Echo Falls is a magical place that is accessible only via a trail, but you have to use a boat, canoe or paddle boat to get across the Squamish river to the start of the trailhead. For an additional fun activity that is sure to add to the entire experience, Aerial Kiteboarding recently started to offer kiteboarding and boat rides to the trailhead.
The Echo Falls Trailhead (Also Called the Monmouth Creek Trail)
Once you cross the river and reach the trailhead, you can expect a steep climb for the first part of the hike. The trail runs directly beside the falls, so it is a stunning tour that takes you 950 meters up. You can look down and see a variety of eye-catching rock formations and pools that have formed as a result of the water carving through the stones. The hike isn’t easy. There are times when you might be forced to scramble on all fours. The soil tends to be loose, and rocks often fall. The mature rainforest and old growth that encompasses the area is awe-inspiring.
Eventually, the steep terrain of the path starts to subside and it becomes a more leisurely hike. The trail runs alongside the river where you will have ample views of Howe Sound. Right before you reach Echo Lake, the path takes a steep, upwards climb and you will be afforded views of the whitewater as the trail meets Echo Lake at the top.
Scenic Echo Lake
Echo Lake is a crystal blue masterpiece in the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Undoubtedly, it is a crowning jewel. In the summer months, the lake water warms up enough that you can take a swim in its refreshing depth. After the long hike, a dip usually feels like paradise. The lake is stocked with trout, so if you feel the urge, you can always cast a line and try your luck at fishing. There are numerous campsites around the lake to pitch a tent. The area has ample fresh drinking water. During the summer, it’s a popular site on the weekend for tent campers.
Crossing the Squamish River
To start your adventure to Echo Falls, you will need a kayak, canoe, or boat. The launch point is down a trail off Spit access road. The path is not for the faint of heart. It is tedious and physically challenging. You will require at least three to three and a half hours to reach Echo Lake. Remember, the trail gains 900 meters in only 6 kilometers. Many Squamish locals who are hiking enthusiasts say that it is like hiking the Chief twice. If you have experienced the Chief, then you will understand what you are up against with the Echo Falls trail.
Not the Most Dog-Friendly Trail
Some hikes around Squamish are lovely for canines, but the Echo Falls trail is not the most dog-friendly trail. In many spots, you will have a hard enough time pulling yourself up the path so you won’t want to have to worry about your beloved furry sidekick. Unleashed dogs have slipped over the falls in the past. If you do bring your dog, please keep them on leash for their safety.
Refreshing Pools to Swim
Along the trail, you are going to get hot and tired, but rest assured there are plenty of pools you can jump in to refresh and rejuvenate. There are also numerous access spots to the waterfalls.
Be careful of fast running water and slippery rocks near the waterfall. The seasonal flow of the water changes depending on snowmelt and rainfall, so take caution when near the edge of falls and swimming in pools. v.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
If you aren’t camping at Echo Lake, then give yourself plenty of time to reach the trail’s end so you can turn around and retrace your steps. Unfortunately, the pathway is not a loop so you must come back the same way you went. Remember to pack all of the essentials for the hike such as water, food, bug repellant, sunscreen, and a first aid kit.
Although challenging, Echo Falls is definitely worth the effort. It is picturesque, tranquil, and magical. Don’t forget your camera because you are going to want to get some memorable shots of the falls, lake, and surrounding forest .