For many in B.C., summer isn’t complete without a hike to a stunning turquoise lake nestled in the mountains.

Here are four deservingly well-loved destinations found in provincial parks near Vancouver. You might recognize them from your Instagram feed. 

Drones are prohibited on these hiking trails. Backcountry camping requires a permit. For the sake of your fellow hikers and wildlife, please leave your portable speakers at home. 

Reminders: Check current conditions (including snow levels and bear closures), take the essentials, leave a trip plan with a responsible person, and make sure to leave no trace.

Lindeman LakePhoto by Stephen Hui

Lindeman Lake

Distance: 3.5 km
Elevation gain: 250 m
Location: S⨱ótsaqel/Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

If you want to pack in a stand-up paddle board, Lindeman Lake is just the ticket. This short and sweet hike draws a crowd on sunny days.

From the trailhead, set off on the gravel road. Following Post Creek upstream, cross a log bridge to the right bank. Steadily gain elevation on the rocky, rooty trail in the shady forest. Go by a massive boulder.

Arrive at the Lindeman Lake campground. Feel free to round the west shore, traversing sun-baked rockslides with pikas and tremendous views. For more ambitious hikers, the trail continues upstream to Greendrop Lake. Dogs must be leashed.

Garibaldi LakePhoto by Stephen Hui

Garibaldi Lake

Distance: 18 km
Elevation gain: 800 m
Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Impounded by a lava dam that will fail at some point in the future, Garibaldi Lake and vicinity are must-see geology.

From the trailhead at Rubble Creek, the path to Garibaldi Lake switchbacks more than twenty times to a major junction. Take the right fork for Garibaldi Lake. Another right brings you to a viewpoint of The Barrier.

Continue on the Garibaldi Lake trail, passing Barrier Lake and Lesser Garibaldi Lake. Arrive at Garibaldi Lake. Go right, cross the outlet, and follow the shore to the campground. Feast your eyes on The Black Tusk, Castle Towers Mountain, The Sphinx and other impressive peaks. Take a chilly dip, if you dare. 

A free day-use pass is required this summer. No dogs allowed.

Wedgemount LakePhoto by Stephen Hui.

Wedgemount Lake

Distance: 12.5 km
Elevation gain: 1,165 m
Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

The most challenging of the hikes on this list leads to one of the most glaring examples of glacial recession in these parts. Nevertheless, the sublime prospect of glacial-floured Wedgemount Lake is a thrilling reward.

From the parking area, relentlessly gain elevation in a regenerating clear-cut, shady forest and subalpine boulder field. Finally, scramble steeply up the final chute to the lip of the cirque. Find an emergency hut, pit toilet, and tent pads by the main viewpoint, a destination that satisfies most hikers.

For a closer look at the receding Wedgemount Glacier, push on to the lakeshore and up the rocks to the snowy upper tarn. Stay well back from and off the glacier and out of the crevasses, and beware of calving ice.

A free day-use pass is required this summer. No dogs allowed. 

Joffre LakesPhoto by Stephen Hui.

Joffre Lakes

Distance: 9.5 km
Elevation gain: 360 m
Location: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

There are two types of Joffre Lakes hikers — those who line up for photos on the famous Insta-log and those who don’t. 

Set off on the trail, quickly passing the lower lake and climbing to the middle lake. (To queue or not to queue, that is the question.) With the all-ages, international crowd and tourist-grade trail — made markedly easier in recent years — Joffre Lakes Provincial Park has the feel of a national park.

The last push is more challenging. A staircase waterfall is an impressive sight. Turn around at the boulder viewpoint or continue on to the campground, which lies below Mount Matier and the Matier Glacier.

A free day-use pass is required this summer. No dogs allowed. 

Stephen Hui is the author of Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, a new guide to 55 hiking trails in B.C. and Washington.

His first two books, 105 Hikes and Destination Hikes, were #1 B.C. bestsellers.

Learn more: 105hikes.com