Alice Lake Provincial Park
Squamish is be best known for the Stawamus Chief,but Alice Lake Provincial Park is arguably the most popular summer getaway. Every year people flock to the shores of Alice Lake and the three other lakes that fill this 411-hectare park.
With such abundant life and vibrancy, Alice Lake Provincial Park is a local gem. This is partly because it offers so such a wide variety of attractions and activities. Locals or passing tourists can easily come for a day stroll, to picnic, kayak, or swim in the lake. There’s truly something for everyone. Numerous hiking trails wind their way through the vast terrain. Covered by the typical high red cedars and Douglas fir trees, these trails expose spectacular views of the lakes and rivers. It also gives hikers views of snow-capped peaks of the Tantalus Mountain Range as well as Mount Garibaldi.
Mountain biking is another popular activity at Alice Lake Provincial Park on the designated trails. Others are drawn to water sports, especially fishing. If you have a license, spend a relaxing day on the calm waters of Alice Lake. You might even catch a rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and the occasional cutthroat. The park even has a special program for children to teach them the basics of fishing each summer.
Not only is the park family-friendly, pets are welcome as well. Dogs and other pets can walk around on a leash in the camping area and hiking trails (with the exception of Alice Lake Trail). Pets aren’t allowed on the beach or picnic areas. With so much to do and see, the best way to experience Alice Lake Provincial Park is by camping there.
Alice Lake Provincial Park Camping
Even though Alice Lake has 96 vehicle accessible campsites and 12 more walk-in sites, the popularity of the park means spots fill up quickly throughout the season. Although you can drive by to try to find an open site, most people stay for several days. When camping is full, driving in to take a look may even be restricted. Luckily, you can see what’s available or book in advance through Discover Camping from March 24th until October 30th. Make sure to book early! It fills up fast in summer.
Camping during winter is also possible, but trail access and services are limited. Since Squamish has a damp climate most of the year, the campsites are set away from the lake. Campsites are covered by forest to protect them. It’s a good idea to bring tarps to protect campers from humidity.
Camping Facilities and Services
The Alice Lake campground is well equipped. Electric hookups are available at 55 sites for an extra charge ($8/night), and every campsite comes with a campfire ring. You can bring your own firewood or buy it at the park, but collecting wood from the park is strictly prohibited and can be ticketed.
Although some campsites are connected to make it easier to camp in groups, there are also two group camping areas for up to 40 people each.
Flush toilets and water fountains are available near the campground and picnic areas, and pit toilets are available throughout the park while showers are also available for registered campers.
There’s also a day-use area near the parking lot and beach, where visitors will find a grassy field for games, a playground, and a separate, uncovered picnic area. Nearby is a changing room so you can swap into your swimsuit in summer or water gear and head out to the lake. Normally, the picnic area closes at 11:00pm.
Most importantly, Alice Lake provides a sanitation station for dumping garbage for a $5 fee. Whether or not you choose to use the service, it’s very important you properly store all of your garbage and food while you’re at the park. Loose food and garbage attract bears and other wildlife, creating an unnecessary danger for them and campers. Anyone who doesn’t follow park policies by packing up all of their food and garbage securely can be evicted and fined.
Keep in mind that there is no running water in the off season and sanitation services do not operate at that time, either.
- Vehicle campsites: $35.00/night
- Walk-in camping: $23.00/night
- Electrical hookups: $8.00/night
- Sanitation services: $5.00
- Group camping: $120.00/night and $5 for every adult, $1/child
Weather in Alice Lake Provincial Park
For daily updates see the latest Squamish weather forecast.
- Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the day-use area, picnic, and kayak, canoe, fish, or paddle board on the lake. Before you head out to the trails, check their condition. Melting snow and spring showers may make some of the trails inaccessible.
- Summer is predictably the most popular season. Sunny weather in the 20s and warm lake water is perfect for swimming and relaxing on the beach. Mountain biking and hiking is ideal during summer when the trails are clear and dry, but make sure to come early to beat the crowds and book well in advance if you want to camp.
- Fall might be the ideal time to enjoy the park with fewer crowds. Cool weather just around 8 or 10 degrees during the day is also perfect for hiking. Check the weather before you go, since late fall brings heavy rains.
- Winter is chilly – 5 degrees or lower is typical and snow or rain is possible. Feel free to visit the park but keep in mind most facilities aren’t operating at this time and many of the trails are closed.
Hiking at Alice Lake Provincial Park
There are 10 hiking trails of varying length at Alice Lake Provincial Park.
Four Lakes Trail is the main trail at the park. This trail forms a relatively easy 6-kilometre loop around the park and is easy to access from the parking lot. As you might expect, the trail passes by all four of the park’s lakes. About five other trails (Decker’s Hill, Jack’s Trail, Mike’s Loop, Tracks from Hell, and Bob Macintosh Memorial Trail) branch off from the Four Lakes Trail, which you can explore a bit as you walk. However, many of the trails that branch off actually leave the park to connect with other paths. If you’re interested in these separate trails, ask for a map and plan in advance.
Decker’s Hill is a very steep, though short trail – it’s only 3 kilometres round trip. Although you’ll be sure to work up a sweat, the view from the top is well worth the nearly 300 meter gain.
Swamp Lantern Nature Trail is shorter, easy trail also close to the parking lot. It’s great for families with small children who might not want to hike very far. This trail is full of signs that explain about the plants and wetlands in the park.
Drive north of Squamish about 15 minutes on the Sea to Sky Highway. There are four parking areas within the park. Two are right by Alice Lake near picnic areas, and two more near the campgrounds.
Whether it is just for a day trip or a weekend away, this park is stunning. If you’re in Squamish, especially during the summer months, Alice Lake Provincial Park is a must-visit.