Wilderness Walks: Snowshoeing to Elfin Shelter

Imagine a place so well-hidden that you need to wear snowshoes and trek 22km (return) through treacherous mountain peaks, heavy snow and potentially erratic weather just to experience it?

It exists. In the middle of the mountains, far from the hustle and bustle and petty worries of the world, sits a solar-powered, propane heated cottage with all the furnishings one could desire after a long day of snowshoeing. A cozy gas log-fire. A Bed. An outhouse. Shoe and clothes drying racks. Gas stove-tops. A seating area with tables and chairs. An outdoor deck and balcony to sit and watch the sunset. Even an abundance of board games to keep you entertained right through the night!

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How Do I Find This Place?

The Elfin Lakes trail leads to Elfin Shelter in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish, British Columbia. It is maintained by Parks Canada in the Elfin Lakes area. For directions on how to get there, click here.

How To Book An Overnight Stay at the Elfin Shelter

The Elfin Shelter sleeps 33. You pay upon arrival at the starting point of the trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park. You will need to complete a form and submit it (with correct money) into the collections box. It costs CA$15 per person for an overnight stay in the hut or CA$10 to use the nearby campsite.

Things to Consider for Winter

  • Dress warm and wear layers.
  • Bring chains. The first 2 km of the walking trail can be driven by car with chains only.
  • Store water in a thermos. This will ensure your drinking water doesn’t freeze.
  • Only carry enough water for the one way trip. Remember, you can melt the snow for drinking water once you arrive at the shelter!
  • As a safety precaution, particularly in the Winter, carry a tent with you. If the lodging books out, or if your group doesn’t make the distance to the shelter by nightfall, you will have an alternative.
  • Leave early. There are no guarantees you’ll get a bed. It is first come, first serve. As a rough idea, our group arrived at the shelter at 4:30pm. There were already 24 beds taken.
  • The Elfin Lakes trail is rated as an intermediate trail, recommended for seasoned hikers. If you’re a beginner, perhaps aim to camp by the shelter at the midway point of the trail instead. The scenery is just as beautiful.

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Have you walked the Elfin Lakes trail? Did you camp? What was your experience of the shelter?

Share your experience in the comments below.

Danielle Steller | DanielleSteller.com
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Danielle Steller | DanielleSteller.com

Singer & Writer at Danielle Steller
Danielle Steller is a Singer & Writer inspired by the bohemian lifestyle, an eclectic collection of jazz, folk & hip hop music and travelling the world.
Danielle Steller | DanielleSteller.com
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  4 comments for “Wilderness Walks: Snowshoeing to Elfin Shelter

  1. hfiona11
    December 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Great post! I love all the beautiful pictures you took! I’m looking to go up there soon and I’ve noticed that the winter route isn’t marked yet (according to the Parks board). Did you have any trouble finding your way to the shelter and if so, any tips? Thanks! 🙂

  2. December 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    hfiona11  Hi 🙂 Thank you!!! We literally went on this walk on 29th/30th November 2014 (weekend before last) and even after snowfall the night before, the trail was quite easy to follow. There are orange markers that guide you along the path, usually you can spot them on tree trunks etc. I was quite surprised that there wasn’t a lot of information on the route in Winter, hence why I blogged about it because it is so beautiful and so worth the hike! The views are incredible. Take sunglasses, the snow is bright! – Dee

  3. RyanSteller
    December 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    It is an absolute stunner. The first section through trees is easy to navigate, and once you pass the first hut and move higher above the tree line, you could see how it might be a bit difficult to navigate if you were caught in a total white-out, but even then there’s a good set of tracks to follow – it would have to be snowing heavily to get lost. A gps with some waypoints in it might be worth having if the forecast isn’t too good, or to retrace back to the half way hut if you had to.

  4. hfiona11
    December 9, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Danielle Ramona Ah, that’s reassuring to hear :). Thanks for the pointers, will remember to bring those sunglasses!

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