Petgill Lake

July 14, 2012

From the parking lot at Murrin Lake Provincial Park, carefully cross the highway making sure you wait until there is ample space between vehicles as cars are traveling 80 km/h through this section. Walk 100 meters along the gravel section of highway to the left, towards Squamish, and look for an old wooden sign at the start of a steep rocky trail. This marks the trailhead to Petgill Lake.


The first section of the trail is a steep scramble as you use your hands to make your way up the side of the mountain next to the highway. The trail enters into the forest and continues to ascend as the sound of traffic becomes fainter. Watch for the orange markers on the trees as the trail dips down into a couple of small ravines, climbs alongside rocky mountain ledges, and passes a couple of viewpoints overlooking Howe Sound below.


After hiking uphill for the first 1.5kms, or 30 - 40 minutes, the trail descends quickly and reaches a wide gravel path which is an old logging road. The next section of the hike follows the old road for quite sometime as it starts out relatively flat but then begins to climb through switchbacks through the forest.

Howe Sound (First Viewpoint)

The trail continues uphill reaching a rocky ridges before dropping down into another ravine and continue uphill once again. For the next 45 minutes the trail goes through another series of ups and downs, including climbing over an open rocky outcrop and descending down a steep narrow trail between huge boulders.


Eventually, the trail begins to level and reaches a junction point. Go left at the junction and a few minutes beyond you are on a rocky ridge above Petgill Lake. You can climb down the rocks or continue along the trail as it descends down near to the lake shore.

Howe Sound and the Tantalus Mountain Range

On a clear day, the more spectacular sight is the viewpoint that is a short 10-minute walk beyond the lake. Continue along the trail as it descends next to the lake to a junction and go left back up a hill towards the viewpoint. The trail curves to the right and an opening in the trees reveals a scenic 180-degree view of Howe Sound, including the Tantalus Mountain Range to the north, Mount Sedgwick directly across, and the area between the viewpoint and the highway south of where you hiked.

Petgill Lake

After finishing your lunch, you can hike back along the trail towards Petgill Lake and go left at the junction and walk around the edge of lake.


Hiking Trip Statistics


Region: Howe Sound
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 5.5 hours
Distance: 11.5 km
Elevation Gain: 650 meters
Hiking Season: Late March - October
Camping: No
Dog Friendly: Yes
Public Transit: No

1. 49.6462751738728-123.203962929547 Elev: 134m Trailhead
2. 49.6473322156817-123.170086294413 Elev: 763m Viewpoint

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How to get there


To reach the parking lot from Vancouver, drive to Highway #1 (the Trans Canada Highway) and follow the highway west bound towards Horseshoe Bay. Watch for signs to Squamish and merge onto the Sea To Sky Highway (Highway #99) and continue driving northbound. Pass through the traffic light in Britannia next to Mine Museum and drive up the steep hill along the highway, watching for signs to Murrin Lake Provincial Park. As the highway rounds the corner, a lake appears on your left with a left turn lane. Slow down and take this turning lane, making a left hand turn across the highway and into the Murrin Provincial Park parking lot.

The trail to Petgill lake begins on the other side of the highway, so parking close to the parking lot entrance is easiest. Be careful when walking across the highway for oncoming traffic.

Driving distance from Vancouver: 59 km (36.66 mi)
Driving time from Vancouver: Approx. 1 hour


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