Lake Hikes

August 17, 2020 | By Lianne Thompson

Up for an adventure but want lake access to keep yourself cool? Beat the heat this summer while satisfying your inner hiker by hitting the trails on these lakeside hikes. 

Hourglass Lake - half to full-day hike 

This hike starts with a fair number of switchbacks through a forest filled with charred trees, wildflowers, and new plant growth emerging following a recent wildfire. Once you reach the top you’ll continue on a path that runs parallel to Hourglass lake - a 1km lake that is pinched in the middle leading to the hourglass shape where it derives its name. There are numerous spots to stop and enjoy a swim in the slate-grey water, but more adventurous hikers should journey up the steep shale at the far side to take in the full view of the lake. As a bonus reward for this gruelling uphill, you’ll pass by a roaring waterfall and eventually reach Upper Hourglass Lake at the top, offering a more secluded spot for a lake swim in an equally spectacular mountain setting. 

How to get here 
From Cranbrook head north on 95A towards Kimberley. After going through the town of Marysville, turn left onto St Mary’s Lake Road. You will continue on this road for a while before turning left onto St Mary River FSR that crosses a bridge over St Mary River (if you reach the lake you’ve gone too far). Take your second right onto Hellroaring Creek Road, this is a sharp hairpin turn. Take your first right onto Meachen Creek Road and continue for 29kms, parking is on the right hand side at the trailhead. 



Silver Springs - half to full-day hike 

Likely the most popular series of lakes on this list, a jaunt up to Silver Springs is a fantastic place to hang out on a hot summers day. It starts with a fairly steep section but you will soon arrive at the base of the first of three remarkable lakes. The first lake is the busiest and provides a number of spots for swimming and cliff jumping into the waters below. For those seeking a quieter option, continue along the trail to encounter two more lakes, each lake a different colour than the last with plenty of options to find a more secluded spot to spend the day. Exploration of these three gorgeous lakes will satisfy hikers, swimmers, and adventure seekers alike. 
 

How to get here 

From Cranbrook head north on highway 3 & 95 towards Fernie. Continue on highway 3 for about 45minutes, turning right on Bate Ave in Elko. Take the second right onto Main Street and follow the curve left onto Alexander Ave/Cascade Street. Take a sharp left onto River Forest Service road, crossing the Elk river, and continue for 3km before parking on the right at the trailhead. 

Silver Springs Hike



Bear Lake - half to full-day hike 

Getting to this lake requires a longer drive in a 4WD high clearance vehicle. Not to worry, you will immediately have the opportunity to stretch your legs up as the trail begins with a steep climb lasting 2.1kms, after which you can enjoy a refreshing swim in Bear Lake. Your adventure could stop here, but those in search of additional views can continue another 2kms along the East side of the lake and journey up the steep shale to see Bear Lake from above. Reaching this crest will also provide stunning views of Ruault and Summer lakes on the other side of your climb while you stand among a carpet of beautiful wildflowers.  

How to get here 
From Cranbrook head north on Highway 3 & 95 towards Invermere. Turn right onto Wardner Fort Steele Road then take the first left after the campground onto Wildforse Road (before the bridge). Follow the main road for 20.5kms before turning right onto Bear Creek Road, a steep, uphill side road. Continue for another 5.3kms (of rough road) before parking at the trailhead where the road terminates. 

Bear Lake Hike



White Boar Lake - full-day hike (for those without 4WD vehicle) 

Adventurers with a 4WD high clearance vehicle are able to omit most of this hike, but regardless of if you are able to drive the whole way or take on this 4km hike, White Boar Lake is worth the effort. The views become more impressive as you continue and in the end you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful lake in front of a spectacular mountainscape with views of a small glacier. There are minimal trail options around the lake, but those that bring a canoe, kayak or paddleboard will be able to get up close to the glacier as well as the large chunks of ice that are dropped into the lake all summer. No matter how you choose to enjoy this lake, it is sure to provide amazing views and a great way to cool off in the heat.

How to get here 
From Cranbrook head north on 95A towards Kimberley. After going through the town of Marysville, turn left onto St Mary’s Lake Road. You will continue on this road for a while before turning left onto St Mary River FSR that crosses a bridge over St Mary River (if you reach the lake you’ve gone too far). Take your second right onto Hellroaring Creek Road, this is a sharp hairpin turn. Take your first right onto Meachen Creek Road and continue for 15.8kms until reaching the sign for White Boar Lake. Those with 4WD high clearance can continue down the road and park near the lake, while those without can journey down this rough road on foot. 

  

White Boar Lake

 

 

 

Yankee, Canuck and Turtle Lake Loop - half-day hike 

Another popular hike, the Yankee Canuck and Turkle Lake Loop is a great option while visiting Premier Lake Provincial Park but is also worth the drive in for this hike alone. Starting in the campground, this hike begins with a short uphill section before turning right at the fork at the beginning of the loop and meandering through open forests. This 6.8km loop will take you along three beautiful lakes with different shades of blue and green, nestled among views of the Rocky Mountains. Quiet and observant hikers may stumble upon turtles basking in the sun, a sight commonly seen along the trail particularly at the final lake, aptly named Turtle Lake. 

How to get here 
From Cranbrook head north on Highway 3 & 95 towards Invermere. Turn right onto Sheep Creek Road and continue following signs to Premier Lake Provincial Park. Parking is available at the day-use site campground which contains signs marking the trailhead. 

Yankee Canuck 


Lake Trail (Island Lake Lodge) - half-day hike 

From the lodge head directly down through the forest to be greeted by beautiful waters and gorgeous views of the Three Bears Peaks as you come across the main beach. Continue around the lake loop to traverse through marshes with tall grasses and thick forests lush with an abundance of plants and wildflowers. It is a gentle trail suitable for hikers of any level with several stopping points along the way to find your own piece of paradise. There are also an abundance of additional trails venturing off from this loop, so if you are up for further exploration check out the trail map prior to starting to plan a full day of adventure. 

How to get here 
From Cranbrook, head north on highway 3 & 95 towards Fernie turning left onto Mount Fernie Park Road (signs for Mount Fernie Provincial Park). Continue straight through the park onto the dirt road following signs for Island Lake Lodge. Park in the lodge parking lot. 


Island Lake Lodge

 

Mause Creek Tarns to Tanglefoot Lake - full day hike 

To enjoy a swim in Tanglefoot Lake, be sure to allot a full day for this ~9.5km return adventure. You’ll endure elevation gains and losses throughout this hike, but to say the views are worth the effort would only be an understatement. This hike will take you through open forests, carpets of wildflowers, shallow tarns, old mines, and talus slopes all before arriving at a beautiful subalpine lake. Many hikers opt to spend the night at Tanglefoot lake to soak up as much time in this mountain scenery, while others continue for more views by heading up to Windy Pass. No matter how you plan this day, it is sure to be a favourite. 

How to get here 
From Cranbrook head north on Highway 3 & 95 towards Invermere. Turn right onto Wardner Fort Steele Road then travel 2.2km before turning left onto Mause Creek Road. Stay on Mause Creek Road for ~11kms before parking at the end of the road at the trailhead. 

 Tanglefoot