NTS Map: 92G7. The first 5km of the trail are, literally, a walk in the park. The old logging road is slowly being reclaimed by the forest, but rarely does the greenery get close enough to brush your shoulders. In late May (2004) the berries were already out along the trail - a nice distraction. Many people don't like the logging road experience, but you would never know this was a road - and I much prefer its openness to the dark, cloistered, meandering paths of the local rainforests.
There is an optional aside to a waterfall 40 minutes from the camp, take the fork right for this option, stay left to continue on. Even if you stay left, there is an impressive cascade another 20mins along the road, and an even nicer one at the 5km mark. For many, this second waterfall will be plenty - especially as a day trip for those who need to get back across Pitt Lake same day. For the more intense, the trail here begins to get narrower and steeper, and you must pay close attention to the flags in many places.
The rest of the way to the lake is sheer uphill. It probably isn't a big deal with a day bag, but with an overnight pack the climb seemed eternal. It is also very difficult to move quickly with a large pack, as the trail is 90% root grabbing and boulder-scrambling (very Chief-esque). There were many, many 'are we there yet?' moments. You aren't there until you see the lake. The trail pops you out about 50m above the shore, which makes for a lovely view. There are several camping spots along the shore, and you are guaranteed no crowds (I met two people coming down, but none at the lake).
I recommend an overnight trip, even with the hassle of hauling a bag, b/c it is a challenging grind to do in a day.
Follow directions to Pitt Lake (Widgeon Creek hike directions) and take canoe to the Widgeon Slough and the group campsite therein. Hopefully you have your own boat, or an overnight trip b/c unreasonably expensive. It is about an hour's paddle from the parking lot - a lovely one at that, amongst quiet waterways with creeklets and countless birds (the area is a wildlife sanctuary). From the campsite, the trail is very obvious, leading north, and speckled with signs for the waterfall. At the first real fork, stay left. The 92 G/7 topo map makes it seem as though the main road continues north indefinitely, and a spur runs NNE at approx 4km from camp. The road has long since disappeared, and instead of a spur, there is just a sharp bend in the trail.
I lost the trail on the way home, immediately after crossing a creek beyond the waterfall (with the hand-hewn bridge). Several creeklets and clearings can distract you from the overgrown trail in this area - pay close attention on your way up. I followed the main creek downhill for a short while, and luckily came across a more obvious portion of the main trail.
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Posted By: venuko
- Tue Sep 06 11:15:12 UTC 2016
CommentThis Labour Day long weekend, the two of us have carried our inflatable stand up paddleboards up Widgeon Lake to spend a couple of nights at far beach at the west side of the lake. A lot of people were interested with the whole idea and our gear set up, asking tons of questions. We posted a trip report on our Facebook group page, feel free to visit, perhaps you'll find the answers there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vansup/
Posted By: Cristinapow
- Mon Jul 25 17:44:11 UTC 2016
UpsideIf you are lucky to get a sunny day you will be in paradise. The lake is stunning and the hike is very interesting for those who enjoy something more challenging. It's a tough hike with a pack but it's totally doable and not dangerous in any way. Totally worth it! We heard there is an old plane wreckage at the other end of the lake and some bring inflatable rafts to go across the lake and spend the night. DownsideThe pitch before you get to the lake has many boulders and some have ropes which helps a lot. There are several campsites at the lake but you have to look around for them...it's not obvious! CommentMake sure you get to the Pitt Lake early, specially on weekends. We arrived at 8:00 am and the parking lot was almost full but there is parking on the road just outside the parking lot. If you are parking overnight you will have to pay $5 for parking (CASH ONLY). There is not kayak rental only canoe ($85 for overnight ($50 for the day...I believe - CASH ONLY). If you are camping on the beach in order to hike to Widgeon Falls, arrive early...there are many people coming over with the same idea...it's crowded and fairly busy!
Posted By: hobie001
- Fri Jul 11 20:15:13 UTC 2014
UpsideBeautiful Waterfalls and Lake. Very little traffic. Lake is amazingly clear and serene. DownsideThink 3km of the Grouse Grind after and hour canoe / kayak and 6km km of the Coquitlam Crunch. CommentI have done this trail twice in the past 2 years.The last 3 km are straight up the mountain. Scrambling etc. but it isn't impossible. Last August (2013) I went up with some friends for an overnight. 3 of the kids were 11 and under. They carried their own gear all the way up. They were spent but happy that they made it. Their favorite part was the scramble. BRING LOTS OF WATER - You'll need it.
Posted By: kneemytoad
- Fri Jun 20 10:27:03 UTC 2014
UpsideBeautiful lake is a great reward after a strenuous final couple kilometers
Nice mix of paddling, easy-moderate and difficult hiking.
