested on some mossy rocks. I was surprised since this is the first time I’ve seen her lay down on a hike! We made sure she had plenty of dehydrated food, water, hard boiled eggs, and she shared all our food. She even crawled into our sleeping bags at night taking turns with mommy and daddy.

setting up camp while Whiskey supervises
so hungry!! feed me
it was too hazy for stars
waking up with a Vizsla in the sleeping bag
swimming in the lake
heading back home

Overall the hike would be much faster without the packs, but it’s still pretty long for a one day hike unless you are a trail runner. The payoff wasn’t as amazing as many of the other trails we’ve done though I acknowledge we are spoiled for choice in BC. In the end I’m glad we did it but I won’t be planning another hike or overnighter here for a couple years.

resting on the moss
so small in an epic landscape
my poor tired dog! only 2km left

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ultimate list of Dog-Friendly hikes in the North Shore » The Dog Walks Me March 6, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    […] Elsay Lake *🌲👀💦- A rare hike that goes down, not up! The trail is easy to lose if the visibility isn’t far and goes by many rock falls that can be avalanche zones in snow. It’s harder than it looks on the map. Very few tenting spots, please do not use the Emergency shelter unless it’s an emergency. […]

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