DownsideCanoe rentals are a bit expensive at eighty five bucks. CommentReally cool overnight hike. It's very nice to switch gears and modes of transportation through the process and the hardest part of the hike leads right into the best part of the hike when a seemingly-endless slippery uphill scramble suddenly opens up to reveal an idyllic lake.
Will certainly do this one again.
Posted By: seekerofsolace
- Tue Mar 11 22:40:31 UTC 2014
CommentHave yet to try this but this review has certainly sparked my "lets get out there" fire. Much appreciated!
Posted By: hobie001
- Tue Sep 13 12:31:20 UTC 2011
UpsideCompletely underestimated this trail. When I had been hiking/ crawling up seriously strenuous trail for 3 hours I thought it must end soon. Another 1/2 hour later the work paid off with spectacular views of the mountains and lake. Trail up was steep but well marked. CommentThis is a great weekend trip. Start early Saturday, take your time climbing up and overnight, head back mid afternoon Sunday. I went up and back in one day but it is a Mega hike for one day.
Posted By: MaelBZH
- Fri Aug 05 06:23:21 UTC 2011
I'm reading the comments and it looks like we have to paddle to an hour to reach the lake. Is there anyway to hike all the way without paddling? I don't really want to carry my canoe all the way (I guess there is a spot to put it somewhere...?)
Thanks for your answer! ;)ANSWERS are in this forum: Paddling?
Posted By: vancouverrainforest
- Tue Jul 26 06:16:24 UTC 2011
Upsidebeautiful, uncrowded lake with good fishing Downsidesome dead-falls on the trail to workaround but worth it Commentwe hiked in on 22 July 2011 and camped for 2 nights.
several people have already commented on the state of the trail so I won't repeat it here.
Widgeon lake is very beautiful and well worth the last couple of hours of dead-falls for an overnight trip especially now when the higher lakes are still snowed in. we hiked up on Friday in a light cloud rain / mist. it cleared in the evening and Saturday and Sunday were perfect sun days. there is no hiking from the lake due to heavy brush but it is teeming with rainbow trout. They were very picky eaters but we got a few on chironomids , brown/black WB's and dry fly stimulators. kept one trout for breakfast: delicious.
there are a few lingering patches of snow but the campsite are clear.
we saw no other hikers all weekend until we got down near the canoe parking spot.
The black-flies were only pesky for an hour or 2 in the evening and most were not biting; just annoying. deet or a bug suit would be a good idea.
Someone has put a lot of effort into building shelves, slinging a hammock and making a bench, etc and I'd like to find out if those folks come back from time to time because there is also some broken stuff that likely needs to be packed out. we packed down some obvious junk and will take more next time we are up but the 2 kiddie float rafts may be salvageable if someone took a repair kit and they do have paddles, can we remove the abandoned tent, is the pile of stuff near the discarded food cans all garbage or not?
We were intrigued by some of the stuff discarded on the trail like a (now rotted) sleeping bag and some fine rope. Is there a story here?
Posted By: vdiniz
- Sat Jul 16 02:24:52 UTC 2011
UpsideSense of accomplishment and the workout. Well marked trail. Privacy (we were the only ones at the lake). DownsideLast third of the hike is very strenuous. There was still a lot of snow up there as of July 14, 2011. We did the hike in pouring rain which made the roots and fallen trees soap-slippery throughout the trail. Being at the lake under bad weather also sucked. CommentRecommend adding a day to the trip to spend a day at the falls near (3km) the Widgeon Creek campsite. As far as Widgeon Lake goes I suspect my experience would've been a lot better if the weather had cooperated. We left the lake on July 14, 2011 and there was still a lot of snow up there. Constant rain and clouds (poor visibility). Trail is NOT overgrown (maybe in a handful of spots only) as of that date and the trail is well marked. We did have to cross a couple of creeks at shin-level freezing water (maybe only because of high water flows due to heavy rain?). Lots of blueberry, salmonberry and huckleberry bushes throughout the trail.
Posted By: paddleboy
- Sun Jul 25 16:18:00 UTC 2010
UpsideSpectacularly beautiful and pristine lake, ringed by rocky montains and bluffs; you feel like you're a million miles from civilization. No crowds as the final 1-2 km ascent is quite strenuous. We had the lake all to ourselves o/n on a Friday and saw no one coming up the next day also. Canoeing to the first campsite (1 hour) adds a fun and easy paddling component. DownsideThe final 1-2 km ascent is strenuous, takes about 1-1.5 hrs. After the easy-moderate logging road/trail, the trail changes quite dramatically as you're basically climbing up the side of a mountain. Agree with one poster who said it's very "Chief-esque" - but steeper with a lot more roots and scrambling (we likened it to doing the Chief twice, and with a o/n pack). But the lake and no crowds at the top are all worth it! CommentWe did this trail to Widgeon lake Jul 23-24/10. Interestingly, Ayla Canoe Rentals tried to discourage us, saying that thought no one had been to the lake b/c the trail was overgrown; they even said 2 hikers had turned back (!). Anyways, for the most part, trail is NOT overgrown and quite well marked, even the final ascent (you will ascend from sea level to max. 2650 ft at the bluff overlooking the lake). At the lake, however, the trails to the campsites are pretty overgrown, but still follow-able; once you reach the lake stay left and descend the trail to many perfectly pretty campsites. <BR>From the sign marker to the turnoff to the first falls, it took us about 3.5 hours to reach the lake, so overall, about 4.5 hours from the canoe campsite (not including 1 hour leisurely paddle). The last 1-1.5 hours were the most strenuous. Agree with other posters that this would be a VERY LONG day hike, especially if you wanted to paddle back in the same day to the rental shop (canoes due back 5:30 pm). We stayed o/n at the lake, but wished we had one more night b/c it was so beautiful. We would also definitely bring a small float mattress or dinghy the next time to explore the lake.<BR>A couple notes about the lake: there are LOTS of flies once the sun goes down, so if you're not averse to OFF, this might be helpful (we didn't bring any). The lake probably has one the prettiest outhouse views of any hike (rivals Russet Lake) lol. (the outhouse in incompletely built but appears functional).
Posted By: Mike.82
- Sun Jul 12 17:33:01 UTC 2009
UpsideBeautiful scenary, canoe trip adds extra fun, hardly any people go to the Lake (although the campground and first falls are busy). DownsideA little pressed for time to get back to the canoe rentals in time. They set a 5:30pm return time but they still gave us our deposit back when we made it by 6:15pm. CommentSome work has been put into this trail. It's no longer overgrown like many other trip reports describe. The last little descent to the lake is overgrown with bushes but do not present a problem.
The last ascent to the Lake was fun and not very challenging (moderate).
Posted By: gm0n3y
- Tue May 26 22:59:40 UTC 2009
CommentI did this hike last summer and all I can say is, don't start it at 5pm. We figured that we could get to the lake by 8 or so, but at 8:30, with the sun almost gone, we were looking for a place to put our tents up on the steep rocky hillside. Not the best hiking experience. I will be back early in the morning this summer to finish it though.
Posted By: jd22
- Tue Jul 22 15:33:25 UTC 2008
UpsideAbsolutely spectacular lake. Not very many people, and a great hike. The last 2km or so is a vertical bushwack ascent from hell. It's intense, but the lake is definitely worth it. DownsideVery bushed in many places, and a lot of fallen trees. It may deter some. We got pretty cut up from pushing through the greenery.
When following the dry (it was dry July 22/08, anyway) creekbed/trail towards the bridge, it is easy to miss the bridge, as markers aren't very prevalent/noticeable for downhill traffic. Keep an eye to your right, and check the river occasionally to see if you're at the bridge. CommentIf attempting this hike in a day, with a canoe rented from Ayla Canoes, definitely change the rating to difficult. I went through 5 litres of water (while trying to conserve) and alot of food, hiking to the lake in a day. Even so, we only had half an hour at the lake to enjoy, and we RAN the logging road down to the campsite. Still, we only came back to Ayla Canoes 5 minutes before the canoe was due back. (8:10am- 5:25pm)
As mentioned, doing a day hike with an overnight pack is hellish.
One other thing: the estimated trail times on the signs of this hike are fairly close to correct. If it says 3 hours 10 minutes, it's very likely it will take close to that time. Even with us hauling, it took us 2 hours 40 minutes to complete that section.
Posted By: S2 andrews
- Tue Feb 01 23:46:46 UTC 2005
Upsidegot there without a kayak. Downsidebeing chased by dogs. Commentdid this trail Jan 23 2005 (in the pouring rain) and when I got back to my truck I spoke with a local who told me that usually at this time of year there is 10-12' of snow. there is a video of my hike (maybe) @ creeksidemob.com
Posted By: hawke_gh
- Tue Jun 15 18:22:27 UTC 2004
UpsideThanks for the post! Nice photos of the falls & lake. Although this post refers to the hike, in order to get it done you have to canoe or kayak across the Pitt River & up Widgeon Creek which is an extremely popular outing. CommentNote: there are 2 trail postings under the canoe/kayak section for Widgeon Creek both of which give excellent instructions on how to get to the put in and across the Pitt River at Grant Narrows. Check <a href="http://www.trailpeak.com/index.jsp?cat=river-canoe&con=trail&val=460">"here"</a> and <a href="http://www.trailpeak.com/index.jsp?cat=river-canoe&con=trail&val=451">"here"</a> to get these trail descriptions. <p> Dave Falkins, Canoe Editor